The Intelligence Budget, Revisited
Last month, on a conference call with reporters, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair stated that the total budget for U.S. intelligence activities — an unsurprisingly murky total; and until recently a classified one — is $75 billion. As I later clarified, Blair meant the total for both military and non-military intelligence activities — as in the past two years since a congressional change mandating disclosure — only the so-called National Intelligence Program budget has been revealed, a figure that has hovered around $45 billion. And that meant that, per Blair’s disclosure in the conference call, the still-well-hidden (if not actually classified) Military Intelligence Program budget is around $30 billion. But aides to Blair stressed that we wouldn’t know the *real *National Intelligence Program budget until October, when the congressionally mandated unveiling would occur.
Well, today is the day! From Blair’s office:
Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair released today the fiscal year 2009 budget figure for the National Intelligence Program (NIP). The Director disclosed that the aggregate amount appropriated to the NIP for fiscal year 2009 was $49.8 Billion.
OK, then, per Blair’s September disclosure, that means the MIP, last year, totaled $25.2 billion. The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder tweeted that he thinks Blair was “lowballing” and the real intel budget is around $130 when you take into account “