New Documents Leaked By Edward Snowden Detail 'Black Budget'

| by Jonathan Wolfe
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The Washington Post released another round of documents acquired from former NSA intelligence analyst Edward Snowden today.

Snowden is currently in Russia on a one year asylum term. He is forbidden from leaking any new documents during his asylum term, so the Post must have acquired the documents before his stay in Russia began.

The documents include a full breakdown of what is referred to as the “Black Budget” of the United States intelligence program.

The Post published 43 pages of intelligence budget documents, including a five page summary from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. In a move that is likely to upset many, the Post withheld additional documents after consulting with the Obama administration in an effort to protect U.S. intelligence sources and methods.

An interesting finding from the documents is the budget distribution between various intelligence agencies. Prior to this latest release, many believed the NSA received more funding than any of the other intelligence branches. This is not so. The CIA takes this crown, receiving $14.7 billion annually. The NSA is second, with $10.8 billion in yearly funding. The National Reconnaissance Office, the National Geospatial Intelligence Program, and the General Defense Intelligence Program are the next on the list of most-funded agencies, respectively.

Terrorism remains the main concern of the U.S. intelligence community, often referred to in the documents as the IC. One in four members of the IC is employed in a counterterrorism program. One-third of all intelligence spending goes towards counterterrorism efforts.

The documents also reveal a new program – the Consolidated Cryptologic Program -- designed to crack the code of encrypted traffic on the internet.

In a line marked “Top Secret”, Clapper writes that “…we [the IC] are investing in groundbreaking cryptanalytic capabilities to defeat adversarial cryptography and exploit internet traffic.”

The Consolidated Cryptologic Program will receive $11 billion dollars in funding this year, about 21% of the 2013 intelligence budget.

The report also shows which countries safeguard the most information from the IC community. While China, Iran, and Russia do a good job of concealing information from outside intelligence forces, no country does this better than North Korea. The report lists five “critical” gaps in U.S. intelligence regarding North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

You can see the Post’s visual breakdown of the new documents here

Sources: Washington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair