WaPo put together this fantastic infographic several months ago on the national intelligence budget, highlighting the overall split among agencies, missions, and individual expenses of each of those agencies. Really fascinating to be able to break down the spend and learn a little about how we prioritize and how we gather the majority of our intelligence.
Much has been said recently about the intelligence community, but little attention has been paid to the spending that underlies it. This is obviously critical spending and also requires a lot of secrecy, but without transparency we also lack the ability to provide much public oversight of its activities. Most members of Congress are also unaware, and if they are aware cannot share what they have learned (e.g. Ron Wyden). It’s a balancing act, but it illustrates the difficulty that we face in controlling what our government does. Important to learn more about it either way – I think I need to read more about the history of the intelligence apparatus, the Church Committee, etc.
Interesting to note we spend about 3 times as much on our intelligence programs as we do on NASA, although that’s always my selfish benchmark.