The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) budget has increased a whopping 56% over the past decade, according to the "Black Budget." The Washington Post received a copy of the top secret document from the former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. Snowden, who turned a whistleblower, currently stays in Russia.
The $52.6 billion "Black Budget" for the current year reveals that the CIA has become an intelligence agency with the largest budget. That is particularly surprising given the agency lost considerable prestige and power after intelligence failures causing the 2001 attacks. Though the U.S. government started disclosing its intelligence budget in 2007, it never revealed funds allocated to individual agencies.
CIA transforming into a paramilitary force
The 178-page secret document reveals that the CIA has transformed itself from a spy agency into a paramilitary force. A large part of the agency's funds have been allocated to the expansion of its counter-terrorism center, deployment of drones, interrogation programs and secret prisons. The Central Intelligence Agency has spent billions of dollars to hire and train new officers. The CIA now has 21,575 employees compared to less than 17,000 in 2004.
For 2013, the CIA has allocated $2.5 billion to support the logistics, security and other expenses of intelligence officers on missions across the globe. Another $2.3 billion has been allocated to human intelligence operations. The CIA will also be spending $68.6 million to create and maintain false identities for intelligence officers abroad. It will further spend $2.6 billion on "covert action programs." That includes attempts to disrupt Iran's nuclear program, drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen, and funding militias in Africa and Afghanistan, according to the newspaper.
CIA's budget for this year: $14.7 billion
The top three agencies based on federal funding are the CIA with a budget of $14.7 billion, followed by the National Security Agency that received $10.8 billion this year, and finally the National Reconnaissance Office with a budget of $10.3 billion. The CIA's budget has soared 56% over the past decade, compared to 53% for the NSA and 12% for the NRO.
The document also provides details of the objectives, successes and failures of each of the 16 U.S. spy agencies. Not only the NSA, but the CIA has also started hacking into international computer networks to destroy enemy systems or steal information. The "Black Budget" lists Pakistan as an "intractable target." The top five counter-intelligence targets for the United States are: Russia, China, Iran, Israel and Cuba. North Korea has been named the most difficult target because the U.S. intelligence agencies have absolutely no knowledge about the country's top leaders.