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USG Black Budget Revealed.
August 29, 2013 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Using documents obtained from whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Washington Post reports on the United States' $52.6 billion "black budget" for 2013.
posted by anemone of the state (77 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Department of Homeland Security are getting the shaft there.
posted by biffa at 11:24 AM on August 29, 2013


No one likes those folks, anyway. They're just a kludgey addition to an existing system that included many similar features, in an attempt to make the public feel warm and fuzzy.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:25 AM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]




There is zero reason for the budget to not be transparent. Either we as a people are in favor of an annual $2.5bil expense for "Human Intelligence Enabling" aka bribes or we are not.
posted by H. Roark at 11:28 AM on August 29, 2013 [16 favorites]


If you're like me and want to skip to the technical details, you can browse for the paragraphs labeled (S//TK//NF) and you'll find two interesting tidbits: one is a satellite called TOPAZ that I don't think has been mentioned publicly before, and the other is an acknowledgement of NRO's usage of NASA's TDRSS.
posted by kiltedtaco at 11:34 AM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think Snowden was just improving on goals already set in the linked document:
Promoting Information Sharing
(U) Information sharing also is a critical enabler of integration across the Community. This budget begins to implement a restructuring of the IC information technology (IT) architecture that will provide a strong backbone enabling greater IC integration, information sharing, and improved safeguarding of networks. The need for the IC to contribute to deficit reduction was the catalyst for achieving greater efficiencies in information technology. The IC IT Enterprise will transform from agency-centric IT programs which are often duplicative and costly, to
greater centralization of common services for IC-wide use.
What's better at information sharing than a well-read news source posting material onto the World Wide Web? Duplication of efforts? Gone! Need for costly IT? Outsourced! Success in this goal? COMPLETE!
posted by filthy light thief at 11:34 AM on August 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


If we paid them a mere $52.6k, this amount of money would hire 100k teachers. Are we getting 100k teachers-careers good out of killing people without due process and violating their rights?
posted by DU at 11:42 AM on August 29, 2013 [30 favorites]


Do you people even realize how much it costs to bribe the aliens in Area 51 to prevent them from using their mind erasure powers thereby contr
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:42 AM on August 29, 2013 [21 favorites]




Edward Snowden: The gift that just keeps giving.
posted by leftcoastbob at 11:48 AM on August 29, 2013 [14 favorites]


oh no
posted by Lizard People at 11:50 AM on August 29, 2013 [25 favorites]




Either we as a people are in favor of an annual $2.5bil expense for "Human Intelligence Enabling" aka bribes or we are not.

Isn't the obvious answer "we are not"? That's why it is hidden in an opaque spending bill and never put up as a single line item to a vote. It would be voted down. But a little thing like democracy shouldn't stop the Government of the People from doing what it needs to do.

Are we getting 100k teachers-careers good out of killing people without due process and violating their rights?

Your math doesn't add up DU. THIS IS FOR NATIONAL SECURITY.
posted by three blind mice at 12:02 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


DU, I think you dropped a digit by mistake. It's not 100K teachers, it's a solid 1M.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:05 PM on August 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


Isn't the obvious answer "we are not"? That's why it is hidden in an opaque spending bill and never put up as a single line item to a vote. It would be voted down. But a little thing like democracy shouldn't stop the Government of the People from doing what it needs to do.

The total intelligence budget has been declassified since 2007. If that didn't lead to dramatic public pressure to reduce it*, why are you certain this specific component would fail a vote?

* Yes it has declined over the past two years, but my sense is that more general budget concerns and the drawdown of wars have had more to do with it.
posted by dsfan at 12:07 PM on August 29, 2013


This leak is hugely significant, probably the biggest from Snowden yet. As the article says until 2007 we weren't allowed to even know the total. Having the breakdown in detail will enable a significant public understanding of what it is we're paying for. Also like most of the Snowden leaks it's safe to assume The Enemy already has this information, so it's hard to argue he's harmed national security. Now American citizens are allowed to know a little of what the Chinese spymasters already know.

I sure wish the article had more detail on our new "offensive cyber operations".
posted by Nelson at 12:08 PM on August 29, 2013


It's a shame we're spending twice as much on a mostly impotent and intrusive security apparatus as on public health research that is both actually saving lives and developing the kind of workforce that the US needs to compete globally. Gotta feed the Google and Microsoft contractor machine, I guess.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:13 PM on August 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


Good point there... that's $5000 per household that could go towards a useful level of quality health care for all Americans. It's amazing to see budgets like this when thousands of Americans are going bankrupt over medical debt.
posted by crapmatic at 12:22 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Interesting that the black budget is less than the SNAP budget. I would not have guessed that.
posted by quillbreaker at 12:23 PM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Good point there... that's $5000 per household that could go towards health care. Pharmaceutical giants, why don't you go for a piece of this pie before we're all unable to buy your pills?

Not that I don't think the intelligence budget is too high, but I think you're off by an order of magnitude--$53 billion divided by ~115 million households = ~$450 per household.
posted by dsfan at 12:26 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


For those who have already read it - does the article summarize or give the whole thing? Sometimes current or former employees are prohibited from reading classified material even if they found it randomly on the internet. (See; Wikileaks)
posted by corb at 12:29 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


~$450 per household

on average, most will pay even less.
posted by stbalbach at 12:37 PM on August 29, 2013


But, but, food stamps are where we're really getting chiseled.

Honestly, it just gets more depressing every day. The righteous right keeps pleading national insolvency and destitution while absolute fucktons of money get thrown down their pet ratholes. C'est la guerre, I guess.

This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:40 PM on August 29, 2013 [15 favorites]


That Snowden also had access to this document tells me that compartmentilization is not so good over there.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:41 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


For those who have already read it - does the article summarize or give the whole thing?

The last link
is summaries and graphs.
posted by dubold at 12:42 PM on August 29, 2013


This is why we can't have nice things

$50B out of $3.5T? It's an accounting blip.

Oh it's a travesty of civil liberties too, but it's not much money.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 12:45 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


While there's lots of general information in this budget (and given that we can't "drill down" very far into the data, it's tough to say what's most troubling, but to me, the fact that the NSA is spending $1 billion on "cryptanalysis and exploitation services" means that even though the common mantra among tech-savvy folks like myself is "use encryption," that's probably not good enough. They're trying very hard to break this stuff, if they haven't already.
posted by antonymous at 12:47 PM on August 29, 2013


$50B out of $3.5T? It's an accounting blip.

Oh it's a travesty of civil liberties too, but it's not much money.


It's not just this; this is just another cherry on top. The peoples' priorities don't count for shit.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:49 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Gotta feed the Google and Microsoft contractor machine, I guess.

Booz Allen, LockMar, SAIC, and Northrop Grumman more like.

posted by j_curiouser at 1:07 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is a "notable revelation" according to WaPo:
"•U.S. intelligence officials take an active interest in foes as well as friends. Pakistan is described in detail as an “intractable target,” and counterintelligence operations “are strategically focused against [the] priority targets of China, Russia, Iran, Cuba and Israel.”"

Israel is the buried lede there
posted by Bwithh at 1:13 PM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Since many social programs are a shared responsibility of state and fed, while military/intelligence spending is all on the Fed's dime, it's a little hard to really get a sense for the proportions.

According to this (which seems well sourced, though I can't vouch for the quality of the sources offhand), state and local governments will spend nearly as much as the Federal government in 2013 ($3.2 trillion total at the state/local level; $3.7 trillion at the Federal level).

So if we total up all Federal and State/Local spending, total government spending in 2013 will be around $6.9 trillion. Assuming there were 115,000,000 Americans, we could divvy up the total amount of money spent at all levels of government and get about $33,913.04 per person, per year. Or we could afford to employ half the population in jobs making twice that much ($67,826.08) annually. Or we could employ the lowest fourth of the population at 4 times as much at $135,652.17.

It's not really that simple of course, but to put the total amount of money available to be spent into perspective. A lot of that spending, of course, already is paying for jobs.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:21 PM on August 29, 2013


Israel is the buried lede there

And Israel isn't discussed in the rest of the article, beyond a mention of Hezbollah on page 4:
In 2011, the budget assessment says intelligence agencies made at least “moderate progress” on 38 of their 50 top counterterrorism gaps, the term used to describe blind spots. Several concern Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, an enemy of Israel that has not attacked U.S. interests directly since the 1990s.
I'm guessing that US is keeping tabs on Israel in the category of "friends," under the heading of "targets of active interest."
posted by filthy light thief at 1:23 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that Israel revelation will lead to at least some IC budget cuts, for sure. A 20% cut out of the priority counterintelligence budget, probably.

Cuba? Weird.

On preview: 115M American households, saulgoodman?
posted by notyou at 1:24 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are we getting 100k teachers-careers good out of killing people without due process and violating their rights?

If you can figure out a way to weaponize teachers, I'm sure this problem can be solved.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:25 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Indoctrination is a kind of weapon.
posted by notyou at 1:28 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]




II5 million Yanks? I think not. From an earlier post that 115 was attached to 'households'.

Official US PopClock
posted by Mister Bijou at 1:29 PM on August 29, 2013


FIFTY-TWO BILLION DOLLARS?!
posted by JHarris at 1:30 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oops. Thanks for the correction. Those numbers would be to households, not to individuals...
posted by saulgoodman at 1:31 PM on August 29, 2013


$50B out of $3.5T? It's an accounting blip.

Oh, compared to EVERYTHING WE SPEND IN A YEAR?!

No. Even then, it is not.
posted by JHarris at 1:33 PM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
-- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Chance for Peace speech, April 16, 1953
posted by kirkaracha at 1:34 PM on August 29, 2013 [62 favorites]


It is seven percent of our budget. 7%, which you can't read about! It's like 7% of the money you make each year disappears with no explanation, just VANISHES. I am so angry right now, I'm vibrattiinngg...... mmaakkiinngg iitt hhaardd ttoo ttyyppee..
posted by JHarris at 1:36 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


$50B out of $3.5T? It's an accounting blip.

On Wall Street, maybe.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:37 PM on August 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


(Edit -- I put the numbers into Calc wrong. It's 1.4% STILL though, RAARRGH!)
posted by JHarris at 1:37 PM on August 29, 2013


Why are so many people focused on the $52.6 billion figure? The total was unclassified before and isn't news.

To me, the most earth-shattering part of this is that there isn't a lot that's all that noteworthy, which naturally leads to wondering "why the heck is all this classified anyway?" There are parts for which a case for classification can be made, like specific languages, but it's hard to see what harm is going to come from knowing the budgets of various agencies.
posted by dsfan at 1:38 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why are so many people focused on the $52.6 billion figure? The total was unclassified before and isn't news.

NO. It IS news, whether it is classified or not. It just wasn't in the public eye.
posted by JHarris at 1:39 PM on August 29, 2013




NO. It IS news, whether it is classified or not. It just wasn't in the public eye.

I mean, in a sense I hope you're right, because I think a lot of this spending fails pretty much any rational cost-benefit analysis, even apart from the very real civil liberties concerns. I'm somewhat pessimistic though--like I said, the total was unclassified before, so what's the thought process here? Someone is going to say "Well, I knew that the state spent $53 billion on intelligence and didn't care, but now that I know that the NSA's proportion is X and the CIA's is Y, I'm opposed?" Or put differently, has anyone who wasn't already opposed to what goes on in the military-intelligence complex expressed a substantial change of opinion based on these documents?
posted by dsfan at 1:51 PM on August 29, 2013


$50B out of $3.5T? It's an accounting blip.

Of course, when it comes to, say, Head Start funds or funding for health clinics for un- or underinsured people or funding for NASA or or or or

Well, *those* aren't accounting blips: they are the very fulcrum on which our national economy balances, and without cutting those costs we will collapse as a world power!
posted by rtha at 2:04 PM on August 29, 2013 [20 favorites]


If it's unclassified, it's really not "black" now is it? More a grey budget reported by the grey lady?

Is it sad that I saw the number and said "only 56 billion?"
posted by symbioid at 2:07 PM on August 29, 2013


I mean, in a sense I hope you're right,

You hope I'm right? News is anything that people should know that they need to be informed about to make things better, either for themselves or the world. This easily passes that test. The more people who know about this, the more likely they'll make it a voting issue, or something to contact their congressperson about, or something to agitate towards, or something to donate money to fight, or something to get involved with ending in other ways.
posted by JHarris at 2:08 PM on August 29, 2013


But, but, food stamps are where we're really getting chiseled.

For comparison's sake, the food stamp program cost 80 billion in 2012.
posted by yoink at 2:14 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


The more people who know about this, the more likely they'll make it a voting issue, or something to contact their congressperson about, or something to agitate towards, or something to donate money to fight, or something to get involved with ending in other ways.

Again, why do you think anyone who didn't already oppose the high level of intelligence spending--which absolutely anyone with an internet connection who wished to could find out in literally five seconds before this story--will give a damn about what's revealed in this article?

And I think you're kidding yourself if you think the broader public is going to be up in arms about this. The average American's level of understanding of budgetary issues is simply horrendous and that's not likely to change. Frankly, and this is just a guess here, but I bet if you polled a cross-section of Americans and asked what percentage of the budget 1) is and 2) should be spent on the national intelligence program, I bet most of them would answer both questions with a number above the <2% that it's at now.
posted by dsfan at 2:26 PM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]




News is anything that people should know that they need to be informed about to make things better, either for themselves or the world.

Are you from an alternate timeline where Neil Postman became president?
posted by yoHighness at 2:29 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


And I think you're kidding yourself if you think the broader public is going to be up in arms about this.

You just have to spin it right. Tell them "the US spends as much on covert ops as it spends on foreign aid!!!!!" They'll be pretty freaked out then.
posted by yoink at 2:35 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Again, why do you think anyone who didn't already oppose the high level of intelligence spending--which absolutely anyone with an internet connection who wished to could find out in literally five seconds before this story--will give a damn about what's revealed in this article?

Why do you think they won't? People find out about things when they are prompted. This is a prompt.

There's thousands of things you would greatly want to know which you will go your whole life without knowing. We have limited attention, and no universal mechanism for finding things that we don't already know are out there. That's one job of the press -- to inform us about those things, so we can find out more if we need to.

Just because you don't know something doesn't mean you wouldn't like to know it -- but how do you know to look for it, if you don't know it exists?
posted by JHarris at 2:36 PM on August 29, 2013


Comments like "we are investing in groundbreaking cryptanalytic capabilities to defeat adversarial cryptography and exploit internet traffic" are starting to make me nervous. Even if you are willing to put civil liberties and budgetary issues aside (I'm not, but let's for the sake of argument) they hint at the ability to eavesdrop on encrypted internet traffic. If the CIA, etc. can find a way to trivially defeat standard web encryption, it's only a matter of time until someone else figures it out as well, or more likely, simply steals it. Once this tech is in the wild, it will undermine the entire internet economy, because from that point forward, you can't trust any website with your personal information until we come up with and implement a replacement.
posted by feloniousmonk at 2:39 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


GenjiandProust: "Are we getting 100k teachers-careers good out of killing people without due process and violating their rights?

If you can figure out a way to weaponize teachers, I'm sure this problem can be solved.
"

They're the first link in the supply chain for the human resources who develop and produce new weapons. I'm honestly surprised that this angle hasn't been pitched before. Of course, that only accounts for STEM...

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
posted by chaosys at 2:41 PM on August 29, 2013


This is a "notable revelation" according to WaPo:
"•U.S. intelligence officials take an active interest in foes as well as friends. Pakistan is described in detail as an “intractable target,” and counterintelligence operations “are strategically focused against [the] priority targets of China, Russia, Iran, Cuba and Israel.”"

Israel is the buried lede there


Remember, the NSA's dual job is to obtain intelligence for the US government, and also to protect US from other intelligence operations. Both sovereign and private industry. It is easy to view other countries as homogenous, binary blobs: friend of foe, dangerous or not, etc. But more often, business and government can have different motivations and beefs with each other. It makes perfect sense to me that Israel (and plenty of other politically friendly countries) might be counterintelligence vectors, if only because they have lots of industry and business going on.
posted by gjc at 2:41 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Comments like "we are investing in groundbreaking cryptanalytic capabilities to defeat adversarial cryptography and exploit internet traffic" are starting to make me nervous. Even if you are willing to put civil liberties and budgetary issues aside (I'm not, but let's for the sake of argument) they hint at the ability to eavesdrop on encrypted internet traffic. If the CIA, etc. can find a way to trivially defeat standard web encryption, it's only a matter of time until someone else figures it out as well, or more likely, simply steals it. Once this tech is in the wild, it will undermine the entire internet economy, because from that point forward, you can't trust any website with your personal information until we come up with and implement a replacement.

That's why the NSA wants to be the ones who figure things out first. Leverage it for intelligence gathering, while simultaneuosly helping build better systems to protect US interests. This includes governmental secrets, business privacy and individual privacy.
posted by gjc at 2:44 PM on August 29, 2013


I'm not sure there is a good answer if there really is tech out there to decrypt SSL traffic. I don't think it would be possible to roll out a replacement in a non-disruptive way. The only way you'd convince your standard IT skeptic-of-needless-change type to look at alternatives would be to reveal that it's compromised. Once you do that, the bottom probably falls out of the online economy, because who is going to type in a credit card anywhere knowing that it could be intercepted by scary hackers? Would anyone trust assurances that only the "good guys" have this tech? People have stolen plans for stealth airplanes and nuclear weapons. It could easily be the worst thing to ever happen to the global internet economy, because it would impact everything from corporate communications to electronic stock markets to Amazon.com and everything in between while also requiring changes in browsers, web servers, network appliances, and countless other pieces of software and hardware.

I guess I feel a little better that the NSA has figured it out first, if they have, but if they have it, I'm fairly certain that China or Russia could or will have it soon enough as well, which kind of cancels out my good feelings.

I think there is a lot of similarity here to nuclear weapons. We really thought we needed them, and maybe we did, maybe we didn't, and it's likely someone else would've done it if the US hadn't, but now we have them and it doesn't matter, because we're stuck with them, and there really aren't any good options for dealing with them now that we are.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:22 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"We are investing in groundbreaking cryptanalytic capabilities to defeat adversarial cryptography and exploit internet traffic."

I almost don't want to find out what this actually refers to.


The rubber hose budget, most likely.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:23 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The rubber hose budget, most likely.

Yeah, you have to imagine that they are really, really, really good at torture by now. There's also a good chance that it's purely organizational posturing and represents wishful thinking more than reality.

If I was about to invest a couple million into a promising e-commerce company, I wonder what I'd think about all of this uncertainty.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:27 PM on August 29, 2013


I'm not sure there is a good answer if there really is tech out there to decrypt SSL traffic. I don't think it would be possible to roll out a replacement in a non-disruptive way. The only way you'd convince your standard IT skeptic-of-needless-change type to look at alternatives would be to reveal that it's compromised.

In many ways, I'd argue that it is already compromised, though I agree that decrypting SSL traffic would be a panic-level event if revealed. But look at the sheer volume of shady CAs whose certificates you blindly accept when you install a modern browser. I have little doubt many of these have already been compromised (high-profile examples include Comodo and I believe StartCom), and even those companies remain "trusted" in browsers.

Wonderful projects like the SSL Observatory and the Perspectives browser plugin are meaningless if the certificates they track are from compromised CAs. If some hacker can get certs from Comodo, I think the NSA is capable of breaking into some of the rinky-dink CAs and issuing certs for those.

And if you want to take it a step further, do you trust the companies that are in charge of running the TLDs that we take for granted? The most popular are run by VeriSign (a spinoff of RSA), which has been doing lawful intercept for years. And the Public Interest Registry (a Reston, VA based non-profit) runs the .org and .ngo TLDs, and here's what Paul Diaz, Director of Policy, has to say about working with law enforcement. (the money quote is right away, "The concept of cooperation is very very important, in particular with law enforcement")
posted by antonymous at 4:23 PM on August 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


"We are investing in groundbreaking cryptanalytic capabilities to defeat adversarial cryptography and exploit internet traffic."

I suspect it means they are looking really, really hard into how to factor numbers better, which would completely break RSA.

I also suspect that they haven't already broken RSA, because the NSA is still going around begging companies to hand over their private keys, and if they had such a capability, it would probably be one of the major headlines of the Snowden leak.
posted by ymgve at 5:40 PM on August 29, 2013


ymgve, even if they've found a weakness, it likely would still require great computational power. Strong-arming companies to fork over the goods would still be cost-effective.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:55 PM on August 29, 2013


I'm somewhat surprised by how low the number of employees is. Aren't there supposed to be 900k+ people with secret clearance? What are all those guys doing?
posted by ~ at 5:57 PM on August 29, 2013


My mistake: "As many as 4 million people hold 'top secret' security clearance". (The gist of the linked article is that many of those people are doing pretty non-sensitive things – still I find the 100k noted in this article surprisingly small in contrast.)

It is intensely sad that one of the first thoughts to cross my mind reading this is: Is this damage control? Is the truth much worse? I truly miss approximately trusting the NYT and WP.
posted by ~ at 6:08 PM on August 29, 2013


Israel is the buried lede there

Hardly, Google Jonathan Pollard.
posted by Jahaza at 6:13 PM on August 29, 2013


(The gist of the linked article is that many of those people are doing pretty non-sensitive things – still I find the 100k noted in this article surprisingly small in contrast.)

The NSA really just does signals intelligence. They don't do wet work.
posted by gjc at 7:05 PM on August 29, 2013


I sure wish the article had more detail on our new "offensive cyber operations".

Wiki link.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:42 PM on August 29, 2013


I'm somewhat surprised by how low the number of employees is. Aren't there supposed to be 900k+ people with secret clearance? What are all those guys doing?

you'd be surprised what you need Top Secret clearance for. It seems like half the people in DC have it.
posted by empath at 10:32 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh gee, I'm fucking surprised
Like a kid in a Bill Cosby commercial. With the puddin
posted by disclaimer at 1:12 AM on August 30, 2013


I know I am going to be in the minority here, but I am pleasantly surprised at what we are getting for 52.6 billion dollars; I thought we were squandering trillions on these mostly fruitless, opaque, black-bag shenanigans.
posted by Renoroc at 5:23 AM on August 30, 2013


Overall these programs are fabulously expensive though :   Nate Silver estimated that protection and law enforcement contributed 1.1% out of 9% to total federal budget growth as a share of GDP since 1972, meaning protection and law enforcement has caused roughly 12% of the total growth of the federal budget since 1972. Now the NSA doesn't even necessarily fall into that category, but the war of drugs does. Individual agencies like the DEA might not spend so much compared with non-discretionary programs like say Medicaid, but together they're costing us staggering sums.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:19 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


NSA and GCHQ unlock encryption used to protect emails, banking and medical records
$250m-a-year US program works covertly with tech companies to insert weaknesses into products
Security experts say programs 'undermine the fabric of the internet'
Intelligence officials asked the Guardian, New York Times and ProPublica not to publish this article, saying that it might prompt foreign targets to switch to new forms of encryption or communications that would be harder to collect or read.
posted by adamvasco at 1:08 PM on September 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


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