Director of National Intelligence Gen. James Clapper announced this week that he has reached a deal in principle under which he would be given control of the $53 billion civilian spying budget, removing it from the Pentagon’s budget.
“To me, it’s a win-win,” insisted Clapper, saying it would give him more authority while at the same time allowing the Pentagon to remove $53 billion from its annual budget, albeit simply by shifting it to a different budget. This would allow the military to appear to be growing its budget at a slower rate than it really is in the year the change is made, anticipated to be 2013.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence was created in 2005 to place someone at the position of chief of the enormous US civilian spying apparatus (in practice it has been a retired military commander). The office has come under criticism, however, for lacking any sort of funding authority.
The size of the US intelligence budget has just recently come to public light, with officials announcing late last month that the 2010 cost is $80 billion, including the $53 billion civilian budget and $27 billion military intelligence budget. A number of Congressmen have expressed concern at the massive size of the budget, but it remains to be seen if they actually do anything in an attempt to bring it under control.