Understanding Empire: Technology, Power, Politics

Last week, Edward Snowden leaked the National Intelligence Program’s top-secret annual budget report to the Washington Post (formally known as the Congressional Budget Justification for the National Intelligence Program). The document is the first to breakdown the $56.2 billion spending of America’s Intelligence Community (IC), which has previously remained “off the books” and away from public scrutiny. The rationale for keeping the budget “black” has always been to protect national security. The report covers the activities of 16 spy agencies and 107,035 employees that comprise the IC. It reveals a colossal network of data gathering, analysis, and “covert operations” that exceeds the apex of Cold War spending in the 1980s.

Black Budget details

The CIA, perhaps unsurprisingly, emerges as a titan. Requesting $14.7 billion for fiscal year 2013, the agency dwarfs any other spy service, including the NSA, which was to receive $10.5 billion the same year. According to the report, both the…

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