WASHINGTON – The U.S. government spent $43.5 billion on intelligence in 2007, according to newly declassified intelligence budget.
Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell released the figure Tuesday because the law implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission required it.
In a statement, the DNI said there would be no other disclosures of classified budget information beyond the overall spending figure because "such disclosures could harm national security."
The intelligence agencies have fought multiple legal attempts to disclose spending for the 16 intelligence agencies, including the CIA, the Defense Department, the Treasury Department and the Homeland Security Department, among others. They have argued that adversaries can divine secrets about intelligence activities if they can track budget fluctuations year to year.
By law, overall intelligence spending must be disclosed 30 days after the close of the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30.
The CIA voluntarily disclosed the number only twice, in 1997 and 1998 when the budgets were $26.6 billion and $26.7 billion, respectively.
A top intelligence official inadvertently disclosed the budget two years ago at a conference in San Antonio, Texas, that was open to the public. She said it was $44 billion.
National security analysts outside the government usually estimate the annual budget at about 10 percent of the total U.S. defense budget, which in 2007 was about $600 billion, including funding for the war. Around 80 percent of the intelligence budget is consumed by military intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office.