World » Americas
Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

USA spends 47.5 billion dollars on espionage in 2008

The US Congress assigned $47.5 billion to fund the activities of its intelligence agencies during the financial year which ends September 30, 2008. The amount if $4 billion more than was assigned for the same purposes last year, the head of National Intelligence Michael McConnell said.

Steven Aftergood called the increase "big news." He tracks intelligence spending for the Project on Government Secrecy.

He said Tuesday, "A multibillion budget increase would be significant at any time. It's even more remarkable today coming after several years of sharp growth in intelligence spending."

Congress in 2007 passed a law requiring intelligence spending to be made public. The budget was last disclosed was 1998. It was $26.7 billion at that time, the AP says.

Most of the funds is used on tapping phone calls, high-speed collection of information, spy satellites and the activities of the CIA and other intelligence departments.

McConnell has 16 of such departments under his supervision, Itar-Tass reports. The position of National Intelligence Director was instituted within the scope of the reform of special services after the 9/11 terrorists acts in the USA.

Prior to establishment of the DNI, the head of the Intelligence Community was the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). The DCI concurrently served as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Soon thereafter Senators Dianne Feinstein, Jay Rockefeller and Bob Graham introduced legislation to create a Director of National Intelligence, S. 2645, introduced on June 19, 2002. Other, similar, legislation soon followed. After considerable debate on the scope of the DNI's powers and authorities, the United States Congress passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 by votes of 336-75 in the House of Representatives, and 89-2 in the Senate. President George W. Bush signed the bill into law on December 17, 2004. Among other things, the law established the DNI position as the designated leader of the United States Intelligence Community and prohibited the DNI from serving as the CIA Director or the head of any other Intelligence Community element at the same time. In addition, the law required the CIA Director to "report" his agency's activities to the DNI.

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