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US government spends $11 Billion annually to keep secrets — plus the amount they spend that is secret!

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The federal government spent more than $11 billion to protect its secrets last year, double the cost of classification a decade ago — and that is only the part it will reveal. The total does not include the costs incurred by the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and other spy agencies, whose spending is — you guessed it — classified…

John P. Fitzpatrick, head of the Information Security Oversight Office, which oversees the government’s classification effort and released the annual report, said that adding the excluded agencies would increase the spending total by “less than 20 percent.” That suggests that the real total may be about $13 billion, more than the entire annual budget of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The costs include investigations of people applying for security clearances, equipment like safes and special computer gear, training for government personnel, and salaries for officials who review documents for classification and declassification…

Steven Aftergood, who directs the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists, said the classification of the amounts spent by the intelligence agencies on classification, for example, was unnecessary…“To me it illustrates the most important problem — namely that we are classifying far too much information,” he said. “The credibility of the classification system is collapsing under the weight of bogus secrets.”

The process of declassification has been deliberately slowed – essentially to a halt. The United States has secret treaties with nations as far afield as Japan and Israel, ranging from limiting sovereignty to just plain obsequious. There are the usual acceptable reasons: protecting covert sources, agents still in the field, technological tricks.

The overarching concern has become keeping the level of embarrassment manageable. Avoiding responsibility for violations of law and justice.

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Written by Ed Campbell

July 3, 2012 at 10:00 am

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