Thursday, November 17, 2005

The CIA's secret budget

Probably common knowledge to most, but I was unaware that the CIA budget is kept secret until recently. Now, when I heard that, my immediate thought was, "um, shouldn't the public have some idea of how much money we're spending on the CIA?" And looking at the Mother Jones blog today, it turns out that the answer is, "yes, we should." As Bradford Plumer points out, article 1, section 9, clause 7 of the Constitution says

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
So the CIA's secret budget (44 billion - it was leaked this year) is in violation of the Constitution. But this is nothing new, Plumer notes, as government spending secrecy has been a norm ever since the days of George Washington.

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