Amid secrecy, some disclosure
For the first time since the formation of the CIA,
The Bush administration said it had spent $43.5 billion on spying infiscal 2007, as it bowed on Tuesday to a law ordering disclosure of afigure the government has kept secret for most of the past 60 years.
"Disclosure of the amount of the budget is a good first step towardaccountability," said Steven Aftergood of the Federation of AmericanScientists, which has campaigned for publication of the annualintelligence budget.
The figure, which is roughly equal to the entire economy of Croatia orQatar, dwarfs the estimated intelligence budgets of any other countryincluding the closest U.S. ally, Britain, which spends about 10 percentof the amount, he said.
Now that the lid is off on intelligence funding, the debate will begin on whether spending nearly $50 billion per year is worth it.