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Classified US Intel Budget Revealed Via Powerpoint

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the woops-they-did-it-again dept.

United States 364

Atario writes "In a holdover from the Cold War when the number really did matter to national security, the size of the US national intelligence budget remains one of the government's most closely guarded secrets. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the highest intelligence agency in the country that oversees all federal intelligence agencies, appears to have inadvertently released the keys to that number in an unclassified PowerPoint presentation now posted on the website of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). By reverse engineering the numbers in an underlying data element embedded in the presentation, it seems that the total budget of the 16 US intelligence agencies in fiscal year 2005 was $60 billion, almost 25% higher than previously believed."

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364 comments

Old Jedi Mind Trick (5, Funny)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#19464845)

These are not the budget numbers you are looking for..

Guess the DoD changed their security policy (3, Interesting)

jeffs72 (711141) | more than 7 years ago | (#19464849)

This is good proof that security through obscurity doesn't work.

Re:Guess the DoD changed their security policy (2, Informative)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 7 years ago | (#19464921)

From TFA, it soundly like somebody forgot to strip the hidden data.

It's been taken down though, slashdotted before the first post even...

Re:Guess the DoD changed their security policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19464995)

I would rather say that somebody had no idea how to import image of spreadsheet into Powerpoint not a whole spreadsheet.
The more powerful people are, the more stupid they are. Look at Bush ;)

Re:Guess the DoD changed their security policy (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465329)

From TFA, it soundly like somebody forgot to strip the hidden data.

This right here is proof as far as I'm concerned that anybody who seriously thinks that the US Government staged 9/11, shot down TWA 800, killed JFK or faked the Apollo landings really needs to have their head examined.

Seriously. This seems like the third or forth story along these lines in as many weeks. Recall the Coalition Provisional Authority leaks because somebody couldn't disable the previous versions feature of word. And now this?

I'm sorry, but our Government is too incompetent to manage any of the things above. I kinda wish they were in a way... then maybe Iraq wouldn't be such a mess, Katrina would have been handled correctly and 9/11 wouldn't have happened.

Re:Guess the DoD changed their security policy (5, Insightful)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465729)

This right here is proof as far as I'm concerned that anybody who seriously thinks that the US Government staged 9/11, shot down TWA 800, killed JFK or faked the Apollo landings really needs to have their head examined.
 
Except that the "mistakes" like these are done by the government, so that you would think exactly that. You have just fallen into their trap!

Not really, but your logic makes about as much sense as the conspiracy theorists. Just because one idiot who works for the government screwed up, doesn't imply anything about other people, and other agencies? Why would it? Just like saying someone working for one company screwed up, so all companies must be incompetent, and have been for 40 years? Do you not think that sounds screwy as well?

Re:Guess the DoD changed their security policy (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19465853)

The point is that most conspiracies would require a huge amount of people spread amongst many agencies, yet somehow they all remained silent and no one made a mistake. The odds of any group of people that size pulling that off once is astronomical, numerous times it inconceivable. Hell, with the moon landing people all over the world cooperated, key monitoring stations were civilians were manned by Australian civilian scientists.

Yet somehow the government is also incompetent and inept.

Re:Guess the DoD changed their security policy (5, Interesting)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465797)

Obviously you've never heard of Operation Mincemeat then. You know, the one where the Allies put fake landing plans on a dead guy left to wash up on a Spanish beach.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mincemeat [wikipedia.org]

If they can successfully go to those lengths, how hard is it to accidentally-on-purpose leave some bogus figures in a Powerpoint presentation?

It's all part of the plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19465801)

Don't let them fool you! They did it on purpose so that we would believe exactly that.

Re:Guess the DoD changed their security policy (1)

oldbusiness (1114037) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465877)

"Data" wants to flow. Our artifacts facilitate this. It is up to thinking humans to build and control the dams.

Re:Guess the DoD changed their security policy (1, Flamebait)

dattaway (3088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19464957)

Yes sir! Their policy is their mission statement:

Committed to Excellence in Defense of The Nation

Notice its "The Nation" and not "Our Nation."

Re:Guess the DoD changed their security policy (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465643)

"The nation" and "our nation" is and can be the same thing. It really depend on who is speaking and what nation they are in.

Re:Guess the DoD changed their security policy (0)

suspectqa (1114031) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465359)

test

Re:Guess the DoD changed their security policy (2, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465509)

This is good proof that security through obscurity doesn't work.

No it isn't. The concept of "security through obscurity" has nothing to do with this, this was not an attempt to hide the actual figure in a haystack and hope no one would find it. What's going on here is called stupidity. Whoever put the slides together didn't think through what actual information was embedded in the PowerPoint, didn't understand how PowerPoint works. This has *nothing* to do with attempting to hide something, it has to do with no understand that the something was there in the first place.

Please drop the tired cliché

Re:Guess the DoD changed their security policy (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465733)

I'm left wondering if a flashy power point presentation was really needed or if the "I know how to use office" on the resume got someone looking to jazz things up and get a promotion.

I'm also wondering it this would have been the same problem with any version of powerpoint or is something equivalent to MS power point could have avoided it all together.

It seems to me that we have had quite a few leaks revolving around MS products, the insistence on using them, and under-qualified people using them to do the job.

I knew it (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19464855)

I have always been saying that MS products have no place in government. This is a glaring example of why.

Re:I knew it (5, Insightful)

Marcion (876801) | more than 7 years ago | (#19464943)

Funnily enough for the first few seconds I read it as Intel computers, bit of a bad choice of abbreviation for a Tech website, next story will be "EU bans AMD", referring to acid mine drainage no doubt.

Re:I knew it (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465361)

I have always been saying that MS products have no place in government

Yes, because this is all Microsoft's fault. It has nothing to do whatsoever with the incompetence of the person/people who created this Powerpoint show and left classified data in the version that was released to the public.

If only the Feds were using an open-source solution. An open-source slide show program would have been smart enough to realize that they left classified data in the document and would have alerted them prior to the document being released to the public.

Re:I knew it (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465455)

Maybe not, but an OSS program would have allowed them to modify the source so "invisible" classified data CANNOT be included in a report that leaves the system. Ya know, they do have pretty good proggers...

MS is notorious for leaving too much information in the document without being visible to the plain eye.

Re:I knew it (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465563)

MS is notorious for leaving too much information in the document without being visible to the plain eye.

Yes they are and it's more then fair to say that. It's not fair however to make a blanket statement of "MS products have no place in government. This is a glaring example of why."

The only thing that this is a "glaring example" of is of ID10T users that can't follow proper procedure for handling classified information. One would suspect that heads will probably roll over this -- even though it wasn't that serious of a leak.

Some users in Government take classified data home with them to work on it even though that is specifically against procedure. Is that also Microsoft's fault?

Re:I knew it (2, Insightful)

aslate (675607) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465609)

This is a plain, simple and well-known feature of MS Office that frankly is very useful. If you copy a spreadsheet graph across, the data also gets copied across so you are able to modify it later.

So what would the advantage of OSS software give? They could modify the program so that this data doesn't get released? Great. So we have a program that magically knows what data is classified, or we have a classified flag that can be added (or forgotten to be added by clerical staff). Would you allow classified data to be used to create a graph? Probably not.

As far as i remember OOo implements graph and data copying between various OOo applications in exactly the same way too. This is simply the poor sod that had to make the slideshow either not realising or forgetting that this happens.

This is why documents like this PowerPoint should be distributed in some format like a PDF, there is no reason to be able to modify the slideshow publically or see the source behind any of the graphics, charts or diagrams.

Re:I knew it (5, Insightful)

toleraen (831634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465613)

That's funny, because I can open up PowerPoint and select "Remove Hidden Data", which coincidentally enough is a feature I pulled from Microsoft's site. It does a fantastic job of removing all that hidden data, too. This is pure user error in not using this function; it has absolutely nothing to do with Microsoft versus OSS.

Re:I knew it (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465619)

If only the Feds were using an open-source solution. An open-source slide show program would have been smart enough to realize that they left classified data in the document and would have alerted them prior to the document being released to the public.

How hard would it be to add a feature where hidden text, and graph data off the currently-shown scales, caused the program to throw up a big red warning box whenever the document was saved?

Seems that would be trivial for the US intelligence services to add to OpenOffice.org, what with their $60 billion to spend on it.~~ Might be harder and costlier for them to get Microsoft to add it, especially if that meant they would need to upgrade all computers to Office 2007.

Re:I knew it (4, Insightful)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465551)

I have always been saying that MS products have no place in government. This is a glaring example of why.

No, while I'd usually agree with you, this is a glaring example of why more people in government should use MS products. Can we get PowerPoint installed on more desktops in the Justice Department?

Stargate (5, Funny)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 7 years ago | (#19464863)

Well, they have to fund the Stargate program SOMEHOW don't they? Why not take the money from an agency that nobody would suspect of being involved? :)

Re:Stargate (3, Insightful)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19464915)

No no, your all wrong. They funded SG project with all the money they siphoned from NASA when they faked the moon landings. Any REAL nerd would know that...

Re:Stargate (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465125)

Don't they fund the SG project through patents on alien technology held by shell companies?

Re:Stargate (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465183)

Oh c'mon, don't you watch your MiB? They fund all those alien programs with patents gained from alien technology.

Why the hell do you think they're so head over heels with the protection of intellectual property? Because of some industries? Oh c'mon...

Re:Stargate (4, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465201)

I thought the Stargate program pays for itself (indeed, even turns a profit) by selling off all the technology they brought back.

I've always been amused by the premise of this franchise. It comes from one a (supposedly) non-fiction book called The Stargate Conspiracy, which claims that a secret cabal is bringing back alien technology through a portal dug up in Egypt, and trading it for money and power. The amusing thing is that the TV show makes the same people who were the evil conspirators in the book into the good guys!

In the Words of Nelson: (1, Funny)

thesupermikey (220055) | more than 7 years ago | (#19464871)

HA! HA!

take that classified info!

Re:In the Words of Nelson: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19465003)

I thought Nelson's words were: "Kiss me, Hardy"?

Re:In the Words of Nelson: (1)

Speedracer1870 (1041248) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465137)

...and they spend all this money investigating your past for a clearance. Maybe they should investigate a person's stupidity level instead. "Here are 4 shapes. Put each in the correct hole."

Re:In the Words of Nelson: (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465775)

I would bet that only a small percentage of that goes into investigating your past. I would also bet that those type of investigations are only done when you do certain things apply for a passport, get caught up talking to suspected terrorist and so on.

Link to the actual PowerPoint slideshow (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19464879)

Outdated link (5, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19464937)

Yeah, that's no longer there.

It's now been posted [fas.org] by the Federation of American Scientists.

There are, however, a number of other contracting briefs and presentations posted here [dia.mil]

Re:Outdated link (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465825)

Why would it be posted at a federation of scientist? Since when are scientists political entities vested with showing government secretes?

Important information from the article... (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19464903)

The intelligence community is so large and diverse, that it is literally quite possible that the government itself didn't know how much money was spent on "intelligence".

Not because of incompetence, corruption, waste, or secrecy - though all those are certainly elements to varying degrees - but in reality because of the wide variety of agencies and activities that fall under the guise of "intelligence" [intelligence.gov] .

The article itself notes, correctly:

This top line $60 billion figure is 25% above the estimated $48 billion budget for FY 08. It is quite probable that this total figure was not even known by the government until recently. Greater control and oversight of the Intelligence Community budget was a hallmark of the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 that created the position of the Director of National Intelligence and gave it the mandate to get an overview of the entire amount spent on intelligence government-wide. To this end, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has recently gathered all parts of the previously fragmented Intelligence Community budget together for the first time as part of its Intelligence Resource Information System (IRIS). In the report from the Select Senate Committee on Intelligence released last Thursday, the committee praised the Office of the Director of Intelligence for creating a "single budget system called the Intelligence Resource Information System." It also recognizes their efforts in helping create what "will be used for further inquiry by the Committee's budget and audit staffs and will be a baseline that allows the Congress and DNI to derive trend data from future reports."

Earlier, lower estimates were most likely only included what fell directly under the Director of Central Intelligence and which would have omitted parts of NSA, NRO. A total Intelligence Community number, with the Intelligence Community as defined by 50 U.S.C. 401a(4), would also now include the various military intelligence services (e.g. Army Intel, Navy Intel, etc.), each with its respective weapon technology intelligence exploitation shop. A total budget would also include a large portion of the budget of the Department of Homeland Security which was previously fragment across multiple government agencies. A $60 billion government-wide Intelligence Community budget is not at all out of line with the post 9/11 organizational reality. It seems that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is just now getting a clear picture of the fragmented intelligence community budget.


When you're dealing with sixteen separate agencies, including elements from the Department of Defense, to say something like "intelligence budget" is almost meaningless. What's pure intelligence? What's national defense? What is a mix? In fact, it often comes down to what some particular task or program is "anointed" by management. Different areas get reorganized and shuffled into different organizational structures. To say nothing of the fact that the addition of DHS to the Intelligence Community was the largest government reorganization in over a half-century, since the creation of the Department of Defense and CIA by the National Security Act of 1947.

Shuffle more, and you can probably make the "intelligence" budget appear lower. But the truth is that "it seems that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is just now getting a clear picture of the fragmented intelligence community budget."

And that should be a good thing.

On a different note, revealing classified or sensitive information by improper handling of technology solutions is a perennial problem, and it still floors me that the vetting and release process doesn't properly capture things like this (though they've gotten MUCH better).

Followup (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465013)

To follow up on this comment a bit, it's not like these aren't all elements that weren't already being paid for out of some budget. They were. It's just that a lot of the pieces in the past were probably considered part of the "defense" budget as opposed to the "intelligence" budget. It's a semantic distinction when it comes to the dollars, but I'll agree it is interesting for people to know from an organizational perspective, especially since the Intelligence Community budget has traditionally been officially secret.

The "intelligence budget" is just a matter of definitions.

Re:Important information from the article... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19465163)

"Military Intelligence" : my all time favourite oxymoron.

Re:Important information from the article... (1)

rwhamann (598229) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465663)

Isn't everyone tired of this joke by now?

Re:Important information from the article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19465811)

Nope. :)

Re:Important information from the article... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19465635)

Question is, does it include the recent trend of outsourcing intelligence work ?
I'm thinking of Vanity Fair's interesting article about SAIC.

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/0 3/spyagency200703?printable=true&currentPage=all [vanityfair.com]

Re:Important information from the article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19465781)

"On a different note, revealing classified or sensitive information by improper handling of technology solutions is a perennial problem, and it still floors me that the vetting and release process doesn't properly capture things like this (though they've gotten MUCH better)."

We can only dream, sir, we can only dream.

Perhaps one day, in the distant future, all government operations will be kept a strictly guarded secret, without leaks nor defections, and (for the benefit of the citizens, of course) the office-holders and lobbyists will assume their rightful crown at the peak of humanity.

For now, we are condemned to a Hell of embarrassing revelations. Why cannot the citizenry accept that we are their just Lords and Protectors, assigned by God to watch over them (in exchange for a meager 30% of their lifetime earnings)? No, they insist on probing and peeking, ferreting out information that only the ruling class deserves to know.

Compared to? (2, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#19464917)

60 billion huh?

Does anyone know how much that budget was back in 2000?

Re:Compared to? (1)

FredDC (1048502) | more than 7 years ago | (#19464979)

Got any old powerpoint presentations lying around somewhere?

RTFA ! (4, Informative)

alexhs (877055) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465417)

70 % of the budget from FY95 to FY06 (up to August 31), in tens of millions of dollars,
third column for 100% :

95 1850 2643
96 1950 2786
97 1800 2571
98 1775 2536
99 2150 3071
00 1754 2506
01 2170 3100
02 3140 4486
03 4203 6004
04 4049 5784
05 4200 6000
06 3964 5663

So, from 1995 to 2005, an increase of 227%, correspondig to an annual increase of 8,5%.
And, from 2000 to 2005, an increase of 239%, corresponding to an annual increase of 19,1%.

Re:RTFA ! (4, Interesting)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465691)

70 % of the budget from FY95 to FY06 (up to August 31), in tens of millions of dollars,
third column for 100% :
So, between 25 to 30 before 9-11, and then between 55 and 60 after.

Basically, their budget doubled as a result.
Thanks for RTFA and giving me the bit I wanted :)

Re:Compared to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19465543)

It depends if you include what they spent planning & executing the attacks on 11/9

With security this awesome... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19464919)

With security this awesome we'll soon be reading their classified email courtesy of phf.cgi ...

At least, insescurity works for the little guy (3, Insightful)

astrashe (7452) | more than 7 years ago | (#19464931)

I sort of feel like this is telling us stuff we ought to know anyway.

Re:At least, insescurity works for the little guy (1)

ak3ldama (554026) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465533)

I sort of feel like this is telling us stuff we ought to know anyway.
That is what I thought, especially with an organization(s) that has such awesome potential to become corrupted. Though it is entirely likely they already are ... $60 Billion, are you kidding me?

Quote from ID4 (4, Funny)

u-bend (1095729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19464955)

Re:Quote from ID4 (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465407)

You don't actually think they spend $20,000.00 on a hammer, $30,000.00 on a toilet seat do you?

Well, yeah, they actually probably do, but only in no-bid contracts awarded to whatever company the Director of the Federal agency requesting the contract worked for previously. ;)

Re:Quote from ID4 (4, Informative)

u-bend (1095729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465589)

Couple of points on your post:
1. How right you are about the no-bid, money-wasting thing--it's happening right now in Iraq, where millions have been wasted and in many cases, little reconstruction to show for it [coastalpost.com] (sorry about the Coastal Post link--it was in major news publications a couple of weeks ago, but this is the most relevant recent hit in a Google News "Bechtel Iraq" search).
2. Isn't it sad that you have to say "probably," because in so many cases, it seems like these huge taxpayer decisions are made without anyone knowing about them?

Obligatory (2, Funny)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#19464965)

And what's happened to their AMD budget?

Reverse Engineered? (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 7 years ago | (#19464987)

I'd hardly call this reverse engineering. The unclassified document was made so by simply removing the scale from a graph.

This is even worse than declassifying documents by putting a box on top of text in a PDF. How can people be so stupid?

Re:Reverse Engineered? (4, Insightful)

Himring (646324) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465251)

Because government people are still people and they, and you and I -- and everyone -- are stupid.... I try to be careful in my old age anymore with judging, blaming and thinking others are stupider. I've got waaay too many screwups on my record to talk. It is simply a matter of time before you (or me) has our next big stupid moment in finances, love, work, etc. Just because they work for the government doesn't mean they are different or better or worse. Probably one of the best arguments against vast and complex conspiracies is simply that: that people in any conspiracy are just stupid people like me and you.

To quote Bullet Tooth Tony:

"Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity...."

How can people be so stupid? (1)

nbritton (823086) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465267)

"This is even worse than declassifying documents by putting a box on top of text in a PDF. How can people be so stupid?"

Umm... That's classified.

No One Will Be Fired (1, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465027)

Heckuva job, Negroponte and McConnell [wikipedia.org] .

Or, should I say, Bush has shown his contempt for intelligence once again, and will yet again when he doesn't fire anyone for this serious secrecy breach. Of course, Bush will continue to keep more secrets than all previous American governments combined, and illegally invade Americans' privacy all day with wiretaps and the datamining that Orwell described. America serves at the president's pleasure [wikipedia.org] .

I guess terrorists must have infiltrated the government's Powerpoint training program, because they're always the culprits [imdb.com] , and Bush's divine right is never wrong [google.com] .

Re:No One Will Be Fired (2, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465239)

*Sigh*.

So, the Director of National Intelligence should be fired because a PowerPoint presentation reveals something that is so broad and vague, given the that fact that the "intelligence" budget is "secret" has been a joke for the last decade?

The reason the intelligence budget has been secret has been so adversaries can't see how much you're spending on any one agency, which can imply underlying operations or technologies and techniques depending on how granular budget breakdowns were. It's never been that the total number has been "secret"; it's been that many of the constituent elements have been correctly kept secret, which necessarily means that the total amount can't be known exactly.

What is or isn't "intelligence" is a matter of definition, and as the article notes, it's just a matter of the fact that the DNI is now getting ahold of the fragmented budgets of the thousands of fragmented components and programs in the sixteen Intelligence Community components, many of which are in DOD, that currently fall under the operational guise of "intelligence", including massive chunks of NSA and entire agencies managing assets in space, like NRO.

Even this number doesn't likely accurately represent the "intelligence" budget, since so many areas are a mix of other disciplines, especially national security.

(Way to get in an off-topic post that manages to rant about conspiracy theories, Orwell (can we have a Godwin's Law for Orwell references at some point?), religion, and Hurricane Katrina all in one, though. America does not "serve at the president's pleasure" (nice US Attorney firing reference, though! Bravo!), no one thinks terrorism is to blame for everything or even most things (except for the things for which it is to blame, and some choose willful ignorance about the scope and nature of the problem), and Bush himself routinely has said that he has made mistakes and bad decisions, and no one except complete idiots would think anyone of any political stripe is "never wrong". And Katrina. Ugh. Fastest federal response ever to a disaster of that size and scope, and the local and state agencies knew about this for several, several days, and DID have the capability to do a lot more, and didn't. So, what, you want more federal control over states and localities? Maybe a law to allow domestic use of the military in natural disasters? Oh, wait...that is really Bush's secret attempt to declare martial law, right? I can't keep up.)

Re:No One Will Be Fired (3, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465491)

I didn't say the DNI should be fired. I just said that no one will be fired. Your rumsfeldian denial of the extreme opposite is exactly the kind of Republican nonsense that protects everyone doing all these important government activities wrong.

And all you can do is "sigh".

The budget is secret. Publishing it is a crime. The total number has indeed been secret, and the conventional estimates have been $15B, 25%, too low. Which means that even in just 2005, the "Intelligence" operations were over 30% larger than previously believed.

I guess you sigh over the big deal everyone makes about the Bush gang exposing a secret CIA agent, Valerie Plame, who worked to keep Iraq and Iran from going nuclear, to protect Bush/Cheney lies about nukes to send us to war in those countries. You'll probably claim that she wasn't covert, that the Bush gang didn't expose her, that they didn't know, that mistakes were made, that Bush will fire anyone involved in the leak... Spare me your horrendous BS.

Only denial junkies can appear to think your way though keeping separate massive administration failures like Katrina, exposed intel secrets, and Bush's failed, faithy government. Your massive coincidence theory doesn't fool anyone. You (dwindling) Republican apologists do indeed insist that terrorists are the reason Bush's government does anything wrong. You Bush worshippers don't even need to hear Bush say "I made a mistake" - "mistakes were made" is enough, and no one gets fired.

You've even got the insanity to defend Bush's Katrina response. You are too sick to try to cure with facts and overwhelming evidence. I'm replying only because it's so easy, and because there are indeed still others who can be fooled by your shoddy lies and denial.

Re:No One Will Be Fired (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465737)

You do realize that so baltently holding to one side or the other (ie the left or the right) that you are no better than the very people you hate?

When the fuck will people realize that we are all on the same team here? Last time I checked, America was ONE country, not two.

Indivisable, anyone?

Frankly, I don't care whose "side" you are on. To me, you are the exact thing that is wrong with America. Not because you follow one belief or another, but because you think that YOU and ONLY YOU can possibly be right.

You know, Hitler thought that same way too.

Re:No One Will Be Fired (3, Insightful)

CompCons (650700) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465299)

Bush may do alot of things wrong... but are you really trying to blame him for some low level moron releasing a powerpoint presentation? This is not an offense that requires big heads to roll. This is a problem that requires (possibly) one or two grunts to be fired. Shit happens, you can't stop every mistake. The important thing is how it's handled and frankly, I don't think it SHOULD be a matter of public knowledge how this is handled. Maybe the guy gets a mark on his record, maybe he gets fired, maybe they change the clearing policy. Either way... please drop your Bush is responsible for every little thing that goes wrong. Ultimately yes, the buck stops at his door, but lets be realistic... I'm sure someone is going to get hammered for this... lets make sure it's the person that ACTUALLY screwed up.

Re:No One Will Be Fired (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465605)

The fool who published the PPT is responsible, and should be fired. The fools who trained and managed them, after all the damaging Office exposures so public the past several years, should probably be fired, responsible for the performance of the fool. The responsibility for continuing this incompetence does run all the way to the National Intelligence Director, who is responsible for their office, so they should take a hit of some kind. And of course Bush is responsible for managing the DNI - he's "The Decider".

But no one will get fired. Except maybe in the office that mismanaged the PR spin. For a guide to the standard pattern, just watch Gonzales "take responsibility" for the "mishandling" of his US Attorney purge, by admitting he failed to spin it properly.

This is not a little thing. I didn't say Bush should be fired for this. But now that you mention "every little thing that goes wrong": so many things, mostly big, have "gone wrong" under Bush that he clearly is responsible. That's what leaders do: take responsibility. But he won't. No one in his crony gang will. No one will be fired, except either a scapegoat or, if there really is public pressure, at best a fall guy.

Nothing has ever changed, even over bigger "mistakes" like this, even recently. How can you possibly act like this is acceptable performance from such an important organization as the US Executive Branch, while we're at war on multiple fronts, with intelligence at the core of every problem, and needed in every solution?

Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19465031)

Trying to be optimistic here .... I hope they are spending the money well. That kind of cash could solve a lot of school budget problems where I come from.

Here's something to consider... (5, Interesting)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465045)

The only people this was a secret from was the American people.

Every government on earth (and the "bad guys" as well), knew the size of the budget. Or did someone think Putin was going to look at this powerpoint, smack his forehead with his hand and say "ah ha! now I know!"?

Re:Here's something to consider... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19465199)

It's like that. The USA Govt is too incompetent to keep secrets. NASA can't even keep backups, let alone secrets. It's pathetic. Say what you want about Stalin-era Soviet Union, but their secrets were kept tight. Even if Bush wanted a totalitarian regime over the US population, nobody would be at all afraid since the secret police wouldn't even be secret. You'd just see Word documents whizzing about via exploited Exchange servers saying "illK mithS ohnJ".

Re:Here's something to consider... (1)

Ernesto Alvarez (750678) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465697)

Say what you want about Stalin-era Soviet Union, but their secrets were kept tight.

Well, not THAT tight [nsa.gov] .

Re:Here's something to consider... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465275)

Makes sense, doesn't it? I mean, do you think Putin would start fuming over the waste of money?

Re:Here's something to consider... (2, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465437)

No. The US government's budget, as a whole, was never a secret. People have been deducing and estimating, rather accurately, the entirety of the "intelligence budget" for decades.

What was secret was the budget for individual pieces of the intelligence community, which can imply underlying specific operations, programs, and technologies on which a nation may be spending money. And that should be secret. This, however, necessarily means that the total exact amount spent on intelligence programs is also secret. So we have a situation where we don't know something like:

1 + 4 + 2 + 4 + 6 + 9 + 1 + 3 + 7 = 37

but do know:

A + B + C + D + E + X + ??? = 37 (approximately)

This has always been the case, will continue to be the case, as it should be, and is still the case even though this broad and vague number of how much is spent on "contractors", coupled with a percentage of total spent on contractors, is known.

And even this number isn't likely accurate, because what is or isn't "intelligence" is a matter of definitions and organization. All of these items are being paid for regardless. This is like saying what the "defense" budget is. Sure, we can throw out a huge number under the umbrella of DOD. But some of that money is also part of the "intelligence" budget. In fact, a huge chunk is. So which is it? Defense? Intelligence? Both?

And yes, a lot of this information about granular budgets of individual agencies and programs has been successfully kept from adversaries. It's not like we want to keep a total of ALL intelligence spending secret; the Soviet Union didn't even really care about that when it existed, and could deduce it accurately enough if it cared. What it WOULD care about is things like NRO's budget, or the budgets of the cryptanalysis components of the services, or NGA's budget, or line items in those budgets, etc. THAT is why the "intelligence budget" has properly been "secret".

It's not like it's a mystery how much we're paying in taxes.

running the numbers (5, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465617)

The only people this was a secret from was the American people.

It's important to remember that $60BN doesn't spend itself, and it doesn't spend itself in small numbers. A whole lot of Americans knew that a whole lot of money was being spent on (essentially) nothing. It's also important to remember that this money mostly goes to defense contractors, and most of that goes to the upper management. Make no mistake: the rich don't spend in proportion to their income. They hoard. This money is being turned into silver spoons for a whole lot of terrorism-profiteers.

Fun trivia: $60BN is enough to give *every* child and adult in the US $200; about half a week's wages for people working minimum wage (before the roughly 1/3rd that goes to taxes, of course.)

It's enough to employ (are you sitting down?) one point two MILLION people in $50k/year jobs.

Now sit there and explain to me why New Orleans is still a disaster area, why 10 million kids in the US don't get enough food to eat, ~1% of the population (3.5 million people) is homeless (third of those are children), and why poor residents living in New England have their federal assistance for home heating cut.

This nation's spending priorities are so out of whack it is abhorrent.

Re:running the numbers (4, Insightful)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465863)

Fun trivia: $60BN is enough to give *every* child and adult in the US $200; about half a week's wages for people working minimum wage (before the roughly 1/3rd that goes to taxes, of course.) ... Now sit there and explain to me why New Orleans is still a disaster area, why 10 million kids in the US don't get enough food to eat ...

Because, sir, if you give a man $200, you feed him for half a week. If you keep up the hegemony status of that man's nation, and use a successful war to spur on the economy (as successful wars always do), you feed him for a lifetime. Remember that although there may be poverty in America, there is nothing resembling an actual humanitarian crisis due to an outright failure of the economy to sell food where it's needed - and there will never be one, so long as America remains the superpower.

As a Louisiana resident, I know the Katrina disaster response was woefully inadequate and an embarrassment to our nation. But that isn't to say that the federal government should have any role in the long-term rebuilding of the city. The worst thing New Orleans, or in fact anywhere, could have is handouts. All they do is provide a source of capital that nobody can compete with, and therefore nobody bothers to work towards restoring an economy.

Name that quote (4, Insightful)

Snowgen (586732) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465051)

"...a regular statement and account of receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time."

Re:Name that quote (5, Funny)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465205)

Name that quote

Ooh, ooh, I know!

Part of the "decorative pattern" on Bush's private toilet-paper.

I think the silly, meaningless sentence you quoted comes from the first roll, ninth sheet. ;-)

Re:Name that quote (5, Funny)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465321)

The Communist Manifesto? Mao's Little Red Book?

Surely no government of a free and democratic country would be based on such a radical ideal. Give people information like that and next thing you know they'll want some voice in how that money gets spent, and that way lies anarchy.

That's it?!? (5, Insightful)

hanshotfirst (851936) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465073)

Only $60B ???!!!

Personally, I'd rather see us spend $120B on intelligence and get it RIGHT than only spend $60B and get it WRONG and end up going to war based on that faulty intelligence at a price tag of $82B up-front and more annually!

Politics and loss of life aside, it's just better economics!

Re:That's it?!? (5, Insightful)

spellraiser (764337) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465197)

Personally, I'd rather see us spend $120B on intelligence and get it RIGHT than only spend $60B and get it WRONG and end up going to war based on that faulty intelligence at a price tag of $82B up-front and more annually!

It's been said before, but I guess I need to say it again: There was absolutely nothing wrong with the intelligence. The Bush administration just didn't care whether Iraq had WDMs or not (nor whether they had any links with Al-Qaida, etc.); they decided to invade, and so they did. All the 'intelligence' they submitted to justify their decision beforehand was stuff that the intelligence agencies had rejected as false or inaccurate again and again. That they say that the intelligence was bad afterwards is only adding insult to injury.

Re:That's it?!? (4, Insightful)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465603)

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

-- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

Of course, a Powerpoint presentation on WMD rarely goes astray.

C'mon, you should know better than that (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465377)

If you only watched politics for a few years, you know that it's better to spend 60b bucks to get it wrong than to spend 120b bucks to get it wrong. Getting it right is almost never an option, no matter how much money you pour into it.

Not trying to bash our government officials, but you rarely if ever get the "good" people to work there. A lot of people working there do it for a comfortable job with almost infallable job security. There's also rarely any kind of reward for putting more effort into a fed job than necessary to work to spec. Actually, self initiative is rarely encouraged and can even lead to severe problems, since you may intrude into someone elses field.

So why bother doing more than you're told to do?

Whether you spend more money on that doesn't matter to quality. Quality doesn't increase if bureaucracy, infighting and jealous watchfulness (that people don't overstep their boundaries and hunt in "my" turf) keep it in check. No matter how much money you pump into it.

Re:C'mon, you should know better than that (1)

hanshotfirst (851936) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465721)

you know that it's better to spend 60b bucks to get it wrong than to spend 120b bucks to get it wrong.
No argument there. Unfortunately there is no way to calculate the amount of spending required to get it "right", so the 120B could be as "the same", "better", or "worse" than 60B. So, while I wish there was a magic spending number that brought perfect knowledge, there isn't. We're left with gathering a reasonable amount of data, analyzing as best as humanly possible (considering the "good enough" work ethic and policy constraints).

Re:That's it?!? (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465449)


Throwing more money at the Government makes it bigger, not better.

9 women cannot make a baby in 1 month (2, Insightful)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465451)

Your argument assumes that the widely publicised "intelligence failures" in the United States can be solved by supplying additional funds. Since some of the most important "failures", those with the greatest consequences, were actually the result of policy failures (or perhaps worse, manipulation of the evidence at a policy level), and were not failures in data collection or analysis, I suspect that doubling the funds might actually be dangerous. Perhaps we could spend half as much money, and the consequences of "failure" would be reduced. Impossible to build a solid case for this argument without at least some amount of detailed data about how the money is spent of course, but worth pondering.

Re:9 women cannot make a baby in 1 month (1)

wes33 (698200) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465549)

9 women cannot make a baby in 1 month
of course they can ... on average.
It just takes a while to ramp up production :)

Re:That's it?!? (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465607)

Dude you went to war on information that your intel guys NEW was bogus.

Re:That's it?!? (2, Funny)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465649)

Maybe some did, but most probably had KNOW idea what was going on to begin with.

Right... (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465717)

Because spending more money always makes things better and not worse.

 

Misinformation (4, Insightful)

Aaron England (681534) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465159)

Whenever the government gives us information, we assume deception. Whenever we "discover" information, we assume truth. Perhaps I'm the only individual who realizes this, and no one would ever betray the public's trust by purposefully planting misinformation which would lead the public to believe they have uncovered truth. Or perhaps not.

Re:Misinformation (1)

magores (208594) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465337)

Plausible theory, scarily enough.

Megatrends: Cold War Era - 21st Century (3, Insightful)

Proudrooster (580120) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465165)

On Slide #6, "Megatrends" and how that the "old hotness" for "non-core functions" was "in-house" but now that we are in the 21st century, the new hotness is "OUTSOURCED"! I wonder if they outsourced the making of this presentation :) Also, if you note the "Work Environemnt" row, you will see the transition from "Dedicated" to "Virtual, Telecommuting" which means more DIA laptops will be floating around, getting ripped off, and exposing the DIA to even more leaks. With this DIA strategy and demonstrated incomptence, China's expanded cyberweapons programs will have the information in hand before the President/Congress get to hear it in their briefings. Security is an illusion.

Great Budget (3, Funny)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465249)

I guess there weren't any basic tutorials on computer security in that budget

Re:Great Budget (1)

Ernesto Alvarez (750678) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465833)

I guess there weren't any basic tutorials on computer security in that budget

Actually, there are a lot of them [nsa.gov] . The third counting upwards from the last one is definitely relevant, if adapted from word to powerpoint.

Ho Hum (4, Funny)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465313)

Back in the 60s there was a popular story (probably an urban legend, but still a good story) about a realtor in McLean, VA, who needed to do a report on how many people worked in the area. That would include CIA headquarters. The CIA refused to release any figures — it's a national secret! So the guy called up the Soviet embassy, which was happy to provide the data he needed.

Secrecy, often as not, is less about keeping the bad guys in the dark than about avoiding public scrutiny.

Google Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19465351)

For great justice. [google.com]

The solution is clear (4, Funny)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465445)

Ladies and gentlemen, for the good of our nation, for our security..we must outlaws Powerpoint. Then, only criminals will use it in order to bore each other to tears. Two birds with one stone!

Mattered how? (2, Funny)

nagora (177841) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465469)

In a holdover from the Cold War when the number really did matter to national security,

The number never mattered except to hide it from the electorate. An itemised list of what it was spent on, now, that would have been an issue of national security.

It's a deliberate leak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19465501)

Note all the photos of the Whitehouse draped in snow - it's to subliminaly make us think Global Warming is a myth by showing us snow when we're all fired up thinking we're reading secret stuff. Sneaky guys those polticians.

Sweet Googa Mooga! (1)

Cheezymadman (1083175) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465539)

$60 Billion on Celerons?

What is that, like 200 chips?

undo history (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465633)

This is just as good as releasing redacted data in the undo history of an MS-Office file. I would laugh if it weren't my government doing this.

Billions here, billions there... (4, Insightful)

dmccarty (152630) | more than 7 years ago | (#19465653)

News organizations constantly report million and billion dollar budgets without providing context. On the radio and on TV, for example, the announcer usually takes exceptional care to pause, then spit out the word as if it's a death-defying number: billion.

No one even *knows* what a billion is. Can you conceptualize one billion things? I don't know what a billion is. I can't even fathom it. Anyone who tells you they can is lying. All we know is that a billion is more than a million and less than a trillion.

So, for context, that $60,000,000,000 dollars that was mentioned was for the USA 2005 budget, which was about $2,400,000,000,000.* That's only 2.5% of the budget, and if you're a citizen of the US you'd better hope and pray that your country is spending at least 2% of the budget on intelligence in these times.

* See, you had to think about it for a second to figure out how big that number is. (In newsspeak, that's $2.4 TRILLLLLIIIIONNNN)

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