White House seeks boost in spy agency funding

The Wall Street Journal reports: The Obama administration requested $53.9 billion for its spy agencies in the year beginning Oct. 1, up sharply from its request of $45.6 billion last year.

The money would be used to fund operations spread across six federal departments, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

While the budget proposal is sharply higher than the request last year, it would reflect a more measured increase over actual spending on these programs. That is because Congress recently has appropriated more money for spy agencies than the White House has requested.

Spending levels for the current fiscal year haven’t been disclosed.

The spy agency budgets are approved in secret during congressional deliberations, and the White House and congressional leaders often have different views about necessary budget levels for different programs. Congress and the White House are locked in a fight now about the scope of surveillance programs, with some warning that intelligence agencies need more funding to combat terrorist threats and others warning that certain data collection practices have grown too large and lack scrutiny.

The White House provided scant additional information about the budget request and didn’t give a detailed descriptions about how the money will be spent. [Continue reading…]

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