Intelligence Community Budgets

Budgets for Fiscal Years 1996, 1997, and 1998

Materials presented in reverse chronological order.

Included here:

1. Fiscal Year 1998

2. Fiscal Year 1997

3. Fiscal Year 1996

1. Fiscal Year 1998

Aftergood, Steven. "CIA Discloses FY 1998 Intelligence Budget Total." Federation of American Scientists, 21 Mar. 1998.

The CIA announced on 20 March 1998 that the intelligence budget total for Fiscal Year 1998 is $26.7 billion. For text of DCI Tenet's statement, click HERE.

Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report. Editors. "Intelligence Authorization Gets Clinton Signature." 22 Nov. 1997, 2917.

Gruenwald, Juliana. "Bill to Fund Spy Agencies Wins Final Passage." Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 8 Nov. 1997, 2782.

The Senate and House cleared legislation authorizing fiscal 1998 funding for intelligence activities on 6 and 7 November, respectively. The legislation does not include a House provision that would have abolished the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO), which coordinates airborne reconnaissance among the services.

DCI George J. Tenet on 15 October 1997 ended years of secrecy by revealing that the amount spent on intelligence in fiscal 1997 was $26.6 billion.

Gruenwald, Juliana. "Whistleblower Provision Out as Conferees OK Funding." Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 20 Sep. 1997, 2241.

On 16 September 1997, House and Senate conferees agreed to fiscal 1998 authorizing legislation for intelligence activities. A whistleblower provision in the Senate version, which had prompted a veto threat from the White House, was dropped from the final version.

Gruenwald, Juliana. "Efforts to Reduce Spending Fail." Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 12 Jul. 1997, 1643.

On 9 July 1997 the House approved authorization legslation for intelligence activities for fiscal 1998. The legislation provides a 1.7 percent increase over the amount authorized for fiscal 1997 and is .7 percent above the President's request.

Periscope. Editors. "House Intelligence Committee Addressed 'Overabundance of Unmet Needs' in Intelligence Budget." 22, no. 3 (Jul. 1997): 1-2.

HPSCI filed its Fiscal Year 1998 Intelligence Authorization Act with the House on 18 June 1997. The five major themes addressed are: (1) Focus on shortfalls in intelligence; (2) heightened emphasis on "downstream" activities; (3) ensure clandestine HUMINT programs are equipped to fill intelligence gaps; (4) promote flexibility in the use of technology to meet intelligence needs; and (5) develop a more corporate and flexible community.

Other provisions include "a request for a report from the DCI to ensure that important resource allocation decisions within the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) re-engineering plan are not being made without fully taking into account 'customer' requirements."

Gruenwald, Juliana. "Senate Passes Spy Agency Bill With Little Dissent." Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 21 Jun. 1997, 1464.

The action took place on 19 June 1997. The only controversy on the Senate floor concerned an amendment offered by New Jersey Senator Torricelli, calling for disclosure of the intelligence spending total. The amendment was defeated.

Gruenwald, Juliana. "Spy Agency Authorization Bills Advance in House, Senate." Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 7 Jun. 1997, 1328.

The Senate and House intelligence committees on 4 June and 5 June, respectively, approved fiscal 1998 authorizing legislation for intelligence activities.

2. Fiscal Year 1997

On 15 October 1997, DCI George Tenet, in response to a Freedom of Information lawsuit by the Federation of American Scientists, released the figure for the aggregate budget appropriated for intelligence and intelligence-related activities for fiscal year 1997. That figure is $26.6 billion. Click for text of the DCI's statement.

New York Times. "[Editorial:] Prying Open the Spy Budget." 17 Oct. 1997, A18 (N).

The newspaper finds the bare release of the aggregate budget inadequate, and urges the release of a "breakdown of spending by agency and comparative information about earlier years." Clark comment: If the New York Times editorial writer truly believes that the intelligence budget equates to a "spy budget" (a designation reused in the text), then, the expertise available in the American print media has reached a new low.

Weiner, Tim. "For First Time, U.S. Discloses Spying Budget." New York Times, 16 Oct. 1997, A17 (N).

"[T]he Central Intelligence Agency disclosed [on 15 October 1997] how much money the United States spends annually for intelligence: $26.6 billion." In actuality, "the figure was one of the C.I.A.'s worst-kept secrets."

Richard, Daniel. "Congress Approves FY 97 Intelligence Authorization Bill." National Security Law Report 18, no. 6 (Oct. 1996): 8.

The conference report on the intelligence authorization (H.R. 3259) was passed by both the House and the Senate as the 104th Congress concluded. The report authorized 2.3 percent more than the President's budget request.

Doherty, Carroll J. "Hill Clears Modest Overhaul of Spy Organizations." Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 28 Sep. 1996, 2769.

On 25 September 1996, the House and Senate adopted the conference report on the Fiscal Year 1997 intelligence authorization bill. The legislation authorizes "a 2.3 percent increase in funding over President Clinton's budget and a 4.2 percent increase over fiscal 1996." The overall budget for intelligence activities "is believed to total about $30 billion a year."

Efforts by the chairmen of the intelligence committees -- Representative Larry Combest (R-TX) and Senator Arlen Spector (R-PA) -- to expand the power of the DCI were scaled back "in the face of intense opposition from the Pentagon and its congressional allies."

The bill establishes the new position of deputy director for community management, as well as three assistant directors to oversee collection, analysis, and administration; all of these new positions would require Senate confirmation. The Senate-passed provision requiring the President to make public the total amount spent annually on intelligence was dropped from the final bill.

Earlier reports on budget authorization and intelligence reform activities can be found in CQWR at pages 2681 (Senate passage), 2393 (Background), 2065 (House National Security Committee action), 1609 (Senate Armed Services Committee action), 1477 (House action), 1317 (HPSCI action), and 1181 (SSCI action).

Pincus, Walter. "Spy Chief's Grasp Reaches Other Pockets; Senate Panel Hands DCI Budget Power in Pentagon." Washington Post, 25 Apr. 1996, A29.

Pincus, Walter. "Clinton Approves Disclosure of Intelligence Budget Figure." Washington Post, 24 Apr. 1996, A19.

Shenon, Philip. "White House Seeks Release of Intelligence Budget Total." New York Times, 24 Apr. 1996, A9 (N).

Responding to the Brown Commission report, the White House announced on 23 April 1996 that it will ask Congress "to release an overall 'bottom line' figure for the budget of American intelligence agencies."


3. Fiscal Year 1996

Cassata, Donna. "Spy Budget Cleared for Clinton; Plan for New Agency Curbed." Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 23 Dec. 1995, 3894-3895.

On 21 December 1995, the House and the Senate passed the fiscal 1996 intelligence authorization bill. "The bill reportedly authorizes about $28 billion." Among other items, the bill "would prohibit the CIA and Defense Department from using fiscal 1996 funds and previous year dollars to create the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) until Congress has a chance to review and comment on the plan."

With regard to Speaker Gingrich's desire to create a fund to overthrow the Iranian government, the final version provides "$2 million for traditional covert activities in Iran and $18 million in a conditional fund. The administration ... would determine how to spend the latter amount."

In a compromise on the smallsat issue, DCI Deutch will be allowed to "appoint a special panel that will recommend how to proceed in acquiring small satellites."

The measure allows the FBI to "obtain a court order to gain access to consumer credit reports and find the names and addresses of the financial institutions where an individual [under counterintelligence investigation] had an account."

Cassata, Donna. "House Backs Increased Budget for CIA, Other Spy Activity." Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 16 Sep. 1995, 2824-2825.

On 13 September 1995, the House passed the fiscal 1996 intelligence authorization bill. House members noted that the bill "gives 5 percent more than last year for the bulk of intelligence activities.... Based on last year's widely reported total of $28 billion, the House-passed bill is close to $30 billion.... The legislation amounts to 1.3 percent more than President Clinton requested and would mark only the second time in eight years that intelligence spending has increased."

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