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Ear to the Ground

More Than $11 Billion Spent Keeping Secrets Secret

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Posted on Jul 3, 2012
Malakh Kelevra (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The amount the U.S. government spent to keep classified information secret exceeded $11 billion in 2011—12 percent more than during the previous year.

The actual figure is probably much higher, as the estimate does not include classification costs from the CIA, NSA and four other intelligence agencies. Why? Because that information is classified.

Steven Aftergood, a senior researcher into government secrecy, says the classification of such a tremendous amount of information is unwarranted and a waste of taxpayer dollars. The government over-classifies to begin with, he writes, and there is no evidence that the release of the estimates of the secret-keeping expenses of all intelligence agencies would endanger national security, which is the government’s excuse for concealing that information.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly

Steven Aftergood at Secrecy News:

[O]ne is led to conclude that the classification of the intelligence agency classification cost estimates is not threat-driven, but instead is “culture”-based.  The disclosure of the estimates would not cause identifiable damage to national security, which means this information has been classified in violation of executive order 13526.

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