The US government spent $43.5 billion on intelligence in 2007, according to a rare disclosure of a figure long kept under tight wrap.
Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell released the newly declassified figure Tuesday. In a statement, the DNI said there would be no additional disclosures of classified budget information beyond the overall spending figure because "such disclosures could harm national security."
The intelligence agencies have fought multiple legal attempts to disclose spending for the 16 intelligence agencies, including the CIA, the Defense Department, the Treasury Department and the Homeland Security Department, among others. They have argued that adversaries can divine secrets about intelligence activities if they can track budget fluctuations year to year.
According to a law signed by President George W. Bush in August, overall intelligence spending must be disclosed 30 days after the close of the fiscal year, which ended September 30. The government must also disclose the figure for 2008. Beginning in 2009, the president may waive the disclosure requirement if he can make the case to Congress it would harm national security.