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Spy Central Slip-Up

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence was established in 2005 to coordinate the activities of 16 federal intelligence-gathering agencies. Their combined annual budget has remained classified since the Cold War, and until recently the total was estimated at around $45 billion. That turns out to be $15 billion short. We know this because—whoops!—the real figure slipped out when DNI recently co-hosted a four-day purchasing conference with the Defense Intelligence Agency in Keystone, Colo.

In one of the presentations, DNI procurement executive Terri Everett presented a PowerPoint slide show (excerpts below and on the following 11 pages) to illustrate the “trends” (pages 4, 5, and 7), “challenges” (page 10), and “solutions” (page 11) that “acquisition professionals” must recognize to achieve “mission success.” One slide (page 8) says that fully  70 percent of intelligence spending goes to private contractors.

The briefing was made public on DIA’s Web site, and on June 3, a writer named R.J. Hillhouse revealed on her blog, the Spy Who Billed Me, that a simple right click on one of the slides discloses enough information to calculate“that the total budget of the 16 US intelligence agencies … [is] $60 billion, almost 25% higher than previously believed.”Hillhouse discovered this classified information by opening the PowerPoint slide titled “Award Actions Trend Data” (page 12), right clicking her mouse over the chart titled “Award Dollars,” choosing “chart object,” and then left clicking “open” to see the hard figures Everett used to create the bar graph (reproduced on page nine).

After word of Hillhouse’s discovery got out, DNI pulled Everett’s slideshow off its Web site. Too late!  Steve Aftergood,atthe Federation of American Scientists, has posted the entire interactive PowerPoint program here so you can try the experiment yourself.

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