The Budget's Hidden Horrors

How Congress tucked special goodies into its Christmas pie

Congressman Charles Wilson, a tall Texas Democrat with a signature swagger, carried a grudge against the Defense Intelligence Agency. In Pakistan in 1986, the agency had refused to fly Wilson's companion, a former Miss U.S.A.-World, to a town near the Afghan border where the Congressman was to inspect the progress of the guerrilla war. Just before Christmas, Wilson took revenge. An influential member of a Defense Appropriations subcommittee, he tucked a provision into a spending bill that stripped DIA of two planes, and he eliminated the agency's exemption from Pentagon staff cuts.

Wilson's sleight of hand escaped the notice of most...

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