CIA: The Truth Is Out There

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WASHINGTON: What price intelligence? The answer: $26.6 billion in taxpayers’ money.

Some Americans might consider it cheap at twice the price; others will be appalled by the expense. But whatever the reaction, the truth is now out there — and the CIA is no longer allowed to keep its budget a secret.

Suffering, perhaps, an embarrassment of riches, the agency had, for the last 18 months, been bitterly fighting a Freedom of Information lawsuit brought by the Federation of American Scientists. But it relented late Wednesday, and released its spending figures for the last fiscal year — ending 50 years of secrecy in what Gore Vidal has called "the National Security state."

It turns out the Agency is spending about $6 billion a year less than it did at the height of the Reagan era, but $12 billion more than during the Iranian hostage crisis of 1980. Sen. Bob Kerrey, second banana on the Intelligence Committee, says that whatever happens, at least the CIA will be held accountable for its post-Cold War spending. Now that's using your intelligence.