Clinton Campaign Urges Publication of All Agency Budgets

Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has put forward an agenda to increase transparency in government that includes “publishing budgets for every government agency.”

This appears to be a roundabout way of endorsing disclosure of intelligence agency budgets, since the budgets of all other agencies are already published.

The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment or elaboration on the proposal.

Intelligence budget secrecy is perhaps the preeminent and most enduring example of overclassification, i.e. classification that is not justified by a valid national security concern.

A proposal to declassify the aggregate figure for the National Intelligence Program, comprised of over a dozen individual agency intelligence budgets, is pending in the Senate version of the FY 2008 Intelligence Authorization Act (S. 1538 [pdf]).

The 9/11 Commission went further and said “the overall amounts of money being appropriated for national intelligence and to its component agencies should no longer be kept secret.” (Final Report, p. 416).

The Clinton campaign appears to have adopted this bipartisan Commission recommendation for release of component agency budget information. The Bush Administration opposes any disclosure (pdf) of any intelligence budget data, even the aggregate figure.

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