From Walter Pincus at the WaPo:
The director of national intelligence will disclose today that national intelligence activities amounting to roughly 80 percent of all U.S. intelligence spending for the year cost more than $40 billion, according to sources on Capitol Hill and inside the administration.That's up from $26.7 billion in '98 and $44 billion in 2005.
The disclosure means that when military spending is added, aggregate U.S. intelligence spending for fiscal 2007 exceeded $50 billion, according to these sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the total remains classified.
Some perspective: it's more than every other nation except three (China, Russia and the UK) spend on their entire defense budgets. It's ten times Iran's entire defense budget. It's as much as the US government spent on all its science, energy and environmental programs in 2006.
But the vast US intel apparatus, satellites and all, apparently cannot tell us exactly what Israel bombed in Syria; cannot find Osama bin Laden even though UK intelligence has provided his phone number in Quetta, Pakistan; cannot produce a single piece of hard evidence for Iran having a nuclear weapon's program.
But apparently it's great for ensuring that cabinet ministers of an allied government are hassled for the crime of "travelling while Muslim"; for spying on citizens without warrants but with telecom company complicity; for classifying everything down to and including Bush's presidential archives and Cheney's hair dye brand.