Amidst all of the chatter over the National Security Agency, you have to wonder if, maybe, the CIA feels like a neglected sibling, forgotten as everybody focuses on a naughty brother or sister. A neglected sibling, that is, who helps himself to the cookie jar while attention is turned elsewhere, and then renditions a few unlucky bastards to Shitholistan.
Well, we are talking about the CIA.
From Voice of America:
A newly leaked document from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden shows the increasing role that the country's Central Intelligence Agency plays in American spy operations.
The document disclosed Thursday by The Washington Post reveals that the government has a $52.6 billion "black budget" for spying, covert military actions and intelligence gathering for the year ending in September. More than a quarter of that goes to the CIA, surpassing spending for any of the other 15 U.S. spy agencies, including the National Security Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office.
A national security expert at the Federation of American Scientists, Steven Aftergood, told VOA that the role of the CIA has expanded in the 12 years since al-Qaida's September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the U.S. from intelligence gathering to clandestine battlefield attacks. As a result, he said, the CIA is claiming a bigger share of the U.S. intelligence budget, up perhaps from about 10 percent in the 1990s.
It's not necessary to totally oppose intelligence gathering to be somewhat wary of the CIA. Good intelligence has the potential to head off tragedy before it happens, and perhaps to make bloody military action unnecessary. But, like the NSA, the CIA has a tradition of sliding over into domestic surveillance. It also has a recent history, documented by the International Committee of the Red Cross (PDF), of engaging in "torture and/or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of detainees. A military judge, rather controversially, imposed a gag order on the detainees who suffered this treatment, to prevent them from disclosing those rather inconvenient (to the U.S. government) personal experiences during their trials.
A quarter of the $52.6 billion intelligence "black budget" can buy a lot of bamboo splinters.
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