USA spends $80 billion year on secret information gathering


Now we know Obama uses most of this to spy on fellow citizens.
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The US spends at least $80bn a year on intelligence alone, which is more than the defence budgets of all but a handful of countries.

Every day, 854,000 US civil servants, military personnel and private contractors are scanned into high-security government offices to do intelligence work, according to the Washington Post’s 2011 “Top Secret America” report. Up to 55,000 of these work for the National Security Agency, the vast eavesdropping centre that collects “metadata” on billions of US domestic telephone calls. Most are data analysts. Distributed across an archipelago of high security federal buildings in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC, they toil anonymously in might be labelled America’s data-intelligence complex. The tools and abilities are exponentially different to anything that Eisenhower could have imagined. In his day spies would tap individual phones.

Today algorithmic search engines can sift through billions of phone recordsa minute. Yet the concerns Eisenhower raised in 1961 are just as relevant today. “We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex,” he said. “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”



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