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Tab for keeping secrets jumps 12% to $11.4 billion

Jul. 3, 2012 - 10:26AM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments
The $11.4 billion cited in the report released by the Information Security Oversight Office doesn't include spending by the CIA, the National Reconnaissance Office and four other agencies that do almost all of their work in secret. Their estimates are provided in a classified addendum to the public portion of the report.
The $11.4 billion cited in the report released by the Information Security Oversight Office doesn't include spending by the CIA, the National Reconnaissance Office and four other agencies that do almost all of their work in secret. Their estimates are provided in a classified addendum to the public portion of the report. (Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images)

You can argue about the effectiveness of the government’s information classification program, but there’s no disputing one point: Keeping secrets costs money — lots of it.

Last year, executive branch agencies shelled out an estimated $11.4 billion on classified information systems and other facets of the program, according to an annual report released last week by the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), a branch of the National Archives and Records Administration.

That’s up 12 percent — or $1.2 billion — from 2010, and more than double the figure from a decade ago.

The report doesn’t include spending by the CIA, the National Reconnaissance Office and four other agencies that do almost all of their work in secret. Their estimates are provided in a classified addendum to the public portion of the report. Overall, however, their spending adds “less than 20 percent” to the $11.4 billion total, ISOO Director John Fitzpatrick said in an email.

In the report, ISOO doesn’t speculate on possible reasons for the jump in spending. Among different facets included in the report’s total, spending on “protection and maintenance for classified information systems” shot up by 20 percent last year to $5.7 billion. The cost of physical security also ballooned by more than 20 percent to $1.7 billion.

Estimated agency spending on personnel security dropped by 10 percent to about $1.4 billion.

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