Spy agencies in the United States have failed to provide critical information on national security threats, despite their dramatic expansion since the 9/11 terror attacks.
The disturbing conclusions are contained in a 178-page budget summary for the National Intelligence Program, which encompasses 16 spy agencies, for fiscal 2013.
It was obtained by The Washington Post
from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, the American fugitive who has been leaking classified secrets about U.S. surveillance efforts.
Highlights in the so-called "black budget" summary include the assertion that the governments of Iran, China and Russia are difficult to penetrate. North Korea is the toughest, with "critical" gaps in intelligence about its nuclear and missile programs.
In addition, analysts know almost nothing about the intentions of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the summary says.
Throughout the document, the Post reports, U.S. spy agencies acknowledge they do not have answers to all of their concerns surrounding counterterrorism efforts.
Among the blind spots in counterterrorism are those concerning Israel's bitter enemy,
Hezbollah, in neighboring Lebanon.
Also of concern is the security of Pakistan's nuclear components during their transportation and the capabilities of China's newest fighter jets.
And exactly how Russia's government leaders may respond "to potentially destabilizing events in Moscow, such as large protests and terrorist attacks," is also of concern, the report says.
In addition, The Post reports, U.S. intelligence is daunted by the growth of "home grown" terrorists who plan attacks in the U.S. on their own.
The budget summary reveals that CIA spending has surged past every other spy agency, with $14.7 billion in requested funding for 2013.
That figure is nearly 50 percent above that of the National Security Agency.
The summary also states that the NSA planned to probe at least 4,000 possible insider threats in 2013. In those cases, the agency suspected sensitive information may have been compromised by one of its own employees.
For 2013, the 16 agencies were projected to spend $4.9 billion on "overseas contingency operations." The NSA was set to spend $48.6 million on research projects to help "coping with information overload," the report says.
In an introduction to the summary, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said the threats that face the U.S. "virtually defy rank-ordering."
He also warned of "hard choices" as the intelligence community seeks to control spending.
"Never before has the IC been called upon to master such complexity and so many issues in such a resource-constrained environment," Clapper says.
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