Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Spying Budget Secrets: #NSA Bloat In Pentagon Spending
More $$ for NSA contractors, sequester for the rest of us is the message emanating from our captive government. "Defense" and "security" spending ballooned after the events of 9/11 crashed into the national consciousness, and much of what continues to be funded by U.S. taxpayers is allegedly too secret to even talk about.
The budget we can see allocated 57% of federal discretionary spending to the Pentagon last year, and proposes to do so again in fiscal year 2014. The $598+ billion the House has already authorized for the coming year exceeded the sequester limit and included billions for the NSA (the precise figure is too secret to tell you, but experts estimate it's at least $10 billion per annum).
How does the NSA spend that money to keep us all safer? Edmund Snowden via the Guardian and Wikileaks pulled back the curtain to reveal that the man hiding there was collecting all our emails, all our cell phone calls, and much of our other online activity, then storing it for future searching. Without probable cause, without oversight, and while claiming that 100% of such communications are "relevant" to protecting the U.S. from acts of terrorism.
But not to worry. Forced into some kind of response by the outcry over dragnet surveillance of all citizens and indeed everyone on the planet who is online, the President announced an oversight committee. To be headed by an industry insider from leading security contractor Booz Allen Hamilton! More on them in a minute.
The government is so angry at Snowden for exposing these vastly disturbing secrets that it threatened him and anyone who helped him with all kinds of dire consequences.
So I'm taking my life in my hands by revealing some related secrets about where taxes actually go after the government snatches them from a worker's paycheck. Just for reference, that's where 80% of U.S. tax revenues come from. Certainly not from the mega corporations who employ tax experts and lawyers to make sure they pay nothing, even in years with record profits.
A great deal of the Pentagon portion of national security is contracted out. The poster child for this practice would have to be Snowden's former employer, Booz Allen Hamilton.
Here's an illuminating Business Week infographic on how much in public funds Booz has been guzzling in the decade since 9/11.
What else would $5,742,000,000 buy? More than 800,000 low-income preschoolers could attend Head Start for a year. More than 2.5 million homes could be outfitted with solar powered electricity. And so on.
A budget is a moral document. And the U.S. is going to hell in a handbasket.