Price of Keeping US Secrets: $11B

...Or at least, that's the price that's not classified
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2012 9:44 AM CDT
Not everything labelled 'Top Secret' is terribly sensitive.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – It's not cheap keeping the vast number of secrets the US government does. These days, Uncle Sam spends a whopping $11 billion guarding classified info, twice what it spent a decade ago, the New York Times reports—and that's just the secrets it will tell us about. The total doesn't include any CIA or NSA spending because their budgets are, naturally, classified. The head of Information Security Oversight says that spending would boost the total by "less than 20%."

The figure is so high in part because of the explosion of security clearances in the wake of 9/11, which detractors said has led to reams of mundane-yet-classified information, and in part because of Cold War-era secrets that are still classified decades later—and which the government still goes to court to protect. "We are classifying far too much information," says one anti-secrecy advocate. "The credibility of the classification system is collapsing under the weight of bogus secrets."

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