Last week U.S. News and World Report reported that a senior CIA official, Mary Margaret Graham, a 27-year agency veteran, had revealed the U.S. intelligence budget at an intelligence conference in San Antonio. This is the first time since 1998 that the administration has made public the amount of money spent on America's spy agencies.
At that time, then-CIA director George Tenet said the budget was $26.7 billion. Since then, despite court cases filed to find out the intelligence budget, the figure has been kept secret. Richard Kogan, a senior fellow specializing in federal budget issues with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit budget policy think tank based in Washington, D.C., offered some other budget figures for comparison.
U.S. Federal Budget 2005
• Defense: $493 billion
• Social Security: $518.5 billion
• Medicare: $332.5 billion
•Education: $74 billion (includes elementary through college funding plus funding for national resources such as The Smithsonian and The Institute for Humanities and Arts.)
• Intelligence (most comes out of the defense budget): $44 billion
• Food Stamps: $32.5 billion
• Foreign Aid: $22 billion
• Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF): $17.5 billion
• Foster Care: less than $5 billion a year, which includes the $1.8 billion in federally funded benefits for foster families.