The Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, informed the press today that the National Intelligence Program, the primary account used to fund intelligence activities (and Hamid Karzai's brother's activities?) was $49.5 billion for FY 2009.  Blair's required by law to disclose the number, which tells us... very little, actually, about spending across the intelligence community, except for the fact that we're spending a lot of money on intelligence. In 2008, the NIP budget hovered around $47.5 billion. In 1997, the figure for the comparable program was about $27 billion.

Excluded from the NIP are the Joint Military Intelligence Program and the Tactical Intelligence and Related Activities budget, as well as estimates of shared IT costs across the community and numerous intelligence-related functions of various government departments that don't fall under the DNI's purview.  In a conference call last month, Blair suggested that the three budgets combined to total $75 billion.

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