Deep within the budget documents prepared from the Pentagon's comptroller, there exists a single page devoted to an agency that, by all accounts, is no longer supposed to exist. Check out page 87 of the Research, Development, Test and Evaluation budget worksheet. The Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) is marked as having a line item in the FY 2011 budget. The amount of money itself is classified and not printed.

CIFA stood up during the Bush Administration. It was tasked with providing counterintelligence support to the entire Pentagon. Its activities included domestic intelligence collection on perceived threats to U.S. bases and military interests. It ran into trouble when overzealous collectors began to fill databases with reports on political protests. That's bad. Whistleblowers and lawsuits revealed that users of CIFA's Threat and Local Observation Notice system was stepping beyond the guidelines that were supposed to govern its use. After an investigation, CIFA was officially disbanded in 2008, and the Defense Intelligence Agency was given formal control of the Pentagon's main counterintelligence vehicle. Today, the DIA's Defense Counterintelligence and Humint Center provides the same services that CIFA does, albeit with -- one assumes -- more checks and balances. CIFA itself is not supposed to exist.  But for whatever reason, it still has a line item in the budget.


I've asked a Pentagon spokesperson for some help here.  My one guess is that it exists as an artifact of the FY 2009 budget; that is, anything that was funded from 2008 onwards has to be included in the document, even if the current budget is zero.

Update: DIA spokesman Don Black explains: " CIFA was disestablished in August 2008 and the functions merged into a new organization within DIA, the Defense Counterintelligence
and Human Intelligence Center (DCHC).  The line item you reference in the budget actually has nothing but zeros associated with it.  As you may know, programs that had been funded in previous years continue as line items in future budgets, even if they have no funds associated with them."

The budget documents can be sleep-inducing, but if you know how to read them, you can find quite a few interesting items.

Did you know that the classified  research and development budget for the Special Operations Command exceeds $4 billion?

Secret programs are also included in the budget. This being the Pentagon, nothing is simple.

There are a class of "acknowledged" programs requiring special security controls. These are called "Acknowledged SAPs" or "White SAPs," with white being a color that denotes "public."  Their nicknames are unclassified. A little Googling can tease out these programs. Remember, these are the LEAST sensitive classified programs.

--COBRA JUDY is an advanced Navy radar system costing about $36,000,000 this next budget year. Google it.
-- LINK EVERGREEN -- a classified Navy research program costing $150,000,000 over two years.  I have no idea what this is.
-- CHALK EAGLE -- A Navy surface warfare classified program, $447,000,000. Google it, too.
-- RETRACT MAPLE and RETRACT ELM -- these are classified aviation programs that have been steadily and openly funded for years. Google them.
-- TRACTOR CAGE -- The word "TRACTOR" is associated with classified army strategic programs, including missile defense.
-- In the Army budget, something called "SLAMRAMM" looks like it's a classified program, but it's actually not -- it's a short-range air defense weapon that has a weird acronym.

Then there are amorphous line items for things like "special processes," which could mean anything. The Navy wants than $36,000,000 for such processes in FY 2011. The Army says it's spending $4 million (just $4 million?) for "classified" research, tech and development programs. But that's too low. The department tends to spread a lot of classified programs under the broad umbrella of "advanced technology development." There are also separate items for "missile defense technology" and "advanced missile defense technology." Also: "missile and rocket advanced technology."

Many other secret programs are hidden in these innocuous line items. Their nicknames are classified, so they're not listed in any document released to the public. They're called "black SAPs" -- meaning that their very existence is classified. Only members of Congress can see the full breakdown. The public gets glimpses. (There are even MORE highly classified SAPs, and these don't appear in any documents, ever.)

The Pentagon wants $167,000,000 for "classified DARPA programs." In 2009, the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy asked for $90,000,000 to fund a classified program.

There is zero funding for the program in 2011.   Intelligence support for information operations -- this is probably where the Human Terrain Terms are funded from -- costs $21,000,000; other non-DARPA, non-department-specific classified research programs cost $67,000,000.

Rule of thumb: the duller a name sounds, the more important it is. The biggest example: one of the most sensitive entities in the entire government during the Bush Administration was the National Programs Office, which ran the entire classified continuity of government operation -- a dozen or more 24/7 classified relocation centers for top officials, as well as the mechanisms used to transport officials there during an emergency, as well as classified programs designed to seal off critical domestic national security infrastructure during an emergency.  The NPO's offices in Crystal City, Virginia are now occupied by another tenant. Most of its activities have been transferred to FEMA.

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