MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Has the Government Legalized Secret Defense Spending? – Rolling Stone

Posted by M. C. on January 21, 2019

“From this point forward,” he says, “the federal government will keep two sets of books, one modified book for the public and one true book that is hidden.”

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/secret-government-spending-779959/

 

..The only thing that did not make the news was an announcement by a little-known government body called the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board — FASAB — that essentially legalized secret national security spending. The new guidance, “SFFAS 56 – CLASSIFIED ACTIVITIES” permits government agencies to “modify” public financial statements and move expenditures from one line item to another. It also expressly allows federal agencies to refrain from telling taxpayers if and when public financial statements have been altered.

To Michigan State professor Mark Skidmore, who’s been studying discrepancies in defense expenditures for years, the new ruling ­— and the lack of public response to it — was a shock.

“From this point forward,” he says, “the federal government will keep two sets of books, one modified book for the public and one true book that is hidden.”

Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecywas one of the few people across the country to pay attention to the FASAB news release. He was alarmed.

“It diminishes the credibility of all public budget documents,” he says…

The FASAB ruling adds a new and confusing wrinkle to what little we know about levels of spending in the intelligence community. Officially, the fiscal year 2019 appropriation is $81.1 billion, which breaks down to $59.9 billion for the National Intelligence Program, along with $21.2 billion for the Military Intelligence Program.

This made a few headlines, as Trump’s “black budget” request was described as the largest in history. However, as Aftergood notes, even the high FY ‘19 numbers do not include spending for “classified DoD operations and procurement.” Add now the possibility of future “modifications,” and the real answer for how big a share of national spending belongs to the intelligence community is probably “God only knows.”

Given that the intelligence budget number the government admits to is already larger than the annual defense budgets of all but two countries on earth (our own and China’s), it seems natural to ask: what are we getting ourselves into?…

Be seeing you

nsa-spying-2

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One Response to “Has the Government Legalized Secret Defense Spending? – Rolling Stone”

  1. Matt said

    Legalize it……it’s always been legal up until it became public.

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