Federal spending for security classification reached $11 billion last year, nearly a $2 billion increase from the previous year and double the amount from a decade ago, according to the annual report from the National Archives and Records Administration’s Information Security Oversight Office.
The yearly spending increase is due to the inclusion of $1.87 billion for classification costs, which was not included in previous spending totals, the report stated. This total does not include security spending by the CIA, NSA and other spy agencies. If these expenditures were included, they would amount to “less than 20 percent” of the spending total said John P. Fitzpatrick, head of the Information Security Oversight Office, which could bring the real total to $13 billion, reported the New York Times.
The biggest spending increases for security classification was for security declassification (105%), operational security and technical surveillance countermeasures, (42%), professional education and training (37%), physical security (36%) and security management oversight and planning (26%), according to the Federal Times.
The most money — $4.4 billion — was spent on protection and maintenance of classified information systems, followed by $2.3 billion for physical security, and then security management, oversight and planning, which accounted for nearly $2.2 billion, the report stated.
The doubling of security spending over the past decade is due to counterterrorism programs that grew after the 2001 terrorist attacks and the continuing protection of cold war secrets.
Yet some say the sheer amount of secrets being classified and the costs associated with classifying them, are excessive and sometimes unnecessary.
“To me it illustrates the most important problem — namely that we are classifying far too much information,” said Steven Aftergood from the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists, in the New York Times. “The credibility of the classification system is collapsing under the weight of bogus secrets.”
President Barack Obama signed the Reducing Over-Classification Act in 2010 that had a September 2013 deadline for spy agencies’ inspectors general to review the classification system for documents. The CIA, NSA and DIA met the deadline but the information was not revealed, reported the Huffington Post.