Tuesday, November 08, 2005

NYT: "Official Reveals Budget for U.S. Intelligence" (Scott Shane)

In an apparent slip, a top American intelligence official has revealed at a public conference what has long been secret: the amount of money the United States spends on its spy agencies.
At an intelligence conference in San Antonio last week, Mary Margaret Graham, a 27-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency and now the deputy director of national intelligence for collection, said the annual intelligence budget was $44 billion.
The number was reported Monday in U.S. News and World Report, whose national security reporter, Kevin Whitelaw, was among the hundreds of people in attendance during Ms. Graham's talk.

[. . .]
The debate over whether the intelligence budget should be secret dates to at least the 1970's, said Loch K. Johnson, an intelligence historian who worked for the Church Committee investigation of the intelligence agencies by the Senate in the mid-1970's. Mr. Johnson said the real reason for secrecy might have less to do with protecting intelligence sources and methods than with protecting the bureaucracy.
"Maybe there's a fear that if the American people knew what was being spent on intelligence, they'd be even more upset at intelligence failures," Mr. Johnson said.

The above is from Scott Shane's "Official Reveals Budget for U.S. Intelligence" in this morning's New York Times and Eli asked that it be the spotlight story considering the historical struggle to attempt to get information on the spending total.

Lloyd e-mails to note Ruth Conniff's "Maureen Dowd's Personal Ad" (Ruth Conniff's Weekly Column, The Progressive):

It was cringe-inducing to see Maureen Dowd's picture in The New York Times Sunday magazine last week, posing in fishnets and red shoes, vamping for the camera in a photo that illustrated her first-person piece on being successful, single, and still looking for a man. Why does she do it? Dowd is so talented, so funny, sharp, and entertaining--and yet so embarrassingly catty and, well, girlie at times. I don't mean that as an insult to girls. A woman in her mid-fifties who flaunts a kind of teenaged narcissism is not a graceful sight.
Still, Dowd is onto something in her piece on the postfeminist world. (Though she borrows much of her critique of the backlash straight from a far less conflicted feminist, fellow Pulitzer Prize-winner Susan Faludi). I shared her exasperation at The New York Times report on female Ivy League students who plan to marry and stay home after their overachieving college days are done. There's nothing wrong with the sentiment expressed by one Yale student that it's hard to do a great job simultaneously as a mother and in a high-powered career. But the solution, as Dowd rightly points out, is not dependency on a wealthy husband. Though Dowd doesn't say so, it's clear the only fix is social change.
Dowd's big beef is that the older and more successful women are, the less likely they are to find mates, while the exact reverse situation holds for men. Her solution, apparently, is to take out the world's biggest personal ad. I wish her luck. Maybe it will work.

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