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FAS press release
November 22, 1999

for contact:
Steven Aftergood, (202)675-1012
Kate Martin, Center for National Security Studies, (202)994-7060

Court Dismisses Suit Seeking Intelligence Budget Declassification

Reversing past trends towards greater openness, a federal judge has dismissed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking declassification of the 1999 intelligence budget total.

"This decision deprives the public of the most basic form of accountability," said Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, the plaintiff in the lawsuit. "It allows the CIA and Congress once again to spend taxpayer money in violation of the Constitutional requirement for budget disclosure."

Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution dictates that "a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time."

In response to a prior lawsuit, the intelligence budget total had previously been disclosed in 1997 ($26.6 billion) and in 1998 ($26.7 billion). No damage to national security resulted from past disclosures.

Indeed, as then-Director of Central Intelligence John Deutch testified in 1996, "the President is persuaded that disclosure of the annual amount appropriated for intelligence purposes will inform the public and not, in itself, harm intelligence activities."

The new court ruling, dated November 12 but only made public today, was issued by DC District Judge Thomas F. Hogan.

A copy of the ruling is posted at


The Federation of American Scientists was represented in this lawsuit by Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, tel. (202)994-7060. No decision has yet been reached on a possible appeal.

FAS | Government Secrecy | November 1999 News ||| Index | Search | Join FAS