(NEWSER– The US has budgeted $52.6 billion on its intelligence operations this year, according to classified documents Edward Snowden leaked to the Washington Post. Yet those operations are, by their own assessment, doing a less-than-spectacular job on a host of critical intelligence questions. Here are some highlights of the Post's analysis of the so-called "black budget."

  • If you add in another $23 billion devoted to military intelligence programs, the US now spends more on intelligence than it is estimated to have spent at the height of the Cold War.
  • The CIA has surged past the NSA to become the priciest agency, requesting $14.7 billion in 2013 compared to the NSA's 10.8 billion. That's in part because the CIA has reinvented itself since 9/11 into a paramilitary organization. Of the $4.9 billion spy agencies spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, half came from the CIA.

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