A group of lawmakers have asked President Obama to go into greater detail about the billions in federal spending going to more than a dozen intelligence organizations, something that's been referred to as the "black budget." Details of that budget were leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Washington Post last August. That caught the attention of 62 members of Congress, who are asking Obama to disclose the total amount of money those 16 different intelligence agencies requested in the 2015 fiscal year budget, which is expected to be unveiled next month.
Just the top line, not the nitty gritty
"We believe the top line number for each agency should be made public, with no risk to national security, for comparative purposes across all federal government agencies," the letter, which was drafted by Peter Welch (D-VT) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) says. "Congress and the American people will be better served by knowing this basic information."
A nearly identical version of the request was drafted by Welch last month alongside a bill called "The Intelligence Budget Transparency Act" that would require disclosing that information to the public.
The Post's report last year showed that budgets for the CIA and NSA increased by more than 50 percent since 2004. That information has not historically been detailed in annual budgets for security reasons, though was broken down into interactive charts and infographics following last year's leak. Those same numbers told a story of just what the money was being spent on across all the intelligence agencies, something even this request and its bill would not unveil.