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Price tag on govt secrecy: up 12 percent to $11.4B

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – The price tag for safeguarding government secrets rose by 12 percent in 2011 to a record $11.4 billion.

The year-to-year estimate covers 41 executive branch agencies, but it excludes money spent by the CIA and five other intelligence agencies, where the amounts of money used to protect secrets are substantial but classified.

In a report to President Barack Obama, the Information Security Oversight Office said the amount spent on protecting secrets has grown more than four-fold since 1995, when it stood at $2.7 billion. A decade ago, the amount spent was $5.7 billion, half of last year’s figure.

The oversight office provided no explanation for the substantial increase in costs.

Last year, nearly half the money the government spent to keep its secrets secret went for protecting computerized classified information systems. Some $1.7 billion went for physical security at facilities holding classified information. Another $1.4 billion went for personnel security to determine whether government workers and contractors should be given access to classified information.

Defense contractors and other companies in the private sector spend a much smaller amount on protecting government secrets _ $1.3 billion last year, a 1 percent increase from 2010. The oversight office says the figure has remained largely stable since 2006.

Besides the CIA, the agencies that do not disclose the money spent on secrecy are the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Security Agency.

The estimates for government are for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The estimates for the private sector are for the most recently completed fiscal year.

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