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US spying 'black budget' may top $52 billion: Washington Post

General Keith B. Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Commander of U.S. Cyber Command (L); John O. Brennan, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (C); and Robert S. Mueller III, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) (R).
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General Keith B. Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Commander of U.S. Cyber Command (L); John O. Brennan, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (C); and Robert S. Mueller III, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) (R).

U.S. national security agencies have built a multi-billion dollar web of intelligence-gathering tools since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks that exists far beyond public scrutiny, according to a report from the Washington Post.

Using documents obtained from fugitive contractor Edward Snowden, the Post report says American spy agencies are operating a $52.6 billion "black budget" that has never been seen by the public.

According to the newspaper, a 178-page intelligence budget summary "describes cutting-edge technologies, agent recruiting and ongoing operations." It details an array of benchmarks for the 16 agencies that comprise the U.S. intelligence community, the Post added.

According to the report, the C.I.A. has been the biggest beneficiary of intelligence spending, having requested $14.7 billion in requested funding for 2013. That amount "vastly exceeds outside estimates and is nearly 50 percent above that of the National Security Agency," the Post said. The N.S.A. is the primary agency responsible for eavesdropping operations.

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