$11.37 billion in taxes go to keeping Americans ignorant

When people think of American spies and classified documents, they flashback to the Cold War and the information warfare between the US and the USSR. The government had many secrets back then however, the current administration is now spending more tax dollars than every to secure classified information as well as increasing the amount of classified information at an unprecedented rate. The Asia Times reports on this startling trend:

A government outfit few of us knew existed, the Information Security Oversight Office or ISOO, just released its “Report on Cost Estimates for Security Classification Activities for Fiscal Year 2011” (no price tag given, however, on producing the report or maintaining ISOO). Unclassified portions, written in classic bureaucratese, offer this precise figure for protecting our secrets, vetting our secrets’ protectors (no leakers please), and ensuring the safety of the whole shebang: US$11.37 billion in 2011.

That’s up (and get used to the word “up”) by 12% from 2010, and double the 2002 figure of $5.8 billion. For those willing to step back into what once seemed like a highly classified past but was clearly an age of innocence, it’s more than quadruple the 1995 figure of $2.7 billion.

The official figure for documents classified by the US government last year is – hold your hats on this one – 92,064,862. And as WikiLeaks managed to release hundreds of thousands of them online a couple of years ago, that’s meant a bonanza of even more money for yet more rigorous protection.

You have to feel at least some dollop of pity for protection bureaucrats like Fitzgerald. While back in 1995 the US government classified a mere 5,685,462 documents – in those days, we were practically a secret-less nation – today, of those 92 million sequestered documents, 26,058,678 were given a “top secret” classification. There are today almost five times as many “top secret” documents as total classified documents back then.

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