Reuters U.S. intelligence agencies got more money for technology
Saturday August 11, 9:04 AM
U.S. intelligence agencies got more money for technology
By Tabassum Zakaria
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S.
intelligence agencies were given more
money during the 1999-2000 Congress to improve their
technological standing, which has lagged behind the rapid
advances being made on that front, a congressional report said
A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee on its activities
during the last Congress provided some general hints about areas
in which funding was beefed up. The intelligence budget is
classified, but experts estimate that it has run about $30 billion a
Increased funds went to areas that needed technological
improvements, and one of the prime candidates for that was the
National Security Agency.
"Rebuilding the NSA is the committee's top priority," the report
The NSA eavesdrops on communications around the world,
using spy satellites, listening posts and other methods. Concerns
have been raised in recent years that the agency is in danger of
going "deaf" unless it revamps its technology to get around
sophisticated encryption and hard-to-tap fibre optics.
The committee "concluded that the crisis demanded immediate
attention and warranted shifting resources in order to stave off a
steady and inevitable degradation of the NSA's unique and
invaluable capabilities," the report said.
The committee was also closely monitoring efforts by the CIA's
Directorate of Operations to make better use of technological
innovations after a review in 1998 concluded that the spy
agency's clandestine unit was lagging in integrating technical
know-how to become more "technology-savvy."
DENIAL AND DECEPTION
The committee said it had become "deeply concerned" about an
increase in "foreign denial and deception efforts" directed against
U.S. intelligence efforts.
"Denial and deception" refers to efforts by a foreign country or
group that has become aware of U.S. methods of collecting
intelligence to take action to conceal or mislead in areas such as
military deployments, biological, nuclear or chemical weapons
development, and political intentions.
Intelligence experts have attributed the failure of U.S. intelligence
to detect India's nuclear test partly to Indian action to avoid
"The committee increased funding for activities to counter denial
and deception," the report said.
The committee saw measurement and signature intelligence --
which includes methods to detect such telltale signs as nuclear
radiation, seismic indicators and magnetic emissions -- as crucial
in the future.
A review conducted in 1999 for the committee found that
measurement and signature intelligence could potentially become
the "most valuable source of technical intelligence in the 21st
century," the report said.
The committee said it had allocated "a significant amount of
additional funds over the last two years to bolster MASINT
The report said a committee audit had examined a covert action
program, including its operations, financial obligations and
expenses, and future plans. "The audit found a well-managed
program," the report said, without giving details about the target.