With an annual budget of more than $52 billion, most of which is impossible to track for value or benefit, the United States’ spy apparatus will keep an eye on the world while some Americans are left to fight for food. In the wake of the SNAP Program being gutted through sequestration cuts, somebody has to start examining America’s priorities.

With no more than a cursory observation, its clearly apparent who the real takers are, and it ain’t anybody receiving SNAP benefits. In fact, the biggest takers turns out to be the National Security Industry. And the biggest takers among that industry is the following:

First we have the CIA. It collects, analyze, evaluates and disseminate foreign intelligence, while conducting covert operations. The tab for this service is reportedly $14.7 billion this year.

Next is the NSA. They’re said to protect the government’s information systems and intercept foreign signals intelligence information. The cost of the maintaining these nosey bastards is $10.8 billion.

Next, we have the lesser known National Reconnaissance Office. This crew is said to be responsible for designing, building, and operating the nation’s signals and imagery reconnaissance satellites. The cost to the taxpayers to keep these eyes in the skies is a whopping $10.3 billion this year.

Next we have the National Geospatial-Intelligence Program. These patriots supposedly generate and provide imagery and map-based intelligence, which is used for national security, U.S. military operations, navigation and humanitarian aid efforts. Somehow they’re able to get along on a mere $4.9 billion.

And finally, the last of America’s top five big spy spenders is the General defense Intelligence Program. These folks reportedly provide assessments of foreign military intentions and capabilities to policy makers and military commanders. They also conduct human and technical intelligence collection, document and media management. With such wide and ever expanding responsibilities, its amazing how this program can manage on chump change like a meager $4.3 billion this year.

BTW, the source for all this wonderful data is the FY2013 Congressional Budget Justification Book, Intelligence.gov, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Keep in mind as generous as these reported budgets appear, its a good bet the real tab is a lot higher.

Additionally and perhaps more importantly, no one really knows if the funds mentioned above are really used for the stated purposes or not. Those details remain classified and top secret. If we are to believe the President Obama, even he remains in the dark about such matters.
SNAP Versus The NSA
There are approximately 107,035 “patriotic Americans” employed within the U.S. Intelligence community, give or take a few potential whistleblowers yet to be scratched off the list. And its tough job for so few to monitor so many. But after glancing at the “reported” budgets allocated for national security and comparing it to what’s actually being protected, one can conclude the nation’s priorities are askew.

Bottom line: Concerned thinkers feel its time to justify the cost of securing a nation that can’t afford to feed, educate or provide basic health and human services for its citizens. SNAP can barely survive but the NSA thrives. Just something to think about.