That's Some FBI Budget Request!
By Lee Russ
Thursday, April 03, 2008 at 07:24 PM
Did you catch the amount that the FBI has reuested in its budget for fiscal 2009? That info was kind of buried in news reports about how the House Appropriations Committee was tough on Director Mueller in the hearings earlier this week.The FBI has requested $7.1 billion dollars. Read it again--$7.1 billion. That $7.1 billion is a mere 417% of the FBI's 1990 budget. It also works out to $23.67 for every one of the US's 300,000,000 citizens. If you restrict the analysis to adults of working age, it's obviously much worse. If you assume 130,000,000 in the workforce, the $7.1 billion is $54.62 for every working American.
And it is many, many times the amount employed for the program giving the elderly poor in the poorest parts of America a box of groceries every so often, a program that the Bush admin keeps trying to cut. Even the amount of the increase over last year's appropriation, some $455 million, is many times more than the annual amount required for the poverty program.
It's all just a question of priorities, I guess. The food for the neediest elderly just keeps a few hundred thousand people better fed and more healthy. The $7.1 billion for the FBI gives that agency plenty of resources to keep listening in on, and watching over, anybody who doesn't toe the official line about Iraq, terrorism, and God knows what else. In fact, according to Government Executive magazine:
House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wisc., wagged a finger at FBI Director Robert Mueller Tuesday, expressing concern with "numerous occasions on which money has been wasted and authority has been abused" at the agency, whose budget has been doubled by the panel since 2001.So what do you think: Does the FBI need more money in part because it needs to keep devoting resources to prevent its own running amok, or are its efforts at minimizing the amok going to result in the need for less money?
He singled out the recent controversy over the FBI's improper use of national security letters as a prime example. Those administrative subpoenas, which allow agents to analyze telephone, computer and bank records without warrants, have been the subject of two Justice Department inspector general investigations and hearings in the House and Senate.
Mueller said he was very aware of congressional concerns about the abuses and said internal mechanisms are in place "to minimize the chance of future lapses." Inspector General Glenn Fine's most recent report, which was released last month, cited progress on the matter over the past year. Mueller told the House Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee during his testimony on the FBI's fiscal 2009 budget request that "we're on track to make sure this does not happen again."
Hey, hey, hey, now wait a second, Lee! You know damned well that running a police state takes some operating cash, right?