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CIA claims public disclosure of secret intelligence aid to Israel would harm U.S. "nation
by IRmep
Wednesday Nov 8th, 2017 5:22 AM
The CIA wants the US District Court for the District of Columbia to dismiss an IRmep lawsuit filed in 2015 that seeks disclosure of top-line budget numbers for secret U.S. intelligence aid to Israel. In a 29-page filing submitted on November 3, the agency argued that even acknowledging such aid exists would be "hindering the national security of the United States."
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IRmep estimates that secret U.S. aid funneled through the CIA could be as high as $1.9 billion to $13.2 billion per year. This estimate is derived from President Obama's 2015 statement that American military and intelligence assistance had reached "unprecedented levels." Since U.S. military and other aid since 1948 is publicly known, secret intelligence aid would have to be at least $1.9 billion for it to truly be "unprecedented."

The CIA argues that Obama's statement does not meet the threshold of "official acknowledgement that the CIA has intelligence budget line items supporting Israel." CIA further claims that it "specializes in human source intelligence," and if it acknowledged the existence of a budget, it would tip off enemies about its clandestine activities. The CIA claims that, because of this, it can issue a GLOMAR response (not confirming or denying such information exists) because it could be held by any one of 17 U.S. intelligence agencies.

IRmep has previously communicated to the court that all but two U.S. intelligence agencies deny having budget line-items for support to Israel. IRmep has also repeatedly made the case that classification or retention of such information to facilitate violating the law is explicitly forbidden under Executive Order 13526. In this case U.S. foreign aid to Israel, a state with a nuclear weapons program that has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is subject to restrictions under the Arms Export Control Act. IRmep's opposition brief is due on December 1.