Government funding of secret projects

How do they show up on appropriations bills in Congress?

“10 billion goes to unmentioned purposes within the CIA?”

As I recall, some classified projects are approved or denied by special subcommitees of elected officials. From the Senate, I think. Of course, I could be wrong.

Another funding tactic that I’ve heard about is just to “pad” the budgets of other projects or departments, and later divert those funds to the “black” projects.

The CIA needs money to operate, so I think they just get an overall budget. Secret, or black, projects usually refer to research, development, and production of military things that we don’t want our potential enemies to know about. Sometimes there are mysterious line items. For example, about the time the military was retiring the SR-71 spy plane, there was all kinds of conjecture that they must have something else up their collective sleeve, because satellites aren’t flexible enough. There were rumors of a super-fast new spy plane being developed. Then in the budget, there was a line item identified only as “Aurora,” so in the popular mind the term Aurora started referring to this strange new aircraft.

Ranchoth and CurtC are both on the right track.

Some classified items are listed in the committee/conference reports to appropriations bills simply as, say, “Classified program: $17 million” or whatever.

Unfortunately, I can’t find an appropriations bill online that can be linked to give a real example – but if you go here and look up report 107-213, go to the PDF of the Senate report, and check out the table on page 43, first item under “undistrubted.” Voila.

Other times, the items described in particular accounts in an appropriations bill – such as personnel, operations & maintenence, RDT&E, etc. simply do not add up – the intelligence community gets the difference.

There are also classified annexes to the yearly defense appropriations and the intelligence authorization bills that go into detail about what programs are to be funded in the black budget.

Classified budgets are not dealt with by one committee, but several: the House and Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittees, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.