1949 June 20

Congress Explicitly Grants Secrecy to the CIA


The 1949 Central Intelligence Act, passed two years after the creation of the agency, explicitly granted the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) unprecedented exemption from federal laws on appropriations and expenditures.

Because federal expenditures are explicitly required to be public matters, the constitutionality of the law was challenged by a taxpayer in United States v. Richardson. The Supreme Court rejected the challenge on June 25, 1974.

Read the key provisions of this extraordinary law:
“(b) The sums made available to the Agency may be expended without regard to the provisions of law and regulations relating to the expenditure of Government funds; and for objects of a confidential, extraordinary, or emergency nature, such expenditures to be accounted for solely on the certificate of the Director and every such certificate shall be deemed a sufficient voucher for the amount therein certified.”

But see what Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution says:
“No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”

Read about the history of the CIA: Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (2007)

Learn more: Hugh Wilford, The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America (2008)

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!