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)