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Leaked Documents Cast Doubts on Effectiveness of Spy Programs

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After all the hoopla about the secret surveillance programs conducted by the country's spy agencies comes a new revelation that it might be money poorly spent.

The Washington Post says information it received from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the secret budget of the intelligence community puts the annual dollar figure on programs to protect national security at $52 billion.

However, even with that exorbitant price tag, the Post says that the White House still doesn't get enough worthwhile information to keep Americans safe from attacks emanating from both inside and outside the nation's borders.

Among other things, the U.S. is still at a loss to figure out what exactly is going on in North Korea, which possesses nuclear arms that at the very least, threaten the entire Pacific region.

Other so-called "blind spots" include information about Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, China's warplanes and the Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Post says that it only published a small section of the 178-page budget after the government protested.

However, former CIA official Paul Pillar, now at the Brookings Institution, says the newspaper is still compromising national security by giving U.S. enemies a heads-up that can help them stave off future surveillance, particularly in the realm of potential cyber attacks.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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