Gates sought secrecy in budget process

Feb. 26, 2009 at 9:33 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates sought secrecy pledges from top military leaders to prevent leaks about specifics in the defense budget, an aide said.

During a recent senior leadership meeting, Gates asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other top military commanders and civilians to sign agreements not to disclose information about the spending plan for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 that is projected to top $500 billion, Politico reported Thursday.

At the time, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the budget document was highly sensitive and goes to "the heart of our national security."

The spokesman said Gates wanted the budget-developing process to be disciplined and open and that having people sign secrecy pledges helped to "create a climate in which you can create a better product," the Washington publication said.

U.S. President Barack Obama's outline of his budget proposal for fiscal year 2010 Thursday won't offer clues about which defense programs would be cut, Morrell said.

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