A new government advisory committee on access to classified information by state, local and other non-federal bodies will hold its first meeting in Washington tomorrow. The State, Local, Tribal, and Private (SLTP) Sector Policy Advisory Committee “will advise the President, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office, and other executive branch officials on all matters concerning the policies relating to access to and safeguarding of classified national security information by U.S. State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector Entities.” The Committee will meet January 11 at the National Archives.
One excellent way to improve access to classified information, of course, is to declassify it. An outfit called the “Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group (ITACG) Detail” is responsible for finding classified intelligence information that could usefully be shared with state and local officials in unclassified form.
“A critical function of the Detail is to identify intelligence products which should be downgraded in classification for release to SLTP partners,” according to a new ITACG annual report (pdf).
“The Detail reviews reporting from the IC on a daily basis, looking for products which cover information that may be of interest to SLTP partners. Once a product or specific information contained therein is identified, the Detail contacts the author or the originating agency’s disclosure office and requests a classification downgrade. Once the downgrade is approved and completed, the Detail requests the document be posted to the appropriate portal for SLTP customers.”
“Last year, the Detail requested a classification downgrade for 74 products on behalf of SLTP partners. Based on these requests, 58 products were downgraded; ten of the requests were denied due to source sensitivities; and six requests are pending as of the date of this report.” See “2010 Report on the Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group (ITACG),” prepared by the Program Manager, Information Sharing Environment, December 9, 2010.