Report on Disclosures to the Media is Classified

A report to Congress on authorized disclosures of classified intelligence to the media — not unauthorized disclosures — is classified and is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, the National Security Agency said. The notion of an authorized disclosure of classified information is close to being a contradiction in terms. If something is classified, how can its disclosure be authorized (without declassification)? And if something is disclosed by an official who is […]

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Insider Threat Program May Not Be Ready by 2017

Security policies in the executive branch are being overhauled in response to a potential “insider threat.” But while some progress is being made, the intended functionality will not be available for several more years to come. The insider threat includes “the threat of those insiders who may use their authorized access to compromise classified information.” Three years ago, due in part to the unauthorized disclosures by then-Pfc. Bradley Manning to WikiLeaks, President Obama issued Executive […]

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Ebola Outbreak: Select Legal Issues, and More from CRS

New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following. The Ebola Outbreak: Select Legal Issues, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 6, 2014 Ebola: Basics About the Disease, October 3, 2014 As Midterm Election Approaches, State Election Laws Challenged, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 7, 2014 Child Welfare: Profiles of Current and Former Older Foster Youth Based on the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD), October 6, […]

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Transcript of 1954 Oppenheimer Hearing Declassified in Full

The transcript of the momentous 1954 Atomic Energy Commission hearing that led the AEC to revoke the security clearance of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who had led the Manhattan Project to produce the first atomic bomb, has now been declassified in full by the Department of Energy. “The Department of Energy has re-reviewed the original transcript and is making available to the public, for the first time, the full text of the transcript in […]

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Inspectors General with Guns, and More from CRS

Offices of Inspector General (OIGs) are generally known for performing investigations of executive branch agencies in order to combat waste, fraud and abuse. But many IGs also have a law enforcement function, and many of their employees are armed. The most recent data available (from 2008) indicate that 33 Offices of Inspector General had a total of 3,501 agents who were authorized to carry firearms, according to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service. […]

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Nuclear Attribution and Hot Cognition

The challenges of identifying the perpetrators of a nuclear attack on the United States and communicating that information to senior leadership were considered in a 2009 workshop sponsored by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. A declassified report on the workshop was released last week in heavily redacted form. See “Transforming Nuclear Attribution: Culture, Community, and Change (SHARP 2009)” (redacted), Office of the Director of National Intelligence, July 2009. One of the challenges […]

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CIA Asks to Destroy Email of Non-Senior Agency Officials

The Central Intelligence Agency has asked for authority to destroy email messages sent by non-senior officials of the Agency. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has tentatively approved the proposal. In an August 18 appraisal of the CIA request, Meredith Scheiber of NARA wrote that any permanently valuable material in the emails would almost certainly be captured in other permanent CIA records. “It is unlikely that permanent records will be found in these email […]

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CIA Says Redaction of Commodore Amiga Cost was an Error

The CIA should not have redacted the amount that was paid for a Commodore Amiga portable computer in 1987 from a recently declassified article, a CIA official said today. (CIA: Cost of Personal Computer in 1987 is a Secret, Secrecy News, September 29). “The redaction of the cost of the Commodore Amiga computer was in fact an error,” said Joseph W. Lambert, Director of CIA Information Management Services. “Although we would normally redact budget figures, […]

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CIA: Cost of Personal Computer in 1987 is a Secret

Updated below Under the prevailing information policies of the Central Intelligence Agency, even some well-known public facts, such as the price of a popular personal computer, may be withheld from public disclosure. “We bought our first Commodore Amiga in 1987 for less than [price redacted] including software,” according to a paper entitled “NPIC, Amiga, and Videotape” from the CIA journal Studies in Intelligence. It was among hundreds of papers posted online this month in response […]

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DNI Issues Directive on Polygraph Policy

Polygraph testing is here to stay, judging from a new directive issued by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The directive governs the use of polygraph testing in vetting executive branch agency personnel for security clearances or determining their eligibility for “sensitive” positions. The new Security Executive Agent Directive 2 on the use of the polygraph was obtained by Marisa Taylor of McClatchy News, who has done a series of in-depth news reports on polygraph […]

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