Government Secrecy

The FAS Project on Government Secrecy works to reduce the scope of official secrecy and to promote public access to national security information by seeking reform of national security classification and declassification policies.

The Project also publishes previously undisclosed or hard-to-find government documents of public policy interest, as well as resources on intelligence policy. The Project is directed by Steven Aftergood.

Government Secrecy Links

Government Secrecy

DNI Tries to Abort Controlled Unclassified Info Policy

In a bureaucratic bombshell, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe has asked the White House to rescind a ten-year-old executive order that required a uniform policy for marking and handling “controlled unclassified information” (CUI). CUI refers to information that while unclassified is nevertheless restricted by law or policy from… Read More

Counting Electoral Votes (CRS)

The procedural steps leading up to inauguration of the next President on January 20, 2021 are described in a recent Congressional Research Service publication. See The Electoral College: A 2020 Presidential Election Timeline, CRS In Focus, October 22, 2020. An updated CRS report describes the joint… Read More

JASON Science Advisory Panel Endures

Having survived a Pentagon attempt to terminate it, the JASON panel that performs independent technical assessments for government agencies now seems set for a period of relative stability. Last year Mike Griffin, then-Under Secretary of Defense (Research and Engineering), abruptly refused to renew his Office’s sponsorship of… Read More

DoD Legislative Proposals to be Published

After failing to publicly disclose its proposed legislative agenda, the Department of Defense will soon be required to do so. Each year DoD generates proposals for legislative actions that it would like to see incorporated in the coming year’s national defense authorization act. These may include tweaks to existing statutes,… Read More

2020 Declassification Deadline Remains in Force

Classified records that turn 25 years old this year will be automatically declassified on December 31 — despite requests from agencies to extend the deadline due to the pandemic — unless the records are reviewed and specifically found to be subject to an authorized exemption. Mark A. Bradley, the director… Read More

Trump Jr: “Declassify Everything!!!”

On November 8 Donald J. Trump Jr., the President’s oldest son, tweeted: “DECLASSIFY EVERYTHING!!!” adding “We can’t let the bad actors get away with it.” This was not an actual policy proposal and it was not seriously intended for classification officials or even for Trump’s… Read More

Presidential Transition Act, and More from CRS

Noteworthy new publications from the Congressional Research Service include the following. Presidential Transition Act: Provisions and Funding, November 13, 2020 Federal Scientific Integrity Policies: A Primer, November 20, 2020 The Digital… Read More

The FDA should condition any vaccine approval on open trial data

With only 60 percent of Americans reporting that they’re willing to take a coronavirus vaccine, it’s not enough for the government to simply approve a vaccine candidate. Some Americans are wary of the speed with which these vaccines have been developed; others… Read More