Government Secrecy

The Project on Government Secrecy works to reduce the scope of government secrecy and promote public access to certain types of government information by seeking reform of national security classification and declassification policies. The Project seeks  to foster government accountability and contribute to ensuring an informed electorate. 

The Project aims not only to challenge improper classification of government information but also to publish informative and policy-relevant records that the press and the public can use. The Project publishes previously undisclosed or hard-to-find government documents of public policy interest, as well as resources on intelligence policy through the Secrecy News Blog, as well as multiple portals which can be found below. 

The Project is directed by Steven Aftergood, who works with a diverse collection of like-minded groups and individuals to help advance government accountability.

Government Secrecy Links

Government Secrecy

Pentagon Sees “Increased Potential” for Nuclear Conflict

The possibility that nuclear weapons could be used in regional or global conflicts is growing, said a newly disclosed Pentagon doctrinal publication on nuclear war fighting that was updated last year. “Despite concerted US efforts to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in international affairs and… Read More

DoD Again Presses for New FOIA Exemption

The Department of Defense is once again asking Congress for an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act for certain unclassified military information including records on critical infrastructure and military tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs). The latest proposal was included in the Pentagon’s draft of legislative language for… Read More

Nuclear Secrecy: In Defense of Reform

One of the stranger features of nuclear weapons secrecy is the government’s ability to reach out and classify nuclear weapons-related information that has been privately generated without government involvement. This happened most recently in 2001. The roots of this constitutionally questionable policy are… Read More

A Self-Correcting Classification System?

Those persons who have authorized access to classified information that they believe is improperly classified are “encouraged and expected” to challenge the classification of that information (Executive Order 13526, section 1.8). Sometimes they do. And every once in a while, their challenges lead to declassification… Read More

A Resurgence of Democracy in 2040?

The world will be “increasingly out of balance and contested at every level” over the next twenty years due to the pressures of demographic, environmental, economic and technological change, a new forecast from the National Intelligence Council called Global Trends 2040 said last week. But among… Read More

Army Program Seeks to Heighten Soldiers’ Cognition

A properly trained soldier can distinguish a vegetarian from a meat-eater based on their smell, a new Army publication says, since “different diets produce different human odors.” He or she can to determine the age, gender and even the mental state of a target by studying their… Read More

A New Policy on Setting Intelligence Priorities

Shortly before the end of the Trump Administration in January 2021, then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe issued a directive that altered the process for preparing the National Intelligence Priorities Framework, or NIPF, stripping out limitations on signals intelligence collection from the previous policy. The NIPF is perhaps… Read More

FAS Presses for Release of Nuclear Stockpile Data

For the past three years, the Trump Administration refused to provide an annual tally of the number of nuclear weapons in the U.S. nuclear stockpile or the number of weapons that had been dismantled each year, though that had been the practice under the Obama Administration… Read More