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

A “Drop Dead” Date for Classified Info

The declassification process has been overwhelmed by the flood of classified records awaiting review, said Sen. Ron Wyden last week. “I intend to push the Director of National Intelligence to fix a broken declassification system,” he said. One highly effective way to begin fixing the… Read More

Biden Issues National Security Directive 1

Update: National Security Directive 1 was redesignated as National Security Memorandum 1. Amid the whirlwind of White House activity following inauguration last week, President Biden issued his first presidential directive on national security to designate pandemic response as a priority. “My Administration will treat epidemic… Read More

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