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

Protecting Against Rogue Drones

The threat to public safety from unmanned aerial systems (drones) is not just foreseeable — it already exists in the form of numerous near-collisions with manned aircraft, a new report from the Congressional Research Service observes. “Between 2016 and 2019, airline pilots reported, on average,… Read More

COVID-19 Highlights Need for Public Intelligence

Hobbled by secrecy and timidity, the U.S. intelligence community has been conspicuously absent from efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the most serious national and global security challenge of our time. The silence of intelligence today represents a departure from the straightforward approach of then-Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats… Read More

The Military Role in Combating COVID-19

There is a bewildering amount of official guidance on the role of the military in circumstances such as the current pandemic. But the practical impact of that guidance, whatever it may be, is unclear. Like the proverbial war plan that cannot survive first contact with the… Read More

SkyGuardian Drone Takes Flight Over Southwest US

General Atomics’ SkyGuardian drone, a non-weaponized variant of the military’s MQ-9 Reaper, last week completed a test flight through civil airspace from Palmdale, California to Yuma, Arizona, the company announced. The April 3 flight demonstration, sponsored by NASA, marks a… Read More

The Urgency of Military History

The task of the military historian differs from that of the academic historian because military history has an operational dimension. It is supposed to help inform current military operations with the lessons and the perspectives of the past. “The historian must always bear in mind that the whole purpose of… Read More

Congress Needs More Scientific Expertise to Fight COVID-19

As lawmakers in the United States turn their focus to fighting the scourge of COVID-19, they will need to come up to speed quickly on the science behind the virus that causes it; the ongoing challenges around testing; and the dynamics of spread. That is going to be difficult, because… Read More

Pentagon Asks to Keep Future Spending Secret

Updated below The Department of Defense is quietly asking Congress to rescind the requirement to produce an unclassified version of the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) database. Preparation of the unclassified FYDP, which provides estimates of defense spending for the next five years, has… Read More

Freedom of Information in the Time of COVID-19

In principle, the COVID-19 outbreak could provide a compelling new justification for expediting the processing of certain Freedom of Information Act requests related to the pandemic. But it is more likely to slow down the handling of most requests as agency employees work remotely and other concerns are understandably prioritized. Read More