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

Confronting the White House’s “Monarchical Doctrine”

More and more Americans of all political stripes are concerned that the Bush Administration has exceeded its legal authority by conducting intelligence surveillance outside of what the law permits. Anxiety over illegal surveillance is heightened by the prospect that an ideologically subservient Congress may not insist on the primacy of… Read More

The Vice President’s Declassification Authority

“Is it your view that a Vice President has the authority to declassify information?” Vice President Cheney was asked yesterday by Fox News’ Brit Hume. “There is an executive order to that effect,” replied the Vice President. This was a simple answer to a straightforward question, but the matter… Read More

Energy Department Declassification Plan

The Department of Energy expects to complete the declassification review of 12.7 million pages of its 25 year old historically valuable permanent records by December 31, 2006, the Department advised the Information Security Oversight Office last month. The January 2006 Department of Energy Declassification Plan was obtained under the… Read More

In the News

“Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the number of insiders alleging wrongdoing in government – either through whistle-blower channels or directly to the press – has surged, as have reprisals against them.” See “A surge in whistle-blowing … and reprisals” by Gail Russell Chaddock, Christian Science Monitor, February 16, 2006. Read More

Hearing on ABLE DANGER

The ABLE DANGER data mining program was the subject of a House Armed Service Committee hearing yesterday featuring testimony from Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen A. Cambone. “Members must decide for themselves what to believe from the testimony presented today — there will be some inconsistencies,” cautioned… Read More

CRS on Data Mining

A recently updated report from the Congressional Research Service addresses data mining — what it is, what it can and cannot do, and some of the controversies that have arisen around it. (The CRS report was issued before recent reporting by Newsweek on the “Topsail” data mining program,… Read More

Nuclear Secrecy Impedes Oversight of HEU Exports, Critics Say

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is no longer disclosing the amounts of highly enriched uranium (HEU) that are sought for export to foreign research reactors, prompting complaints that the new non-disclosure policy undermines effective oversight of the traffic in nuclear weapons-grade material. “Under prior longstanding policy the Commission publicly disclosed such… Read More

DOE Manual on Information Security

The Department of Energy recently approved a comprehensive manual on procedures for protecting all manner of classified or controlled information in the Department’s possession. From RD (Restricted Data) and FRD (Formerly Restricted Data) to SAPs (Special Access Programs) and SPECATs (Special Category programs), it’s all in there. (Or almost… Read More