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

White House Names Three to Intel Oversight Board

At a time when the legality of U.S. intelligence activities such as the NSA surveillance program is a live issue, President Bush announced that he would name three individuals to the Intelligence Oversight Board, which is supposed to notify the President of any unlawful activities performed by U.S. intelligence… Read More

CRS on Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion

The terms “probable cause” and “reasonable suspicion” have almost become household words by now due to continuing public controversy over the legality of the NSA surveillance program. The legal definitions of these terms were examined in a new memorandum prepared by the Congressional Research Service for the Senate Intelligence… Read More

National Reconnaissance Journal

The National Reconnaissance Office has published a new Journal in unclassified format. “National Reconnaissance: Journal of the Discipline and Practice” is intended “for the education and information of the NRO community” and to promote “the study, dialogue, and understanding of the discipline, practice, and history of national reconnaissance.” The… Read More


For several decades the Naval Security Group (NAVSECGRU) Command has been the Navy’s cryptologic organization, with responsibility for signals intelligence and communications security and with NAVSECGRU Activities scattered around much of the world. But now the NAVSECGRU Command has been disestablished and all NAVSECGRU Activities and Detachments have… Read More

Inadvertent Tracking of “Sight Sensitive” Objects

Air Force personnel are warned in a recent instruction not to track low observable (LO) or “sight sensitive” aircraft during test flights at Edwards Air Force Base. “Low observable” is another term for stealth, and “sight sensitive” refers to objects that yield sensitive information simply by visual inspection. Read More

History of Highly Enriched Uranium Released

After nearly a decade of pressure from openness advocates inside and outside of government, the Department of Energy has finally released its landmark history of the production of highly enriched uranium (HEU). The study “was commissioned [in 1996] to facilitate discussions of HEU storage, safety, and security with stakeholders,… Read More

CRS, NSA and the Question of Congressional Notification

Last week, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) lashed out at the Congressional Research Service for asserting that the Bush Administration may have had a legal responsibility to notify more than just eight members of Congress regarding the NSA surveillance activity. Rep. Hoekstra, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee,… Read More

DoD on Improving FOIA Operations

The Department of Defense is moving ahead smartly in response to President Bush’s executive order (EO) 13392 directing agencies to improve the processing of Freedom of Information Act requests. Many outside observers were puzzled by the issuance of the December 14, 2005 order, since the current Administration has… Read More