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

Congressional Oversight in Theory and in Practice

The rudiments of Congressional oversight — its legal basis, its functions, and the diverse forms it takes — are concisely described in a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service. “Congressional oversight refers to the review, monitoring, and supervision of federal agencies, programs, activities, and policy implementation…. Congress’s oversight… Read More

NSA: Redacting With Confidence

The National Security Agency has issued new guidance to assist officials in redacting (censoring) documents in Microsoft Word format and producing unclassified Adobe Portable Document (PDF) files without inadvertently disclosing sensitive information. “MS Word is used throughout the DoD and the Intelligence Community (IC) for preparing documents, reports, notes,… Read More

The Legal Significance of Presidential Signing Statements

When he signed the 2006 Defense Appropriations Act, which included a prohibition against torture of detainees in U.S. custody, President Bush issued a signing statement implying that he could disregard the new prohibition in his capacity as commander in chief. “The executive branch shall construe [the statute], relating to detainees,… Read More

Justice Dept Issues White Paper on NSA Surveillance

The Department of Justice renewed its legal defense of warrantless domestic intelligence surveillance by the National Security Agency in a 42 page white paper transmitted to Congress yesterday. The white paper essentially reiterates at greater length the previous defenses articulated by the Bush Administration: (1) the surveillance action was authorized… Read More

The Four Faces of Nuclear Terrorism

This report examines the threat of nuclear terrorism and the possibility of terrorist groupsobtaining weapons-usable fissile materials to create a nuclear device. Read More

Missions for Nuclear Weapons after the Cold War

This report examines all the missions proposed for U.S. nuclear weapons and finds conventional weapons are better in most cases. The report calls for reducing and restructuring the United States’ and Russia’s nuclear forces and giving up the push for a new generation of nuclear weapons including “bunker busters.” Read More