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

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

Air Force Special Operations

U.S. Air Force doctrine on special operations is presented in a new Air Force publication. “This publication provides the overarching doctrinal guidance for the conduct of Air Force special operations across the full range of military operations. It describes the characteristics, capabilities, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) core… Read More

Secrecy of Mine Inspections Reduced

In a rare relaxation of mounting restrictions on disclosure of government information, the Labor Department has agreed to reverse its policy of withholding notes taken by mine safety inspectors from prompt release under the Freedom of Information Act. In a January 11 letter written in the wake of the… Read More

Sunshine Week on the Way

Sunshine Week is a broad-based initiative intended to focus public concern over the growth of official secrecy. During the week of March 13, 2006, there will be a series of events exploring the diverse and increasing barriers that obstruct public access to government information. Details and educational resources are… Read More

Pentagon Abandons Revision of Nuclear Doctrine

The Department of Defense has abandoned plans to revise its Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations. The draft revision became controversial when it was disclosed last year because of its unusually frank discussion of preemptive use of nuclear weapons. The decision to cancel the revision was discovered by Hans Kristensen of… Read More

CIA on Remote Medical Diagnosis (1979)

A noteworthy article from the CIA’s Studies in Intelligence Journal, published in 1979 and declassified last year, describes the use of “remote medical diagnosis” for foreign intelligence purposes. “Remote medical diagnosis is defined as the identification of the illnesses affecting a person without the benefit of a formal medical… Read More

Mau-Mauing the Congressional Research Service

Congressional Research Service analyses of the Bush Administration’s domestic surveillance activity have been exceptionally influential, and their influence has been magnified by media coverage that has sometimes overstated the rather nuanced conclusions of CRS analysts. But now the CRS may face a backlash from Republican leaders in Congress who apparently… Read More

National Academy Views Biosecurity, Access to Information

A major new report from the National Research Council warns of future biological threats and urges increased attention to mechanisms for prevention, detection, mitigation and response to the destructive use of biological agents. But secrecy is not one of those mechanisms, the report says. “In general,… Read More