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

CRS Views Nuclear Weapons Complex Reconfiguration

A new report from the Congressional Research Service takes a detailed look at proposals to significantly restructure the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. The proposals, offered by a Department of Energy Task Force, include closure and consolidation of various nuclear facilities and production of a newly designed Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW). Read More

US Army: Collecting Information on U.S. Persons

Military regulations offer wide latitude in the gathering of domestic intelligence information. “Contrary to popular belief, there is no absolute ban on [military] intelligence components collecting U.S. person information,” according to a 2001 Army intelligence memo. What’s more, military intelligence agencies can provisionally “receive” domestic intelligence… Read More

The Status of the DCI Following Intel Reform

The intelligence reform legislation of 2004 abolished the position of Director of Central Intelligence, transferring many of its functions to the new Director of National Intelligence. This raised a technical legal question as to whether the DCI who was serving at the time, Porter J. Goss, would need to be… Read More

NRO Operational Files Exemption in Dispute

In the past, the National Reconnaissance Office, the agency that develops spy satellites, has released unclassified portions of its budget request documents. But last year, the NRO refused to do so, claiming that these unclassified materials fall under the “operational files” exemption to the Freedom of Information Act. A… Read More

Inadvertent Disclosures of Classified Nuclear Info

The Department of Energy has released a sanitized version of its nineteenth report to Congress on inadvertent releases of classified nuclear weapons information through the declassification process. Out of more than 150,000 pages at the National Archives that were reviewed by DOE, 16 pages contained Restricted Data, and another… Read More

Notable Rules and Regs

Some notable rules and regulations on security policy that have recently been published include the following: “National Industrial Security Program Directive Number 1,” Information Security Oversight Office, January 27, 2006. “International Interchange of Patent Rights and Technical Information,” Department of Defense Instruction 2000.03, January 17, 2006. Read More

Do Embedded Reporters Sign Non-Disclosure Agreements?

Puzzled by references to non-disclosure agreements signed by reporters who are embedded with U.S. military forces, Secrecy News requested a copy of such a non-disclosure agreement from the Pentagon. But there isn’t one. “The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs has advised this Office that there… Read More

When Is Intelligence Considered “Collected”?

A layman might suppose that in the United States a telephone conversation cannot be intercepted by an intelligence agency such as the NSA except in compliance with the laws and guidelines governing intelligence collection. But it’s more complicated than that because “interception” is not considered “collection,” according to a Department… Read More