The American Bar Association (ABA) adopted a resolution (pdf) this week calling on the Attorney General to clarify that designating a record as “sensitive but unclassified” does not provide a legal basis for withholding that record.
The ABA also called for establishment of a standardized policy for employing the “sensitive but unclassified” (SBU) marking.
The increasingly common SBU designation has become problematic because SBU records are neither fish nor fowl — neither formally classified nor publicly available — and there are no commonly agreed upon standards for invoking the term.
“Agencies allow the marking of many types of records as SBU. This patchwork of definitions for safeguarding such records contributes to confusion regarding whether information should be withheld under FOIA. Such confusion is exacerbated by the fact that the term SBU is not derived from an existing FOIA exemption,” according to the ABA.
“Our Recommendation seeks the issuance of public guidance from the U.S. Attorney General, clarifying that the SBU classification does not constitute grounds for withholding information that would otherwise be disclosed under FOIA… Such a policy directive would help to reduce instances of excessive withholding caused by the confusion and lack of oversight concerning this designation.”
See the ABA Resolution (adopted on February 13), with an attached informational report (which was not formally adopted).
As it happens, a government-wide effort to standardize SBU policy is already underway, as previously reported (Secrecy News, 12/20/05).
To empower new voices to start their career in nuclear weapons studies, the Federation of American Scientists launched the New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship. Here’s what our inaugural cohort accomplished.
Common frameworks for evaluating proposals leave this utility function implicit, often evaluating aspects of risk, uncertainty, and potential value independently and qualitatively.
The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]
According to the National Center for Education Statistics’ August 2023 pulse panel, 60% of public schools were utilizing a “community school” or “wraparound services model” at the start of this school year—up from 45% last year.