Declass Panel Helps Overcome Reflexive Secrecy
One of the most successful innovations in the otherwise mostly stagnant domain of classification policy was the creation of the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP), an executive branch entity that was established by President Clinton’s 1995 executive order 12958.
For over a decade, the ISCAP has maintained an astonishing record of ordering the declassification of information in a majority of the documents that have been presented for its review. In each of those cases, the Panel effectively overruled the classification judgment of one of its own member agencies. There are policy lessons to be learned from this experience concerning the often poor quality of routine classification actions and the value of extending declassification authority beyond the originating agency.
Bill Burr of the National Security Archive recently prepared a thoughtful overview of the creation and the operation of the ISCAP, together with a compilation of several of the latest documents that it approved for release. See “The Secrecy Court of Last Resort: New Declassification Releases by the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP),” National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book, June 5.
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 […]
On 14 April 2023, the Belarusian Ministry of Defence released a short video of a Su-25 pilot explaining his new role in delivering “special [nuclear] munitions” following his training in Russia. The features seen in the video, as well as several other open-source clues, suggest that Lida Air Base––located only 40 kilometers from the Lithuanian border and the […]
A photo in a Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) student briefing from 2022 shows four people inspecting what appears to be a damaged B61 nuclear bomb.
In early-February 2023, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) had informed Congress that China now has more launchers for Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) than the United States. The report is the latest in a serious of revelations over the past four years about China’s growing nuclear weapons arsenal and the deepening […]