Although summary accounts of several National Intelligence Estimates have recently been declassified and published, this should not become standard practice, the Director of National Intelligence declared last week.
“It is the policy of the Director of National Intelligence that KJs [the Key Judgments from National Intelligence Estimates] should not be declassified,” DNI J. Michael McConnell wrote (pdf).
“No predisposition to declassify KJs should exist in drafting an NIE or its KJs. Any decision to declassify will be made by the DNI and only after he and other National Intelligence Board principals have reviewed and approved the entire NIE.”
“There is both a real and a perceived danger that analysts will adopt less bold approaches, or otherwise modify the way they characterize developments, and that the integrity of the NIE process could be harmed by expectations that all or portions of the NIE are likely to be declassified,” the DNI asserted.
See “Guidance on Declassification of National Intelligence Estimate Key Judgments,” memo to the Intelligence Community Workforce, October 24, 2007.
The new policy was first reported by Pamela Hess of the Associated Press.
Robert Jervis, the distinguished political scientist who advises the CIA on declassification policy, said that he supported the DNI’s position.
With declassification, “you make the pressures of politicization that much greater,” he told the Associated Press. “When you are writing an executive summary it’s hard not to ask ‘How is this sentence going to read in The New York Times?'”
But Michael Tanji, a veteran U.S. intelligence employee, disputed that view. “Having contributed to more than one of these in my career, I’m here to tell you, public opinion does not enter into the calculus,” he wrote in the Danger Room blog.
These policy proposals will simplify the affordable housing qualification process for all federal housing programs, primarily focusing on PBV and LIHTC, to move eligible households into vacant units more quickly.
A uniform software tool for inputting building permit data would make the U.S. Census Bureau’s Building Permit Survey (BPS) more reliable, and it would also facilitate more fine-grained geographical analysis of new housing development.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) should prioritize funding water projects for local governments that would expand the production of new housing in their service areas if given the water resources to do so.
Congress needs to amend the definition of a manufactured home to remove the phrase “on a permanent chassis.” By doing this, Congress can eliminate wasted construction materials, allow new multifamily design options under the HUD Code, and unleash competition from factory-built manufactured housing.