ISCAP to Provide Increased Disclosure of Its Decisions
The Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) is preparing to provide improved public notification of its declassification and disclosure decisions.
The ISCAP, among its other duties, considers and rules on appeals from the public to declassify records that agencies have refused to release. The Panel, which was established by executive order in 1995, has actually succeeded beyond all reasonable expectations, declassifying information in the majority of cases presented to it. (My own requests were not among those that were decided in favor of disclosure.) According to the latest annual report from the Information Security Oversight Office:
“Since May 1996, the Panel decided upon a total of 1,195 documents. Of these, the Panel declassified additional information in 64 percent of the documents. Specifically, 291 documents (24 percent) were declassified in their entirety and 477 documents (40 percent) had some portions declassified while the classification of other portions was affirmed. During this time frame, the Panel fully affirmed the classification decisions of agencies in 427 documents (36 percent).”
Last week, the ISCAP issued revised bylaws, including a new section on “dissemination of ISCAP decisions” (sec. 2003.14).
This section corresponds to the so-called “fourth function” assigned to ISCAP by President Obama’s executive order 13526 that required the Panel to “appropriately inform senior agency officials and the public of final Panel decisions….” That provision did not exist in previous Administrations’ executive orders, which listed only three functions for the ISCAP.
Another revised provision of the bylaws puts the ISCAP at the President’s disposal to carry out other unspecified advisory functions, as needed. In language oddly reminiscent of the 1947 National Security Act section that was understood to authorize CIA covert action (by which the Agency is “to perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the National Security Council may from time to time direct”), the ISCAP bylaws (sec. 2003.15) state somewhat evasively:
“As directed by the President through the National Security Advisor, the ISCAP performs such additional advisory functions as are consistent with, and supportive of, the successful implementation of the Order.”
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 […]