The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the “2013 Statistical Transparency Report” detailing the frequency of use of various intelligence surveillance authorities and the estimated number of targets affected by the surveillance.
While the reported numbers give some rough sense of the scale of intelligence surveillance — civil liberties groups said the estimated numbers are bound to be misleadingly low — the report provides no basis for evaluating the utility or legitimacy of the surveillance activities.
How many of the collection activities were authorized on the basis of erroneous information? How many actually produced useful intelligence? The report doesn’t say, and the raw numbers are not a substitute. If they were ten times higher, or ten times lower, we would be none the wiser.
From a secrecy policy point of view, perhaps the most intriguing feature of the new release is the unconventional timing of its declassification. The report is dated June 26, 2014 and was classified at the TOP SECRET/NOFORN level. But it says it was declassified by DNI Clapper three days earlier on June 23, 2014!
This temporally fluid approach to declassification could have many useful applications.
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.
Filmmaker Christopher Nolan, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Todd (R-IN), and Dr. Alondra Nelson presented with FAS Public Service Awards;
Alexa White received the inaugural FAS Policy Entrepreneurship award.