Intelligence Policy on Unauthorized Disclosures (2002)

10.06.08 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

“Intentional leaks of intelligence are a violation of law, may result in irrevocable damage to national security, and will not be tolerated,” according to a 2002 directive from the Director of Central Intelligence (pdf) that was itself leaked.

The directive largely reiterates longstanding policy, though perhaps with increased vigor. It states twice that leaks will not be “tolerated” and twice more that intelligence agencies will take “aggressive” measures to combat leaks.

The document notably advises intelligence officials not to prepare a damage assessment of a leak whenever there is a prospect of criminal prosecution against the leaker, implicitly suggesting that an accurate damage assessment might not always favor the prosecution.

The unclassified directive was obtained and published last week by Wikileaks.org, a website that publishes confidential and controlled documents of various types.

See Unauthorized Disclosures, Security Violations, and Other Compromises of Intelligence Information, Director of Central Intelligence Directive 6/8, December 9, 2002

Last August, a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of all such unclassified DCI Directives was denied on appeal by Delores M Nelson of the CIA Agency Release Panel. In her denial letter (pdf), she strangely cited FOIA exemption (b)(1), among others, indicating that although they are unclassified, the requested Directives are at the same time “properly classified.” Neither the law of non-contradiction nor the Freedom of Information Act is effectively enforced at CIA.

A selection of unclassified DCI Directives (which are gradually being superseded by DNI Intelligence Community Directives) can nevertheless be found here. Thanks to Jeffrey T. Richelson of the National Security Archive for an updated list of DCI Directive titles.