from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2005, Issue No. 1
January 4, 2005
PRESIDENT'S DAILY BRIEFS WITHHELD, RELEASED The President's Daily Brief (PDB), the daily summary of foreign intelligence prepared for the President by the Central Intelligence Agency, is "inherently privileged," according to the CIA, and therefore cannot be publicly disclosed, regardless of age or content. But the CIA claim that PDBs are somehow categorically exempt from release is being challenged in a new lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act, even as two PDBs from 1967 have been newly declassified. University of California historian Larry Berman filed suit in California last month after the CIA refused to release Vietnam War-era PDBs prepared for President Johnson. Useful background on the case is available from the National Security Archive, which is co-representing Prof. Berman. See "Professor Sues CIA for President's Daily Brief," December 23, 2004:
- PRESIDENT'S DAILY BRIEFS WITHHELD, RELEASED
- PROTECTION OF SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED INFO
- SUNSHINE WEEK
- MORE CRS PRODUCTS
PROTECTION OF SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED INFOPerhaps the single most worrisome trend in government secrecy policy is not the continuing growth in classification activity, but the proliferation of security controls on unclassified information. While there are reasonably well-defined procedures governing classified information, including provisions for declassification and rudimentary oversight, nothing comparable exists when it comes to the multiple, ever-expanding and mutually inconsistent systems for controlling access to unclassified information. The information control category known as "sensitive but unclassified" is the subject of a recent report from the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress. The 32 page report amply elucidates the statutes, regulations and directives that cumulatively regulate access to such information, yet it does not exhaust the subject. See "Laws and Regulations Governing the Protection of Sensitive But Unclassified Information," September 2004 (thanks to RT):
SUNSHINE WEEKSeveral major media organizations are working to promote a public dialogue on the value of open government during what they call "Sunshine Week" beginning next March 13. The initiative seeks to encourage press and public attention to the virtues of openness and to communicate "why open government is important to everyone, not just to journalists." See:
MORE CRS PRODUCTSFor no good reason, most reports of the Congressional Research Service are still not made directly available to the public. New or newly updated CRS reports obtained by Secrecy News include: "Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004: 'Lone Wolf' Amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act," December 29, 2004:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
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