from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2006, Issue No. 33
March 13, 2006

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In an effort to improve the sharing of intelligence information, the Director of National Intelligence last year authorized the use of a new marking for intelligence documents: RELIDO, or Releasable by Information Disclosure Official.

RELIDO is intended "to facilitate information sharing through streamlined, rapid release decisions by authorized disclosure officials," DNI John D. Negroponte wrote in a June 2005 memo.

Essentially, the RELIDO marking permits authorized officials to release documents (on a need-to-know basis, of course) without consulting the originators of the documents.

This is a step forward since originator controls on the dissemination of intelligence are one of the major bottlenecks that impede intelligence information sharing.

A copy of the DNI memo, marked For Official Use Only (not RELIDO), was obtained by Secrecy News.

See "Intelligence Community Implementation of Releasable by Information Disclosure Official (RELIDO) Dissemination Marking," DCID 8 Series Policy Memoranda 1, June 9, 2005:

No one should mistake the recent focus on intelligence information sharing for greater openness or public disclosure. To the contrary, "information sharing" has been accompanied by increased secrecy in intelligence.

In 2004, for example, the Central Intelligence Agency decided that it would no longer release unclassified intelligence directives under the Freedom of Information Act. Though such directives had previously been released, the CIA now claimed that they were exempt from FOIA as internal agency records (exemption 2) and as intelligence sources and methods information (exemption 3).

Consequently, Americans who are interested in such things are obliged to seek out alternate sources of information.

Among the directives that CIA refused to release under the FOIA is Director of Central Intelligence Directive 8/1, the last Directive issued by former DCI George Tenet, on the subject of intelligence information sharing.

That DCI directive was hailed enthusiastically but perhaps prematurely by some officials.

It "changed the sharing paradigm from 'need to know' as determined by the information collector to 'share at the first point of usability' as determined by intelligence users across our community," wrote Maj. Gen. John F. Kimmons, commander of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, in INSCOM Journal last year.

A copy of the directive, marked For Official Use Only, was obtained by Secrecy News.

See "Intelligence Community Policy on Intelligence Information Sharing," DCID 8/1, June 4, 2004:


Democratic proposals to initiate a congressional investigation of the National Security Agency warrantless surveillance program have been repeatedly rebuffed by Republican leaders in Congress.

This month, House Committees have produced no fewer than four adverse reports on Democratic "resolutions of inquiry," which sought executive branch records on domestic intelligence surveillance.

In the Senate, a proposal (pdf) by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) to investigate the NSA program was voted down on party lines in the Senate Intelligence Committee on March 7.

See the reports of the House Intelligence Committee, the House Armed Services Committee, and the House Judiciary Committee (two) here:

Some background on the use of resolutions of inquiry as an instrument of oversight can be found in "House Resolutions of Inquiry" by Louis Fisher (who is now with the Law Library of Congress), Congressional Research Service, May 12, 2003:

Sen. Russ Feingold announced yesterday that he would introduce a resolution to censure President Bush for "authorizing the illegal wiretapping program and then misleading the country about the existence and legality of the program." See:


"Sources and Methods of Foreign Nationals Engaged in Economic and Military Espionage" is the title of a September 15, 2005 hearing of a House Judiciary Subcommittee which has just been published. See:

Defense Department policy on Operations Security has been updated in a new directive. Operations Security (OPSEC) refers to the identification and reduction of tell-tale signs of military operations that could be exploited by an adversary.

See "DoD Operations Security (OPSEC) Program," DoD Directive 5205.02, March 6, 2006:

Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen A. Cambone has reissued the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM), which "provides baseline standards for the protection of classified information released or disclosed to industry."

See the updated NISPOM, DoD Manual 5220.22, February 28, 2006:


The latest issue of U.S. News and World Report (March 20) features an interview with me on the subject of government secrecy.

It is part of the observance of Sunshine Week, which is a nationwide effort to focus public attention on the virtues of open government.

My not-so-smiling face can also be seen in light and shadow cast by window blinds ("It's not cliche," the photographer explained, "it's classic.").

See "Secrecy Under Scrutiny" by David E. Kaplan, U.S. News and World Report, March 20:

A sidebar takes a look at Freedom of Information Act policy. See "Finding out what Uncle Sam has on you" also by David E. Kaplan:

For more on Sunshine Week go to


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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