from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2008, Issue No. 75
July 30, 2008

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In a new directive that challenges the insular culture of U.S. intelligence agencies, Director of National Intelligence J. Michael McConnell has ordered analysts to cultivate relationships with outside experts "whenever possible" in order to improve the quality of intelligence analysis.

The DNI's July 16 directive on "Analytic Outreach" establishes procedures for implementing such outreach, including incentives and rewards for successful performance.

"Analytic outreach is the open, overt, and deliberate act of an IC [intelligence community] analyst engaging with an individual outside the IC to explore ideas and alternate perspectives, gain new insights, generate new knowledge, or obtain new information," the directive states.

"Elements of the IC should use outside experts whenever possible to contribute to, critique, and challenge internal products and analysis...."

"Sound intelligence analysis requires that analysts... develop trusted relationships" with "experts in academia; think tanks; industry; non-governmental organizations; the scientific world; ...and elsewhere."

There are, however, significant limits to any such relationships.

"Analysts in the IC shall never discuss classified or sensitive information with outside experts who are not appropriately cleared."

But since almost everything in intelligence is considered classified or at least sensitive, that does not leave much room for analysts to "engage" and share information with outside experts who are not interested in a cleared contractual relationship with an intelligence agency.

The Central Intelligence Agency, for example, insists that even unclassified, non-copyrighted publications of its Open Source Center should be "treated as copyrighted" and "must not be disseminated to the public" (Secrecy News, 05/19/08).

Under such circumstances and without a modicum of reciprocity between analysts and outside experts there can be no "trusted relationships."

The directive seems to recognize the problem. "Unnecessary or unreasonable restrictions that discourage collaboration with outside experts may increase the likelihood that alternate perspectives will not be considered and debatable judgments will remain unchallenged."

See Intelligence Community Directive 205, "Analytic Outreach," July 16, 2008:

Other Intelligence Community Directives are available here:


Though rarely discussed, interpersonal trust is frequently a prerequisite for voluntary information sharing not only between government officials and members of the public, but even among government officials themselves.

"The effective flow of information and knowledge is facilitated through networks of trust," a new report from the congressionally mandated Project on National Security Reform nicely observed. Yet such networks within government are fragile and sometimes non-existent, particularly when the individuals involved simply don't know each other.

The personnel security clearance system is supposed to serve as an objective validator of a government employee's trustworthiness, but in practice decisions to share information are often dictated by whether the recipient is trusted or not, not whether he is cleared or not.

"Trust tends to emerge between highly committed individuals on an ad hoc basis and within personal relationships," the Project report said. "In the current national security system, however, disparate organizational cultures, parochial leadership styles and visions, infrequent face-to-face meetings, and frequent rotations of staff make trust difficult to achieve."

Additional barriers impede communication between government and the public. Some officials seem to fear, disdain or dismiss unstructured or unpredictable interactions with members of the public. On the other hand, according to the new report, "Some NGOs ... show outright hostility to the military actors in the national security system, which can greatly complicate the development and flow of knowledge among the actors and decision makers who need it."

The new report of the Project on National Security Reform, which aims to promote a new national security act and various structural changes in the national security system, is available here:


The Department of Defense has embarked on a significant modification of its intelligence apparatus, creating a new human intelligence center within the DIA, abolishing a controversial counterintelligence agency, and reorganizing the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.

A new Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center (DCHC) is being established at the Defense Intelligence Agency to manage, develop and execute DoD counterintelligence and human intelligence activities worldwide.

It will take over many of the functions and authorities of the Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), which drew criticism for its unauthorized domestic surveillance activities, including the collection of information on U.S. antiwar groups. CIFA will be terminated effective August 3.

Unlike CIFA, the new DCHC "shall NOT be designated as a law enforcement activity and shall not perform any law enforcement functions previously assigned to DoD CIFA," according to a July 22 memorandum memorializing the new changes.

However, the DCHC will be responsible for developing an "offensive counterintelligence operations" (OFCO) capability for the Department of Defense, which may entail efforts to penetrate, deceive and disable foreign intelligence activities directed against U.S. forces.

The new organization was described in a July 22 memorandum from the Deputy Secretary of Defense on "Establishment of the Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center (DCHC)":

Meanwhile, the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, James R. Clapper, Jr., has moved to reorganize his office to strengthen HUMINT and CI "integration and synchronization" and to structure the office around four functional areas.

That move was first reported last week by Inside the Pentagon, which interviewed defense intelligence officials on the background and motivations for the changes, and obtained an internal memorandum outlining the changes. See "Pentagon Shakes Up Intelligence Directorate's Organization" by Christopher J. Castelli, July 24:

A copy of the June 18, 2008 memorandum from Under Secretary Clapper on "Reorganization of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence," obtained by Inside the Pentagon and marked "for official use only" (not yet "controlled unclassified information") is available here:


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

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