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Tag Archive: Secrecy News

Hyper-Hyper-Classification

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The Bush Administration's lust for secrecy is well documented. And as davidk at TPM Muckraker wrote recently, Bush and Company is "the most secretive administration in history."

But even so this latest gambit by the Administration is over the line. The Washington Post's Walter Pincus reports on how earlier this month the Bush White House issued a memorandum outlining new Executive Branch rules on the handling of sensitive but not classified information. They coined the term "Controlled Unclassified Information" (How's that for bureaucratic doublespeak?) for information so sensitive that its disclosure would create "risk of substantial harm." They replaced the term "Sensitive but Unclassified."

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Public Accountability Is Going Down

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File this under "Two steps forward, one step back."

Secrecy News highlights a change in disclosure policy by several federal defense intelligence agencies in anticipation of last week's launching of USAspending.gov. Claiming that online disclosure of their unclassified contracts would compromise security, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and the Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) asked the Department of Defense for and received permission to keep the documents secret. "I appreciate your concerns that reporting these actions to the publicly accessible website could provide unacceptable risk of insight to your individual missions and budgets," wrote Shay D. Assad of the Under Secretary of Defense in a December 7 memorandum (pdf). "But when it comes to intelligence spending, there will actually be a net loss of public information because categories of intelligence contracting data that were previously disclosed will now be withheld," writes Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News editor.

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