Secrecy and Security News
Newer News: April 2015
- State Department: Found 4 emails about drones, other surveillance programs sent by Clinton by Jack Gillum, Associated Press, March 31. "The State Department says it can find only four emails sent between former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and her staff concerning drone strikes and certain U.S. surveillance programs, and those notes have little to do with either subject."
- Delete, erase, shred: enemies of federal record-keepers by Nancy Benac, Associated Press, March 28. "In the never-ending quest to preserve the government's history, there have been plenty of weapons of mass destruction. Before delete keys on computers, there were paper shredders, erase buttons on tape recorders and trash cans."
- Recent Reductions in Security Clearances and Reinvestigation Backlogs at DoD, FY 2015. The total cleared population at the Department of Defense has dropped by 700,000 persons in the past two years. (Source)
- Hydrogen Bomb Physicist's Book Runs Afoul of Energy Department by William J. Broad, New York Times, March 23. "A physicist who helped devise the weapon more than half a century ago has defied a federal order to cut from his new book material that the government says teems with thermonuclear secrets."
- What Lies Beneath by Scott C. Johnson, Foreign Policy, March 23. "In the 1960s, hundreds of pounds of uranium went missing in Pennsylvania. Is it buried in the ground, poisoning locals--or did Israel steal it to build the bomb?"
- Hillary Clinton's State Department wanted to cut back on email saving duties by Josh Gerstein, Politico, March 20. "During Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, department officials pushed to limit the number of emails and other electronic records the agency was required to save under federal rules."
- Obama tightens his control over White House computers by Gregory Korte, USA Today, March 20. "President Obama signed a directive Thursday in an effort to 'maintain the president's exclusive control of the information resources' provided to the White House."
- Leaks in the Department of State, 1963 by David Langbart, The Text Message (NARA blog), March 17. "The problem was significant enough that President John F. Kennedy discussed the matter with Under Secretary of State George W. Ball (the Department's #2 official). In response, the Under Secretary personally prepared the following memorandum to the President discussing how to deal with the issue."
- White House is again refusing transparency, groups charge by Anita Kumar and Lesley Clark, McClatchy Newspapers, March 17. "The White House is exempting an office from compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, angering open-government advocates, who accuse President Barack Obama of not living up to his pledge to run the 'most transparent administration in history'."
- Justice Department Releases New Guidance on Proactive Disclosure of Non-Exempt Agency Information, DoJ OIP blog, March 16. "When agencies make proactive disclosures they are enhancing transparency by ensuring that certain key information about the operations and activities of the government is readily and efficiently made available to all." (The new guidance itself is posted here.)
- OSTP Solicits Public Comment on Impact of Select Agent Regulations, Federal Register, March 16. "Public comment is requested on the impact that the Select Agent Regulations have had on science, technology, and national security, and on the benefits, costs, and limitations of these regulations."
- In Light of Petraeus Plea, Attorney for Stephen Kim Seeks His Immediate Release, letter from Abbe Lowell, March 5. "The decision to permit General Petraeus to plead guilty to a misdemeanor demonstrates more clearly than ever the profound double standard that applies when prosecuting so-called 'leakers' and those accused of disclosing classified information for their own purposes."
- A media conspiracy that's good for you by Eric Newton, Gannett Newspapers, March 12. "What's the conspiracy? It's called Sunshine Week, and it is built around the birthday of James Madison, the father of the Bill of Rights. This year, the week is March 15-21."
- Does It Matter That Hillary Clinton Deleted Her E-Mails? by George Zornick, The Nation, March 12. "Clinton made a calculation to delete anything that wasn't turned over--and to announce that fact publicly. Why might that be? What does she stand to gain, and lose, by doing that?"
- No Classified Emails by Clinton? Some Experts Are Skeptical by Scott Shane, New York Times, March 11. "Anyone who has tried to pry information from the federal government may have been surprised on Tuesday by Hillary Rodham Clinton's assertion that in all her emails in four years as secretary of state she never strayed into the classified realm."
- Hillary Clinton leaves some questions unanswered by Josh Gerstein, Politico, March 10. "Hillary Clinton finally took questions Tuesday about the email imbroglio complicating her efforts to launch a presidential bid, but the story has grown so complex that a single, 20-minute press conference did not address all the issues swirling around her decision to use a personal email as her sole account as secretary of state."
- Clinton Email Q and A, Office of Hillary Rodham Clinton, March 10. "We wanted to take this opportunity, given how much information has been circulating, to provide the best information we have about an understandably confusing situation."
- Some NSA Friends in Congress Admit They Don't Use Email by Steven Nelson, U.S. News, March 9. "It's surprising to hear that any national political figure would be unfamiliar with email," he says. "It suggests a lack of competence or a lack of curiosity about one of the features of contemporary life."
- Senate torture report: An exception in CIA oversight by Ken Dilanian, Associated Press, March 9. "The resulting report, a summary of which was released in December, was a rare instance of an oversight committee seeking to hold the CIA accountable in a public way. It also was the most detailed critique of the CIA in a generation."
- Hillary Clinton, too cautious for her own good by Dana Milbank, Washington Post, March 6. "This week's revelation that she used only private e-mail to conduct her public business as secretary of state is not a knockout blow to the likely Democratic presidential nominee; she has weathered worse. But it is a needless, self-inflicted wound."
- As Clinton Asks For Release Of Emails, An Undisclosed Number Remain Private by Ruby Cramer, Buzzfeed, March 5. "The former secretary of state said late Wednesday that she's asked the State Department to release her emails. But questions remain about how those emails were selected to be sent to State -- and what might have been left out."
- What This Cybersecurity Expert Thinks We Should Know About Hillary Clinton's 'Private' Email System by Ken McIntyre, The Daily Signal, March 5. "Americans deserve specific answers from the Obama administration about Hillary Rodham Clinton's exclusive use of private email during her four years as the nation's top diplomat to foreign governments, a leading cybersecurity expert says."
- Experts: Clinton Email Practices Risked Data Disclosures by Stephen Braun, Associated Press, March 5. " Hillary Rodham Clinton's use of a private email address and private computer server for official State Department business heightened security risks to her communications, such as the inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information and the danger from hackers, several information security experts said."
- Petraeus, Justice and Washington's Culture of Leaks by Eli Lake, BloombergView, March 4. "But classified information hasn't been safe in Washington for some time now. The Petraeus affair is in this sense a small scandal. The much larger one is that some leakers are punished mildly, others are punished harshly and most are not punished at all."
- Hillary Clinton's Homemade System May Have Put Her Email at Risk by Shane Harris, The Daily Beast, March 3. "A server at home kept every message she sent and received as secretary of state--and it was built by a mystery man."
- Hillary's emails 'not technically illegal' by Julian Hattem, The Hill, March 3. "Hillary Clinton's exclusive use of a personal email account to conduct official business as secretary of State caused seems to have stayed within the law, experts say."
- David Petraeus signs plea deal over giving classified info to mistress by Michael Gordon, Charlotte Observer, March 3. "Former CIA director and retired Gen. David Petraeus is pleading guilty to mishandling classified information, apparently avoiding an embarrassing trial that would have included his affair with Paula Broadwell, according to documents filed in Charlotte on Tuesday."
- Hillary Clinton's Email Use Worries Foes of Government Secrecy by Peter Nicholas and Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal, March 3. "Groups warn such practices could deprive public of full view of her tenure at State Department."
- Hillary Clinton's Personal Email Use Came Before Recent Rule Changes by Brent Kendall, Wall Street Journal, March 3. "Federal laws and regulations on preserving government records only recently have begun to catch up with how U.S. officials communicate, a fact highlighted by the public stir over Hillary Clinton's private email use as secretary of state."
- David Petraeus Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Removal and Retention of Classified Materials, bill of information, statement of facts, plea agreement, March 3. "All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1924."
Older News: February 2015