from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2005, Issue No. 73
August 2, 2005


The Department of Defense has updated and expanded its policy on investigating unauthorized disclosures of classified information.

"Unauthorized disclosure of classified information to the public reduces the effectiveness of DoD management; damages intelligence and operational capabilities; and lessens the Department of Defense's ability to protect critical information, technologies, and programs," the new Pentagon policy directive states.

"It is DoD policy that known or suspected instances of unauthorized public disclosure of classified information shall be reported promptly and investigated to decide the nature and circumstances of the disclosure, the extent of damage to national security, and the corrective and disciplinary action to be taken."

The directive assigns principal responsibility for dealing with leaks to the Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence).

Attached to the directive is a Department of Justice Media Leak Questionnaire which includes "eleven standard questions relating to unauthorized disclosures of classified information to the media" that must be answered.

Among the questions are: Was the information properly classified? Is the classified information disclosed accurate?

A copy of the new directive was obtained by Secrecy News.

See "Unauthorized Disclosure of Classified Information to the Public," DoD Directive 5210.50, signed by Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, July 22, 2005:


Throughout the government, agencies and officials are becoming more selective and self-conscious about what information they allow into the public domain.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the latest agency to articulate a policy on so-called Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) information that is to be withheld from disclosure.

The new CDC policy itemizes and helpfully defines no less than 27 information control categories that fall under the catch-all rubric of SBU. Many of them are little known or previously unheard of, such as Contractor Access Restricted Information (CARI).

The CDC properly notes that simply "marking information SBU does not automatically qualify it for a public release exemption."

On the other hand, "the absence of the SBU or other related marking does not necessarily mean the information should be publicly released."

The resultant policy follows logically if severely: "Therefore, all information should be reviewed and approved prior to its public release."

A copy of the new CDC policy was obtained by Secrecy News.

See "Sensitive But Unclassified Information," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 22, 2005:


"Hazing is contrary to our Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment," according to a new U.S. Navy Instruction.

Hazing means, among other things: "playing abusive or ridiculous tricks; threatening or offering violence or bodily harm to another; striking; branding; taping; tattooing; shaving; greasing; painting; requiring excessive physical exercise beyond what is required to meet standards; 'pinning'; 'tacking on'; 'blood wings'; or forcing or requiring the consumption of food, alcohol, drugs, or any other substance," the Instruction defines.

"It is Department of the Navy policy that hazing is prohibited and will not be tolerated."

See "Department of the Navy Policy on Hazing," Secretary of the Navy Instruction 1610.2A, 15 July 2005:

"As the military struggles during wartime to fill its ranks, commanders appear to be more sensitive than ever to accusations of abuse," according to an article on hazing in the New York Times on July 26.


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

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