from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2006, Issue No. 24
February 21, 2006

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U.S. military and intelligence agencies have assigned personnel to review and reclassify declassified historical records at the National Archives where they have withdrawn thousands of records from public access.

The seven year old secret program was reported today on the front page of the New York Times.

See "U.S. Reclassifies Many Documents in Secret Review" by Scott Shane, New York Times, February 21:

A detailed examination of the background and conduct of the reclassification program was prepared by historian Matthew M. Aid and posted on the web site of the National Security Archive today.

The Archive also posted several documents that have been withdrawn from public access under the secret review program.

An effort by historians is underway to enlist the Information Security Oversight Office and congressional oversight committees to check the unsupervised reclassification activity.

See "Declassification in Reverse: The Pentagon and the U.S. Intelligence Community's Secret Historical Document Reclassification Program," National Security Archive, February 21:

"Worried that sensitive information may have been improperly declassified in the late 1990s, government agencies took to scrubbing public records at the National Archives and elsewhere, pulling untold thousands of public records for 'review' and possible reclassification," I wrote last March in Slate.

"Many 30- or 50-year-old archival collections are a shadow of what they were just a few years ago."

A National Archives official challenged the accuracy of this claim at the time, but it now appears to be validated.

See "The Age of Missing Information" by Steven Aftergood, Slate, March 16, 2005:


The number of earmarks included in congressional appropriations bills, directing that money be spent in a particular and often self-interested way, has multiplied over the past decade, according to a study by the Congressional Research Service.

The CRS study has been widely cited in the press, but has not been readily available online. Now it is.

See "Earmarks in Appropriation Acts: FY1994, FY1996, FY1998, FY2000, FY2002, FY2004, FY2005," January 26, 2006:


With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, the U.S. intelligence community gained its fifteenth member.

Last week, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) became the sixteenth member.

"This designation does not grant DEA new authorities, but it does formalize the long-standing relationship between the DEA and the IC," according to a February 17 news release from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. See:


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

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