from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2006, Issue No. 84
July 28, 2006

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Some intriguing new details of U.S. intelligence policy were disclosed in two reports on the implementation of the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 that were issued yesterday by the House Intelligence Committee and by the Director of National Intelligence.

Beyond broad conclusions on the status of intelligence reform, each report voiced numerous passing observations of interest, both favorable and critical.

The report of the House Intelligence Committee noted the following, for example:

The report also provided new information on developments in intelligence analysis, intelligence reform at the FBI, the production of the President's Daily Brief, and more. See the full report of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Subcommittee on Oversight here:

The report of the Director of National Intelligence addressed many of the same topics, though without the criticism or frustration expressed in the House report, and with some additional details.

For example, the DNI has established what sounds like a knock-off of the JASON defense advisory group:

And changes to national security classification policy in intelligence may be on the horizon:

See the full DNI report here:


Reciprocity in security clearances -- meaning the acceptance by one agency of a security clearance granted by another agency, and vice versa -- has been an elusive security policy goal for well over a decade. But lately it has become the subject of increased attention.

"The Director [of National Intelligence] has done little to ensure the reciprocal recognition of security clearances within the [Intelligence] Community," the House Intelligence Committee complained in its new report.

"It def[ies] common sense... that it takes months to transfer clearances for an individual who will work in the exact same space but transfer from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to the CIA," the House report said.

A July 17 memo from the Office of Management and Budget addresses the problem of reciprocity in highly restricted "special access programs," and provides a checklist of permitted exceptions to reciprocity. See:

The Department of Defense and Department of Energy have each issued new directives lately on reciprocal recognition of security clearances.


The Freedom of Information Act "continues to be a valuable tool for citizens to obtain information about the operation and decisions of the federal government," the Government Accountability Office reported at a July 26 House hearing.

"Since 2002, agencies have received increasing numbers of requests and have also continued to increase the number of requests that they process. In addition, agencies continue to grant most requests in full. However, the rate of increase in pending requests is accelerating," the GAO concluded in its testimony, which provided substantial new data on individual agency FOIA practices.

Critical assessments of FOIA policy were also presented by Patrice McDermott of and by Tonda Rush of the Sunshine in Government Initiative. Dan Metcalfe presented the viewpoint of the Department of Justice at the hearing, which also featured Senator Patrick Leahy, Sen. John Cornyn, and Rep. Brad Sherman.

See the prepared statements from "Implementing FOIA-- Does the Bush Administration's Executive Order Improve Processing?" hearing before the Subcommittee on Government Management of the House Government Reform Committee, July 26:

On July 24, a federal court told the National Reconnaissance Office that it could not use the "operational files" exemption to withhold its Congressional Budget Justification Book from processing under the FOIA (Secrecy News, 7/25/06).

But on July 25, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency denied a FOIA request for a copy of its Congressional Budget Justification Book. Why? Because, NGA said, it is an "operational file" that is exempt from FOIA processing. Sigh. An appeal was filed explaining that this claim has been found unlawful.

And see, relatedly, "Judge: Spy satellite budget can be FOIA-ed," by Shaun Waterman, United Press International, July 27:


The Department of Defense has published a new manual on the conduct of "technical intelligence" operations, or TECHINT.

Technical intelligence here refers to the collection, analysis and exploitation of captured enemy materiel and documentation. TECHINT serves to maintain U.S. technological advantage on the battlefield and helps to counter adversary weapons systems and operations.

TECHINT roles and missions are described in a new inter-service manual. A copy was obtained by Secrecy News.

See "TECHINT: Multi-Service Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Technical Intelligence Operations," FM 2-22.401, 9 June 2006:


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

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