from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2013, Issue No. 45
May 8, 2013

Secrecy News Blog:


Almost a year and a half after he was nominated by President Obama in December 2011, the Senate yesterday confirmed David Medine to be the chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board by a vote of 53-45.

Republicans, led by Sen. Charles Grassley, opposed the nominee and voted against him.

"I was disappointed that he failed to answer a basic yes-or-no question about national security law: 'Do you believe that we are engaged in a war on terrorism?'," Sen. Grassley said. "Instead of a simple yes or no, he opted for a more limited answer that military power is permissible in appropriate cases."

Democrats, led by Sen. Patrick Leahy, praised Mr. Medine and the Board that he will now lead.

"The confirmation of this nominee is a significant victory for all Americans who care about safeguarding our privacy rights and civil liberties," Sen. Leahy said. "The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is a guardian of Americans' privacy rights and civil liberties as well as an essential part of our national security strategy," he said.

But this seems like an overstatement. The size of the five-member Board and the resources available to it are not commensurate with the responsibilities it has nominally been assigned. It cannot possibly perform comprehensive oversight of the broad range of privacy or civil liberties concerns that arise in the national security domain. Expectations to the contrary are bound to be disappointed. At best, the Board may serve as a boutique oversight shop that tackles a couple of discrete policy issues each year.

For background on the origins and development of the Board, see Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board: New Independent Agency Status, Congressional Research Service, August 27, 2012:


The procedures by which the U.S. Air Force establishes international agreements for the exchange of intelligence information with foreign military services were described in a new Air Force Instruction.

"Foreign military organizations being considered for inclusion in an IIA (international intelligence agreement) must clearly support U.S. security and foreign policy objectives. The foreign government must have favorable relations with the United States; a well-developed, secure intelligence service; and a stable domestic environment and military unity. Known national characteristics of the foreign government in question must fall within the guidelines of the United States national disclosure and security policy, and be reasonably expected to have adequate fiscal means, and conform to legal guidelines," the Instruction states.

Such agreements must "Provide for mutual support (quid pro quo)" and must "Provide intelligence that would otherwise be denied to the United States." See Air Force Instruction 14-102, International Intelligence Agreements, April 29, 2013:

Another new Department of Defense Instruction governs records management within the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

"It is DoD policy," it states, "to limit the creation of records to those essential for the efficient conduct of official business and to preserve those of continuing value while systematically eliminating all others." See OSD Records and Information Management Program, Administrative Instruction 15, May 3, 2013:

Other noteworthy new military publications include the following.

Information Operations (IO), DoD Directive 3600.01, May 2, 2013:

DODD 5134.10 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), DoD Directive 5134.10, May 7, 2013:


New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has not made available to the public include the following.

The U.S. Science and Engineering Workforce: Recent, Current, and Projected Employment, Wages, and Unemployment, May 6, 2013:

Securing U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel Abroad: Background and Policy Issues, May 7, 2013:

Tax Reform in the 113th Congress: An Overview of Proposals, May 6, 2013:

Border Security: Immigration Enforcement Between Ports of Entry, May 3, 2013:

Terrorist Watch List Screening and Background Checks for Firearms, May 1, 2013:

Missing Adults: Background, Federal Programs, and Issues for Congress, May 7, 2013:

Kosovo: Current Issues and U.S. Policy, May 7, 2013:

Central America Regional Security Initiative: Background and Policy Issues for Congress, May 7, 2013:

Expulsion, Censure, Reprimand, and Fine: Legislative Discipline in the House of Representatives, May 2, 2013:

No-Fly Zones: Strategic, Operational, and Legal Considerations for Congress, May 3, 2013:

Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2013, May 3, 2013:


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

The Secrecy News blog is at:

To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, go to:


OR email your request to

Secrecy News is archived at:

SUPPORT the FAS Project on Government Secrecy with a donation here: