from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2013, Issue No. 96
November 6, 2013

Secrecy News Blog:


"The increasing pace and adoption of global scientific and technological discovery heighten the risk of strategic or tactical surprise and, over time, reduce the advantages of our intelligence capabilities," according to a new report on U.S. intelligence research and development programs from a congressionally-mandated Commission.

"Foreign countries' growing expertise and proficiency in a number of emerging or potentially disruptive technologies and industries--gained either by improving their own capabilities, by using surreptitious methods, or by taking advantage of an erosion of U.S. capabilities and U.S. control over critical supply chains--have the potential to cause great harm to the national security of the United States and its allies," the report said.

In order to adapt, the report said, the US intelligence community will need to place renewed emphasis on scientific and technical intelligence; improve coordination and management of competing collection and analysis programs; and accelerate the production of actionable intelligence, among other recommended steps.

See the Report of the National Commission for the Review of the Research and Development Programs of the United States Intelligence Community, Unclassified Version, released November 2013:

The Commission also produced a White Paper on The IC's Role Within U.S. Cyber R&D:


Department of Defense special access programs (SAPs) will normally remain classified for at least 40 years, according to newly issued DoD SAP marking guidance.

SAPs are established to protect particularly sensitive government information by imposing access requirements that exceed those for other classified information.

"SAP documents, dated prior to January 1, 1982, shall be declassified on December 31, 2021," the DoD marking guidance said. "SAP documents dated after January 1, 1982, shall be declassified on December 31 of the 40th year after the date of the document, unless it is reviewed and submitted for another extension."

See Special Access Program (SAP) Security Manual: Marking, DoD Manual 5205.07, vol. 4, October 10, 2013:

The use of special access controls by the Department of Defense has proved problematic over the years because it disrupts the oversight protocols that would otherwise be in effect. DoD SAPs have produced several multi-billion dollar program failures, including the A-12 aircraft, the TSSAM missile, and others.

There is a substantial record of improper creation of SAPs at DoD, and failure to properly terminate them. A 1992 DoD Inspector General audit of one such program, for example, found that "the decision to protect the program using special program measures was not adequately justified" AND DoD "continued to safeguard its association with the technology for reasons that were not related to national security."

Unfortunately, a recent DoD Inspector General report on Department classification policy completely failed to assess the current use of special access controls by DoD. It was one of several defects and omissions in the DoD IG report. See "DoD Inspector General Report on Overclassification Misses the Mark," Secrecy News, October 24, 2013:


New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

The FY2014 Government Shutdown: Economic Effects, November 1, 2013:

Legislative Actions to Repeal, Defund, or Delay the Affordable Care Act, October 30, 2013:

Membership of the 113th Congress: A Profile, October 31, 2013:

Salaries of Members of Congress: Recent Actions and Historical Tables, November 4, 2013:

Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2013, November 4, 2013:

Women in the United States Congress: Historical Overview, Tables, and Discussion, September 26, 2013:

Women in the United States Congress, 1917-2013: Biographical and Committee Assignment Information, and Listings by State and Congress, September 26, 2013:

Burma's Political Prisoners and U.S. Sanctions, October 30, 2013:

Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances, November 1, 2013:

Israel: Background and U.S. Relations, November 1, 2013:

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses, November 4, 2013:


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

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