from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2012, Issue No. 69
July 16, 2012
Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/
- CHINA AND INTERNET FREEDOM, AND MORE FROM CRS
- ISCAP TO PROVIDE INCREASED DISCLOSURE OF ITS DECISIONS
CHINA AND INTERNET FREEDOM, AND MORE FROM CRS
Among the latest Congressional Research Service reports that have not been made readily available to the public are the following.
China, Internet Freedom, and U.S. Policy, July 13, 2012:
Department of Defense Implementation of the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative: Implications for Federal Information Technology Reform Management, July 12, 2012:
Confirmation of U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations in Presidential Election Years, July 12, 2012:
Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies, July 12, 2012:
Hydraulic Fracturing and Safe Drinking Water Act Issues, July 12, 2012:
An Analysis of Charitable Giving and Donor Advised Funds, July 11, 2012:
ISCAP TO PROVIDE INCREASED DISCLOSURE OF ITS DECISIONS
The Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) is preparing to provide improved public notification of its declassification and disclosure decisions.
The ISCAP, among its other duties, considers and rules on appeals from the public to declassify records that agencies have refused to release. The Panel, which was established by executive order in 1995, has actually succeeded beyond all reasonable expectations, declassifying information in the majority of cases presented to it. (My own requests were not among those that were decided in favor of disclosure.) According to the latest annual report from the Information Security Oversight Office:
"Since May 1996, the Panel decided upon a total of 1,195 documents. Of these, the Panel declassified additional information in 64 percent of the documents. Specifically, 291 documents (24 percent) were declassified in their entirety and 477 documents (40 percent) had some portions declassified while the classification of other portions was affirmed. During this time frame, the Panel fully affirmed the classification decisions of agencies in 427 documents (36 percent)."Last week, the ISCAP issued revised bylaws, including a new section on "dissemination of ISCAP decisions" (sec. 2003.14).
This section corresponds to the so-called "fourth function" assigned to ISCAP by President Obama's executive order 13526 that required the Panel to "appropriately inform senior agency officials and the public of final Panel decisions...." That provision did not exist in previous Administrations' executive orders, which listed only three functions for the ISCAP.
Another revised provision of the bylaws puts the ISCAP at the President's disposal to carry out other unspecified advisory functions, as needed. In language oddly reminiscent of the 1947 National Security Act section that was understood to authorize CIA covert action (by which the Agency is "to perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the National Security Council may from time to time direct"), the ISCAP bylaws (sec. 2003.15) state somewhat evasively:
"As directed by the President through the National Security Advisor, the ISCAP performs such additional advisory functions as are consistent with, and supportive of, the successful implementation of the Order."
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
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