Secrecy News -- 07/16/07 (Cloaks)

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Aftergood, Steven

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Jul 16, 2007, 1:43:28 PM7/16/07
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SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 72
July 16, 2007

Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

Support Secrecy News:
http://www.fas.org/static/contrib_sec.jsp


** FEWER NEW SECRETS, BUT MORE CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS IN 2006
** VARIOUS RESOURCES


FEWER NEW SECRETS, BUT MORE CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS IN 2006

For the second year in a row, the number of new national security
secrets created by government officials declined, according to a new
report to the President from the Information Security Oversight Office
(ISOO).

At the same time, however, the number of new classified records
incorporating previously classified information increased sharply, ISOO
found.

While "original classifications" declined by 10%, "derivative
classifications" increased by 45%. As a result, total classification
activity grew from 14.2 million classification actions in 2005 to 20.5
million classification actions in 2006.

Meanwhile, the financial costs of protecting classified information in
government and industry grew to a new record high of $9.5 billion in
2006.

Significantly, ISOO reviewers reported a "high error rate" in the
documents that they examined for compliance with classification
procedures.

The finding underscores the need for additional oversight.

"ISOO found a high percentage of documents with an unknown basis for
classification, as these documents failed to indicate the authority or
basis for classification, thereby calling into question the propriety of
their classification."

More positively, ISOO found that declassification activity increased to
meet the December 31, 2006 deadline for automatic declassification of
most 25 year old classified documents.

"While a detailed analysis of the final results is still underway, it
appears that all Executive branch agencies have succeeded in meeting
their obligations toward automatic declassification," ISOO director J.
William Leonard wrote to President Bush in his transmittal letter.

More than 1.33 billion pages of classified historical records have been
declassified since 1995 (including 37 million pages in 2006, a one year
increase of 27 percent). Of these, only around 460 million pages are
publicly available at the National Archives. Another 400 million pages
await processing at the Archives prior to public release, while the
remainder are still in agency custody.

"A task that at times appeared to be unattainable has been brought to a
satisfactory culmination," Mr. Leonard wrote.

But the task is not over, he noted, since each year millions more
additional records become 25 years old and subject to automatic
declassification.

A copy of the 2006 Information Security Oversight Office Report to the
President is here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/isoo/2006rpt.pdf

Once again, the Office of the Vice President declined to cooperate with
ISOO last year and to provide data on its classification and
declassification activity. It last reported to ISOO in 2002.


VARIOUS RESOURCES

In accordance with new legislative transparency provisions, the Senate
Intelligence Committee identified three funding "earmarks" in the
pending intelligence authorization bill for FY 2008. See these July 9
remarks of Committee Chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller:

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2007_cr/sen-earmark.html

The record of a January 2007 hearing on presidential signing statements
that was held by the House Judiciary Committee has now been published:

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2007_hr/signing.html

A 1942 U.S. military intelligence document describes "German tactical
doctrine," based on the accounts of four American officers who were
allowed to study at the German General Staff School from 1935-1939.
"From their illuminating reports it is possible to learn the trend of
German methods and teachings up to Hitler's attack on Poland," according
to the 1942 Foreword. Originally published in 1989, the document was
recently made available online.

http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/navy/german.pdf

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

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_______________________
Steven Aftergood
Project on Government Secrecy
Federation of American Scientists
web: www.fas.org/sgp/index.html
email: safte...@fas.org
voice: (202) 454-4691

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