Posts from March, 2008

CIA Task Force on Leaks (2002)

Although there is no foolproof system of preventing unauthorized disclosures of classified information (“leaks”), there are a variety of new technical tools that can deter such disclosures or facilitate identification of those who compromise information security, according a 2002 CIA Task Force Report that was released last year under the Freedom of Information Act.

See “Interagency Task Force Report on Unauthorized Disclosure of Classified Information” (pdf), CIA Directorate of Science and Technology, 25 March 2002.

A supplementary paper argued that new legislation against leaks was “urgently needed.” The author singled out the National Security Archive and the Federation of American Scientists for propagating the “popular myth that the government over-classifies everything, and classifies way too much.” See “Leaks: How Unauthorized Media Disclosures of US Classified Intelligence Damage Sources and Methods” (pdf), Foreign Denial and Deception Committee, 24 April 2002.

The interagency process ultimately rejected the view that new legislation was needed. An October 2002 report to Congress from the Attorney General indicated that existing tools to combat leaks appeared to be adequate.

The President’s Intelligence Advisory Board

President Bush issued Executive Order 13462 last week redesignating the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) as the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB), and modifying the Board’s functions and interactions with the executive branch.

The Order appeared to diminish the Board’s autonomy and to further reduce its influence, which has been negligible in recent years.

It was reported by Pamela Hess of the Associated Press in “New White House Order Bolsters Intelligence Chief’s Power,” February 29.

The new Order and the 1993 Order that it superseded were critically compared by Smintheus in Daily Kos.

Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and More from CRS

Noteworthy new reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following (all pdf).

“Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Issues and Arguments,” February 28, 2008.

“Fusion Centers: Issues and Options for Congress,” updated January 18, 2008.

“The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: A Brief Overview of Selected Issues,” updated February 8, 2008.

“The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: Comparison of House-Passed H.R. 3773, S. 2248 as Reported By the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and S. 2248 as Reported Out of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” updated February 8, 2008.

“Operation Iraqi Freedom: Strategies, Approaches, Results, and Issues for Congress,” February 22, 2008.

“Defense Contracting in Iraq: Issues and Options for Congress,” updated January 29, 2008.

“FY2009 Defense Budget: Issues for Congress,” February 11, 2008.