Posts from April, 2009

IG Report Blasts the Director of National Intelligence

The Director of National Intelligence has failed to exercise adequate leadership of the Intelligence Community (IC), which continues to suffer from poor integration, unjustified barriers to information sharing, and other defects, according to a remarkably critical November 2008 report of the ODNI Inspector General (pdf) that was released yesterday.

Even within the Office of the DNI, there is “declining employee confidence in ODNI leadership,” wrote Inspector General Edward Maguire.  He cited a survey which found that the number of ODNI employees reporting a “high level of respect for ODNI senior leaders” declined 10% from 2006 to 2007.

Among numerous other problem areas, the IG said that “The risk of waste and abuse has increased with a surge in government spending and a growing trend toward establishing large, complex contracts to support mission requirements throughout the IC; yet many procurements receive limited oversight because they fall below the threshold for mandatory oversight.”

The Inspector General did not address problems of overclassification in intelligence, but did call for greater efforts to combat leaks:

“The DNI should team with DoJ to develop more effective approaches to stopping the proliferation of unauthorized disclosures of classified information.  Some of these unauthorized disclosures have been extremely harmful to conducting intelligence operations and protecting sources and methods.”

The IG report also did not address continuing questions about the Intelligence Community’s compliance with the law in its surveillance and interrogation activities, but observed that “Legal issues and confusion about what the law actually requires can pose some of the greatest impediments to the IG’s national security mission.”

Restricted Data Declassification Decisions, 1946-2002

The Department of Energy this week released its most recent compilation of all decisions to declassify nuclear weapons-related information.

The new release (pdf), dated 2002, is the eighth and the last in what had been an annual series of such compilations.  Unlike the others, however, it was marked “Official Use Only” and was not made publicly available.  But DoE released it in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Federation of American Scientists.

See “Restricted Data Declassification Decisions, 1946 to the Present (RDD-8),” U.S. Department of Energy, January 1, 2002, 169 pages.

One of the latest declassification decisions, approved in 2001 and disclosed in the new compilation, acknowledges the previously classified “fact that gas centrifuge rotors are fabricated on mandrels.”  A mandrel is a spindle or metal shaft around which other parts rotate.

New Military Doctrinal Publications

Noteworthy new documents on military doctrine of one sort or another include the following (all pdf).

The participation of U.S. armed forces in humanitarian assistance operations abroad is governed by “Foreign Humanitarian Assistance,” Joint Publication 3-29, 17 March 2009, 223 pages.

Almost every function or task performed by the U.S. Army is captured and organized hierarchically in “The Army Universal Task List,” Field Manual (FM) 7-15, February 2009, 480 pages.

The safe and secure operation of U.S. Army nuclear reactors is prescribed in “Army Reactor Program,” Army Regulation 50-7, March 28, 2009, 35 pages.

Air Force Base Adopts “100% Shred Policy”

Last month, Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana announced the adoption of what it calls a “100 percent shred policy for all paperwork and materials generated on base” as a way of eliminating unauthorized disclosures.

“Shredding is vital to the overall security of our base and our mission,” said Eileen Gallagher, 341st Communications Squadron Base Records Manager.  See “Getting into the habit: 100 percent shred policy begins March 17,” Malmstrom AFB, March 10, 2009.

As authority for the new shredding policy, the Air Force cited a March 2008 directive on Operations Security (pdf), which does indeed specify a “100% Shred Policy” (at section 1.4.18.2):

“Whenever feasible, all unclassified paper products across AFSPC [Air Force Space Command], except for newspapers and magazines, will be shredded prior to disposal or removal from the workplace for recycling, preventing our adversaries from exploiting the enormous amounts of crucial information we generate while accomplishing our various mission areas.”

On close inspection, however, the words “prior to disposal” seem to be crucial.  The 100% shred policy apparently applies only to records that have been specifically approved for disposal, and not literally to “all paperwork and materials generated on base.”  Air Force Manual 33-363 on “Management of Records” (pdf) directs all Air Force employees to adhere to legal requirements on preservation of official records.