DNI Issues Directive on Civil Liberties and Privacy

The Director of National Intelligence “is committed to protecting civil liberties and privacy, which are foundational principles of our Nation’s democratic society, preserved in the Constitution of the United States, and guaranteed in Federal law.”

So states a new Intelligence Community Directive on Civil Liberties and Privacy, signed by DNI James R. Clapper on August 31, 2012.

Beyond affirming the value of civil liberties, the new directive — ICD 107 — also directs the establishment of oversight mechanisms and of procedures for redress of alleged violations.

The DNI directive does not include definitions of privacy or civil liberties, and its practical meaning is somewhat elusive.

“Intelligence activities shall be conducted in a manner that protects civil liberties and privacy,” the directive states.  But that seemingly categorical statement is rendered ambiguous by the very next sentence.

“The IC shall protect civil liberties and privacy in a manner that enables proper intelligence integration and information sharing and safeguarding.”

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