Tag Archives: whistleblower

2012 Secrecy Report

OpenTheGovernment.org has published its annual secrecy report. Among its highlights:

Federal Circuit Court Whistleblower Decisions: 3-226 Against Whistleblowers
Classified Information
• National/Military Intelligence Budgets Disclosed
• Security-Cleared Population Reaches New Reported High
• Original Classification Decisions Fall by 44%; Lowest Since 1996
• $215 Spent Keeping Secrets for Every Dollar Spent on Declassification
• National Declassification Center—Progress Made, But Goal Not Reached
• Success of Mandatory Declassification Leads to 8% Growth in Requests, Continued Rise in Backlogs
• Classification Challenges Plummet by 90%
• State Secrets Privilege Policy: Impact Unclear, IG Referrals Unknown
Invention Secrecy Orders in Effect Rise by 2%
Use of National Security Letters Continues to Increase
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) Approvals Rise 11%

The Report is produced by more than 80 different groups which advocate for more open government, and has a steering committee comprising such luminaries as Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) and Tom Blanton of the National Security Archive.

Bamford rebuts NSA Chief

A little late with this, but it’s too significant not to note. After James Bamford’s recent Wired piece (presumably a piece from a new book though it doesn’t say that explicitly), NSA Director and Commander, US Cyber Command General Keith Alexander (who appeared in person at the last GEOINT) appeared before Congress and was subjected to questioning during which he denied that the NSA has the capability to spy on Americans domestically.

Bamford has now posted a longish rebuttal of Alexander, who he accuses of overly carefully parsing words, and being part of a history and culture of lying about NSA capabilities. In his piece Bamford quotes from former NSA operatives who provide firsthand accounts of listening to phone calls between say an American overseas and their families at home in the US.

Bamford closes with a call for more openness:

For years, public interest groups such as the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center have been trying through court suits to find out the extend of NSA’s eavesdropping on Americans, only to be rebuffed at every turn with claims of secrecy, while whistleblowers such as Adrienne Kinne, David Murfee Faulk, and William Binney have risked going to prison in order to expose NSA’s actions.

Now that General Alexander has broached the subject in an open session of Congress, it is time for the American people to know the real truth about their communications, not heavily parsed, qualified denials about an unlikely hypothetical. Let Congress call an open panel where whistleblowers such as Kinne, Faulk, and Binney give sworn testimony, and NSA, at last, responds fully concerning its domestic involvement.