NGOs to Congress: Don’t Hide Our Secret Government

I noted last week that the Senate Intelligence Committee had acceded to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s request that it repeal the requirement that his office produce a yearly report on the number of people with security clearances.

On Tuesday a group of NGOs wrote the Intelligence Committees asking they reverse course and retain the report requirement. They argue, in part, that the report has generated far more attention than typical government reports. And that the report offered the public an unprecedented understanding of the size of the clearance community.

We believe the annual report on security clearances provides exceptional value to the public and should continue to be published.
In the two years that the report has been produced, it has dramatically altered our conception of the size and scale of the personnel security clearance system. Prior to the reporting requirement, the Government Accountability Office could only estimate the number of security cleared personnel, and its latest estimate was low by more than a million clearances.
As evidence of the exceptional public interest in this report, we note that the findings of the latest annual report have appeared in the New York Times (July 24), the Washington Post (July 28), and McClatchy Papers (July 27), among others. As you know, this level of attention is well above average for a report to Congress on any topic.
Through this annual reporting requirement, your Committees have provided an unprecedented degree of transparency concerning the security clearance system. We thank you for that, and we respectfully request that you maintain this important reporting requirement.

Let’s hope that bit of flattery at the end works. If not, I guess we can conclude that even this tiny bit of transparency on our secret government is deemed too much for mere citizens to have.

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2 Responses to NGOs to Congress: Don’t Hide Our Secret Government

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @DemFromCT Which is not my preferred outcome, but almost certainly what will happen.
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emptywheel @DemFromCT I think some combo of King, Ernst, McCain, and Kirk will provide votes to put USAF over next Sunday.
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emptywheel RT @joanneleon: Here's a clip I created of last night's Senate showdown on short term reauth PATRIOT Act bulk surveillance http://t.co/gnE9
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emptywheel LOL. Ron Johnson voted for USAF last night. Both 2016 WI General and MD primary affecting surveillance votes already.
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emptywheel @DemFromCT All the spooks (except the ones who read me religiously, as they have admitted) tell me I'm not one!
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emptywheel @DemFromCT Also, I'm not transcribing. It probably helps to assess things from far away bc no one even tries to dictate to me.
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emptywheel @NadiaKayyali @TyreJim & yet neither of your drunk or sober CSPAN watchers has created a clip of McConnell's humiliating defeat last night?
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emptywheel If I can predict what is going to happen a full month before it does those in DC might be able to report what happened after it did, right?
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emptywheel This prediction of McConnell's plan--down to imposing data "retention" for iMessage--proved correct. https://t.co/N5zxWvmnoO
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bmaz @Popehat @jadler1969 Clearly. I would think both party consent would be the norm though.
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emptywheel @billyez2 Think even Ernst said something that indicated she might consider flipping. They prolly can get to 60 pretty easily.
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emptywheel @billyez2 I'll hold you to that! Also, expect King would flip, since he voted USAF in November.
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August 2012
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