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article imageObama's transparent administration demands less transparency

By Ken Hanly     May 10, 2014 in Politics
Washington - On becoming president Barack Obama promised his administration would be the most transparent ever. His actions go counter to any such claim. He has prosecuted whistleblowers and failed to provide information on the drone program among other actions.
After all the secrecy about NSA mass surveillance program and the revelations of Edward Snowden, critics of Obama are scornful of his transparency claims. The latest directive from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence carries on in the same direction of less transparency not more.
Government officials have long used information that is well-known but technically not officially released because it came from unauthorized disclosures. This practice will now be stopped. The new policy demands that current and former employees as well as contractors may not cite reports that come from leaks of information in any of their speeches, opinion articles, books, term papers or other unofficial writings.
The new pre-publication review policy from James Clapper's Office of Director of National Intelligence as cited in the New York Times warns that officials “must not use sourcing that comes from known leaks, or unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information. The use of such information in a publication can confirm the validity of an unauthorized disclosure and cause further harm to national security.” Violation of the policy could result in civil and administrative penalties as well as loss of security clearances.
The new policy follows on a policy issued last March by Clapper that bars officials in 17 different agencies from talking to journalists even about unclassified information related to intelligence. Intelligence officials in the past have been compelled to submit their writings to pre-publication review in order to receive security clearances but the new policy is broader in that it would include not only the "protection of classified information" but also the "unauthorized disclosure of information" in general even though the information might not be classified. The review document can be found here.
The new policy was reported on in a blog by Steven Aftergood of the Project on Secrecy for the American Federation of Scientists. The blog reports the directive as follows:“All ODNI personnel are required to submit all official and non-official information intended for public release for review," The directive had been updated as of April 8. The blog points out that the new policy does not distinguish between classified and unclassified information.
More about Obama transparency claims, information availabililty, James Clapper Jr
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