Intelligence Reform and Black Ops


What does the newly passed intelligence reform bill portend for the expansion of secrecy in the name of National Security? Secrecy News says it's a mixed bag:

The Act's rejection of intelligence budget disclosure—despite the unanimous recommendation of the 9/11 Commission and the endorsement of the full Senate—is a setback that tends to reinforce the arbitrary and excessive secrecy that the 9/11 Commission found in the intelligence bureaucracy.

On the more positive side, the Act revivifies the dormant Public Interest Declassification Board, formally established four years ago but never convened, and assigns it the additional task of "reviewing" congressional requests for declassification of particular records. Though the Board will have no independent authority to speak of, it may turn out to serve as a useful forum for adjudicating classification disputes.

Perhaps the most important secrecy-related feature of the Intelligence Reform Act is what is not in it: the authority to create an entirely autonomous new classification system for intelligence.