Photos
Article
(The following article is used with permission.)

by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News

The primary lesson that emerges from the unauthorized disclosures of classified intelligence information by Edward Snowden is that U.S. intelligence agencies must be more transparent in their operations, said Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper yesterday.

"The major takeaway for us, certainly for me, from the past several months is that we must lean in the direction of transparency, wherever and whenever we can," DNI Clapper told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2014_hr/012914clapper-del.pdf 

"With greater transparency about these intelligence programs the American people may be more likely to accept them," he said, promising "further declassification."

Another possibility, he acknowledged, is that even with greater transparency the American people will choose not to accept certain kinds of intelligence programs.

"If dealing with reduced capacities is what we need to ensure the faith and confidence of the American people and their elected representatives, then we in the intelligence community will work as hard as we can to meet the expectations before us," DNI Clapper said.

Already, the Snowden disclosures have caused "profound damage" to U.S.
intelligence, the DNI said.

"What Snowden has stolen and exposed has gone way, way beyond his professed concerns with so-called domestic surveillance programs. As a result, we've lost critical foreign intelligence collection sources, including some shared with us by valued partners."

"Snowden claims that he's won and that his mission is accomplished. If that is so, I call on him and his accomplices to facilitate the return of the remaining stolen documents that have not yet been exposed to prevent even more damage to U.S. security," the DNI said.

The use of the word "accomplices" appeared to suggest that the DNI views the journalists who possess and report on the Snowden documents as Snowden's partners in crime, and even as criminals themselves.

"Is it now the official view of the Obama administration that these journalists and media outlets are 'accomplices' in what they regard as Snowden's crimes? If so, that is a rather stunning and extremist statement," wrote Glenn Greenwald, who first reported on the Snowden releases last June.

But though it has never yet figured in an actual prosecution, the issue of criminal liability for journalists in this area is embedded in the law.

It's true that there is no general legal prohibition on publication of classified information. (Congress passed such a statute in 2000, but President Clinton vetoed it.)

But there *is* a clear and specific prohibition on the willful disclosure of classified communications intelligence information. And that prohibition, in 18 U.S.C. 798, extends also to anyone who "publishes" such information.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/798 

What is "stunning," or at least noteworthy, is that the Obama Administration has apparently made a strategic decision not to attempt to enforce this provision of the law against publishers of the Snowden documents. (It was invoked against Snowden himself as one of the three counts in a June 14, 2013 criminal complaint.)

It seems that even what the DNI called "the most massive and most damaging theft of intelligence information in our history by Edward Snowden and the ensuing avalanche of revelations published and broadcast around the world" is not sufficient to trigger the use of the criminal statute against publishers of classified communications intelligence. So that provision is effectively a dead letter, even if it still finds a faint echo in the DNI's testimony before Congress.

Source and special thanks (used with permission): Secrecy News

Other Popular Articles
 
Comments
Order by: 
Per page: 
 
  • There are no comments yet
The Social Network Buzz - Comment using your Facebook, AOL, Hotmail or Yahoo! account
Info
Administrator
The Black Vault Owner/Operator
01.31.2014 (179 days ago)
342 Views
0 Subscribers
All News by Administrator
Share This Article
Rate
0 votes
Related News
It’s not just Lois Lerner’s e-mails.
42 days ago · From Administrator
“Emerging Intelligence Technologies” is the theme of the latest issue of the U.S. Army’s Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin (MIPB), January-March 2014.
75 days ago · From Administrator
The Central Intelligence Agency today asked a court to allow more time to declassify its response to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on CIA rendition, detention and interrogation
75 days ago · From Administrator
The ongoing transition to electronic storage of individual health information was examined in a newly released study from the JASON scientific advisory panel.
79 days ago · From Administrator
All employees of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are required to obtain authorization before disclosing any intelligence-related information to the public.
82 days ago · From Administrator
DNI CLAPPER: TRANSPARENCY IS THE WAY FORWARD