ACLU Releases Report on US Government Secrecy

The report can be found here. Notable excerpts are as follows:

According  to  the  Washington  Post,  there  are  1,271  government  organizations  and  1,931 private companies working on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence, and an estimated 854,000 people hold top-secret security clearances.

In  2009,  the  Government  Accountability  Office  estimated  that  about  2.4  million  Depart-ment of Defense civilian, military and contractor personnel hold security clearances at the confidential, secret and top secret levels.11 Remarkably, this figure does not include per-sonnel at intelligence agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Intelligence Authorization Act of 2010 required the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to calculate and report the aggregate number of security clearances for all government employees and contractors to Congress by February 2011, but the DNI has so far failed to produce this data.

The cost of protecting these secrets has also skyrocketed over the last several years. ISOO estimated  security  classification  activities  cost  the  executive  branch  over  $10.17  billion in 2010, a 15% increase from 2009, and cost industry an additional $1.25 billion, up 11% from the previous year.17 A meager 0.5% of this amount was spent on declassification. The government spent only $50.44 million on declassification in 2010, which is $182.74 million less than it spent in 1999.18 The fact is, there are significant physical costs associated with protecting our secrets, and unnecessary classification wastes security resources.

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