Friday, February 06, 2009

Homeland Security Intelligence Bill Aims to Improve Sharing

Corey McKenna writes on Government Technology:

U.S. intelligence gathering is pretty good. Investigations post-9/11 showed that information had been known that could have stopped the hijackers at several points. The point where it breaks down is in the sharing. The result is the worst attack against civilians on U.S. soil in history. Sharing intelligence may have helped those indicators stick out by connecting the dots. Legislation passed by the House earlier this week may make sharing the necessary intelligence more common.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that seeks to reduce the over-classification of intelligence information and increase the amount that gets shared. "Though hard to believe, sheriffs and police chiefs can't readily access the information they need to prevent or disrupt a potential terrorist attack because those at the federal level resist sharing information," U.S. Representative Jane Harman said. "Over-classification and pseudo-classification -- stamping with any number of sensitive but unclassified markings -- remain rampant."

The 9/11 Commission and others have observed that the over-classification of information related to homeland security interferes with timely sharing of accurate and actionable information. It also increases the cost of information security and needlessly limits public access to information.

Therefore, DHS should assume that all information that is not properly classified or designated as controlled unclassified information and otherwise exempt from disclosure should be made available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act.

More here.


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