The DNI's New Transparency Implementation Plan

By Carrie Cordero
Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 2:00 PM

Just this past hour, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Jim Clapper provided the keynote remarks at the public conference The Ethos and the Profession of Intelligence co-hosted by the CIA and the Center for Cyber & Homeland Security at George Washington University. The DNI focused on two “principles” initiatives that have taken place during his tenure: the Principles of Professional Ethics for the Intelligence Community, available here; and the Principles of Intelligence Transparency for the Intelligence Community, available here.

Today, the DNI released the Principles of Intelligence Transparency Implementation Plan, which is available here. I haven’t read the new implementation plan yet in detail as it was just released, but on quick scan, I am happy to see this statement:

"Transparency includes not only sharing information about the rules that apply to the IC and its compliance under those rules, but also sharing information about what the IC actually does in pursuit of its national security mission." [emphasis added]

As I wrote on this site almost exactly one year ago, a going-forward approach to intelligence transparency would do well to include:

“…substantive transparency about what the intelligence community actually knows about national security threats, how the United States interprets this information, and how that interpretation is connected to policy choices. This is probably the hardest to achieve in terms of balancing the need to protect national security information, but may be the most worthwhile area to spend time on. Guiding principles in pursuing this path should be that the information conveyed to the public should be timely (that is, relevant to current world events); accurate (that is, vetted, not crisis driven and requiring retraction or revision a few days later); and meaningful (that is, it usefully contributes to the domestic and international public debate)..”

I'll look forward to reading the new implementation plan and learning how the Intelligence Community plans to approach the goal of sharing more about what it does in support of its mission.