ISOO ASKS ATTORNEY GENERAL TO RULE ON CHENEY'S ROLE

In an extraordinary internal challenge to the unruly Office of the Vice President (OVP), the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) has formally petitioned the Attorney General to direct the OVP to comply with a requirement that executive branch organizations disclose statistics on their classification and declassification activity to ISOO.

For the last three years, Vice President Cheney's office has refused to divulge its classification statistics to ISOO, despite a seemingly explicit requirement that it do so. Prior to 2002, such information had routinely been transmitted and reported in ISOO's annual reports to the President.

The disclosure requirement appears in ISOO Directive 1 (at section 2001.80): "Each agency that creates or handles classified information shall report annually to the Director of ISOO statistics related to its security classification program."

Such ISOO directives "shall be binding upon the agencies," President Bush wrote in Executive Order 13292 (section 5.1). Significantly, an "agency" here means not only a statutorily-defined executive branch agency (which would not include the OVP), but also refers to "any other entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information" (which would include the OVP).

Last May, the Federation of American Scientists urged ISOO to press for the Vice President's compliance. (SN, 05/31/06).

"Since the Office of the Vice President has publicly staked out a position that openly defies the plain language of the executive order, ISOO now has a responsibility to clarify the matter," we wrote at that time. "Otherwise, every agency will feel free to re-interpret the order in idiosyncratic and self-serving ways."

//www.fas.org/sgp/news/2006/05/isoo-ovp.pdf


From Secrecy News -- 02/06/07



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