Booz Allen Hamilton’s Role as Strategic Censor

imagesA few months ago I published some information to my blog about Defense Leviathan Booz Allen Hamilton’s role as hired information tacticians. The Freedom of Information Act is already threatened with obselescence through endless Executive caveats (your Right to the Truth is arbitrary).

Booz Allen’s contract was renewed, a contract “not competitively procured.”

In 1995 by President William Jefferson Clinton signed Executive Order 12958, putting into place new guidelines for classified information and establishing a ”..five year time limit (April 1995 – April 2000) within which all classified information more than 25 years old and judged to be of permanent historical value shall be reviewed for declassification and declassified unless it meets certain definitive exemption criteria. All material not meeting the exemption criteria will be automatically declassified-whether or not the records have been reviewed”
“Your Right to Declassified Records” DoD http://open.dodlive.mil/link-library/declassification-of-dod-records/ ,

– putting intelligence agencies in a position to evaluate their vast troves of exclusive data and at least give a compulsory justification to continue to restrict access to it. To facilitate this enormous task, government agencies contracted with independent firms.

In February of 1998 Booz Allen Hamilton was under contract with the Department of Defense, paid handsomely by tax funds, to produce such material as the document from February 13, 1998 titled “Operations Security Impact on Declassification Management Within the Department of Defense.” A choice excerpt:

“The use of the Internet could reduce the unrestrained public appetite for “secrets” by providing good faith distraction material”“A strategy could then be devised by DoD and the components, based upon this evaluation, to implement a coherent and complimentary plan to achieve the declassification goals. For example:=> Diversion: List of interesting declassified material – i.e. Kennedy assassination data.”(http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/dod_opsec.html)

{The document made a number of declassification recommendations after its authors reviewed relevant archived materials, spoke with archival staff and interviewed three key individuals: Jean Schauble, the Director of the Records Declassification Division at the National Archives And Records Administration; LTC Gary Moore, the Operations Officer of the U.S. Army Declassification Activity; and “one interviewee from the Defense Intelligence Agency [name DELETED].”}

Booz Allen Hamilton is still prominently contracting per Executive Order 13526, as can be clearly inferred from a Google search of Executive Order 13526 booz allen jobs.

More of the document’s more relevant recommendations:

DoD needs to study and assess the use of the Internet in the overall departmental declassification strategy. As noted earlier, the Internet has become an integral part of the entire secrecy/declassification issue. The question becomes how to effectively utilize this tool to advance DoD declassification goals. First and foremost DoD must identify a clear set of specific goals; assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Internet and then devise a strategy to reach those goals. For the sake of a hypothetical model assume that the DoD goals are:

* Conduct a declassification review of all 25 year old material

=> Identify and segregate that material which should remain classified=> Declassify and make available to the general public that material which no longer needs protection.=> Manage FOIA reviews in the most cost effective manner

Based on these goals one would then assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Internet.

Strengths: The use of the Internet provides a rapid and cost effective method for the dissemination of unclassified information.=> The use of the Internet could reduce the unrestrained public appetite for “secrets” by providing good faith distraction material=> The use of the Internet could channel public interest towards already appropriately declassified material and possibly lessen FOIA requests. Weaknesses: The use of the Internet could have rebound effect and fuel a more voracious public demand for ever more material. May facilitate more FOIA requests by providing a shopping list of available materials.=> The use of the Internet could overwhelm the administrative system that processes inquiries. By providing documents that have been recently reviewed and declassified, it can magnify imperfections in the declassification system by making available declassified material out of historical context.

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