US Director Of National Intelligence Launches Tumblr Site “IC On The Record” To Assuage Surveillance Concerns

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The U.S. office of National Intelligence launched a new site today to promote government transparency in the wake of the months-long scandals surrounding the National Security Agency’s surveillance tactics.

“In June, President Obama requested that Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper declassify and make public as much information as possible about certain sensitive NSA programs while being mindful of the need to protect sensitive classified intelligence and national security,” an unsigned post on the site read.

IC On The Record featured three new documents today, all FISA Court legal opinion documents, and highlighted seven documents that will be released soon.

The site is a good idea on the surface, but such great portions of the declassified documents are (and, I presume, will continue to be) redacted that it won’t end up being a big help.

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It’s unclear why the department chose Tumblr, the blogging platform popular with a younger demographic that was acquired by Yahoo for $1 billion earlier this summer. The site also now has a Twitter handle. Hopefully the office will be able to string together 140 characters without redacting anything.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Update: Michael Birmingham, a spokesman for the ODNI, sent me the following statement:

“The purpose of IC on the Record is two-fold: first, to enable the Intelligence Community to respond with factual, on the record information in the context of a rapidly developing situation and second, to put this information more readily into the hands of the American public.  As a platform, Tumblr is a an ideal fit to fulfill both of these needs.

With regard to balancing transparency and national security, the Administration is undertaking a careful and thorough review of whether and to what extent additional information or documents pertaining to this program may be declassified, consistent with the protection of national security.

IC on the Record provides a single online location to access new information as it is made available from across the Intelligence Community.”