Transparency is Key

National Intelligence Director James Clapper said the US intelligence community continues to seek more ways to be open, to the extent possible, about what it does to show the American public that intelligence operations respect US citizens’ civil liberties and privacy. “I think we’re already embarked on” the course of “more transparency,” he told the House Select Intelligence Committee on Oct. 29. “To the extent that we can make these elaborate processes more visible to the public, particularly, to give them more confidence in what we’re doing, that would be something that we recognize we need to do and we’ll do more of it,” he said. At the same oversight hearing, Army Gen. Keith Alexander, National Security Agency director, outlined several initiatives to improve transparency, including working with Clapper to push more information out to media and the American public. “I think the greatest step in transparency that we’re doing is the hiring of a civil liberties and privacy officer, so people can see that we are going to have a front door, that we are transparent in this, and that we take this very seriously,” said Alexander. (Clapper-Alexander-Cole joint statement) (For more hearing coverage, see Clapper Defends Surveillance Activities and Everyone is Doing It.)