Special Access Programs and the Defense Budget: Understanding the 'Black Market' [Updated October 24, 1989, Archived]   [open pdf - 1MB]

"It us generally accepted that there is a security advantage to be gained by exploiting a technology militarily and keeping potential adversaries from learning about its application and military usefulness. However, in an open, democratic system society where constitutional checks and balances are fundamental to the system of government, a natural tension exists between those who want access to information to facilitate decision -making and oversight and those who want enhanced protection to prevent military secrets from falling into adversaries' hands…The Senate version of the FY90-91 defense authorization bill (S. 1352) established additional reporting requirements pertaining to the reclassification of special access program data. The arguments made by those in favor of these changes reflect their concern about Pentagon motives, the practice of restricting information from some Members of Congress, and the need for an informed debate of program issues and costs. The arguments made by those who oppose proposed legislative innovations reflect their fear of inadvertently exposing the programs and budgets of the intelligence agencies and a general concern about making certain sensitive information more accessible to foreign intelligence interests. It is DOD's position that additional legislation was not and continues not to be required."

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CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB87201
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