Director of National Intelligence Provides Guidance for Civilian Consumption of Declassified Documents

Records Declassification Codes have been used throughout history whenever people wanted to keep messages private. In the intelligence community, cryptography and code words are standard operating procedure, but when documents are declassified and released for the public as a means for information sharing and good faith, it may seem to civilians that the information is still in a foreign language.

On June 27th, the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released the “Statistical Transparency Report Regarding Use of National Security Authorities.” Elements of ‘Orders based on Probable Cause,’ ‘Pen Register/Trap and Trace,’ and ‘Section 702 of FISA’ (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) are interpreted in the “Statistical Transparency Report.” Additional context is provided to support definitions of “Target”; “702 Targets”; “Relationship of Orders to Targets” and “Amendments and Renewals.”

While not a “decoder ring,” the “Statistical Transparency Report” does shed light on an otherwise murky database for the lay reader. Annual updates will be provided by the Director as further declassified reports are released.

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