U.S. spy agencies are trying to come in from the cold, on a limited basis, under the banner of open government.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said transparency is necessary to maintain the public's confidence in the intelligence community.
"Transparent" is not a word often associated with the intelligence community, but that's exactly what officials are hoping to change with the planned launch of Intelligence.gov, a website devoted to IC information and updates.
In the wake of Edward Snowden's disclosures about the extent of U.S. surveillance programs, "many Americans now question the IC's commitment to lawfulness and private civil liberties," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a speech at George Washington University on Oct. 27. "Today, the American public expects us to say what we're doing and how we're using the power of U.S. intelligence responsibly."
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is hoping to meet those expectations with Intelligence.gov, which is a part of the IC's piece of the Third National Action Plan for Open Government.
A major mission of Intelligence.gov is to provide public information from all intelligence agencies in an accessible manner. Instead of hyper-technical, insider lingo, information concerning missions, activities and governance will be presented in plain language. Links to other relevant IC websites will also be available.
"We believe transparency is worth the cost because if the American people don't understand what we are doing, why it's important and how we're protecting their privacy and civil liberties, we will lose their confidence and that will affect our ability to perform our mission, which ultimately serves them," Clapper said.
The site's URL currently directs users to a careers page. ODNI spokesman Timothy Barrett said Intelligence.gov was initially developed as a virtual "front door" in response to the E-Government Act of 2002 but has evolved to showcase student, veteran and career opportunities within the community. As of Oct. 1, IntelligenceCareers.gov fills that recruiting role while officials work on revamping the information section of Intelligence.gov.
"Going forward, one of our key priorities is to relaunch Intelligence.gov as the primary portal for the intelligence community's public information," Barrett told FCW.