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Audit Shows Lack of Oversight on Use of Sensitive but Unclassified Markings

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  1. Freedom of Information
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There are at least 28 separate and distinct federal government policies on “sensitive but unclassified” information and its use in withholding information from the public, the National Security Archive reports in an audit of 37 major agencies’ policies. Not one offers effective oversight or monitoring of how many records are marked and withheld, by whom, or for how long. The study found that in at least eight agencies – including the 180,000 employee Department of Homeland Security — allow almost any employee to stamp a document SBU and effectively prevent its release under FOIA. And Secrecy News has obtained a copy of a new Congressional Research Service report that says federal agencies have no consistent policies for safeguarding or releasing SBU. (3/15/06)