ODNI releases annual IC transparency report
On May 4, consistent with the USA FREEDOM Act and the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 (the reauthorized FAA) requirements to release certain statistics (codified in 50 U.S.C.§ 1873(b)) and the Intelligence Community’s Principles of Intelligence Transparency, we are releasing our fifth annual Statistical Transparency Report Regarding Use of National Security Authorities presenting statistics on how often the government uses certain national security authorities.
Providing these statistics allows for an additional way to track the use of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorities and gives further context to the IC’s rigorous and multi-layered oversight framework that safeguards the privacy of United States person information acquired pursuant to FISA. The report goes beyond its statutory duty of providing statistics and further provides the public with detailed explanation as to how the IC uses these national security authorities.
“We’re pleased to publish our fifth annual statistical transparency report,” said Alex Joel, who leads ODNI’s Office of Civil Liberties, Privacy, and Transparency. “This report provides hard data on how we use key authorities. To properly understand these statistics, context is important. Conveying that context clearly and understandably is a difficult challenge, given how complicated these authorities are. Each year, we try to find ways to improve clarity, and to lean forward in providing information that will give meaning to these numbers.”
In June 2014, the Director of National Intelligence began releasing statistics relating to the use of critical national security authorities, including the FISA, in an annual report called the Statistical Transparency Report Regarding Use of National Security Authorities (hereafter the Annual Statistical Transparency Report). Subsequent Annual Statistical Transparency Reports were released in 2015, 2016, and 2017.
On June 2, 2015, the USA FREEDOM Act was enacted, codifying a requirement to publicly report many of the statistics already reported in the Annual Statistical Transparency Report. The Act also expanded the scope of the information included in the reports by requiring the DNI to report information concerning United States person (U.S. person or USP) search terms and queries of certain FISA-acquired information, as well as specific statistics concerning call detail records. See 50 U.S.C. § 1873(b). On January 19, 2018, the reauthorized FAA was signed. See 50 U.S.C. § 1881a. The reauthorized FAA (also referred to as the Section 702 Reauthorization Act of 2017) codified additional statistics that must be publicly released, including many statistics that the government previously reported pursuant to its commitment to transparency.