CIA Rejects Freedom of Information Act Request for Climate Data
Via Secrecy News:
When the Central Intelligence Agency established a Center on Climate Change and National Security in 2009, it drew fierce opposition from congressional Republicans who disputed the need for an intelligence initiative on this topic. But now there is a different, and possibly better, reason to doubt the value of the Center: It has adopted an extreme view of classification policy which holds that everything the Center does is a national security secret.
Last week, the CIA categorically denied (pdf) a request under the Freedom of Information Act for a copy of any Center studies or reports concerning the impacts of global warming.
“We completed a thorough search for records responsive to your request and located material that we determined is currently and properly classified and must be denied in its entirety…,” wrote CIA’s Susan Viscuso to requester Jeffrey Richelson, an intelligence historian affiliated with the National Security Archive.
With some effort, one can imagine records related to climate change that would be properly classified. Such records might, for example, include information that was derived from classified collection methods or sources that could be compromised by their disclosure. Or perhaps such records might present analysis reflecting imminent threats to national security that would be exacerbated rather than corrected by publicizing them.
But that’s not what CIA said. Rather, it said that all of the Center’s work is classified and there is not even a single study, or a single passage in a single study, that could be released without damage to national security. That’s a familiar song, and it became tiresome long ago.
Image: Global Temperature Trends via NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory.
Very interesting. Normally it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that this data indicates global warming is a national security threat, but…oh wait, we probably can based on past statements:
Interest in climate change as a national security issue developed even later. Although the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) did commission a study to look into the security implications of climate change in the late 1970s, the issue had little resonance until the late 1990s when the Senate Armed Services Committee declared that environmental destruction, including global warming, was “a growing national security threat.” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created in 1995 in part to allay fears. And then, in 2003, the rather notorious report commissioned by the Pentagon, “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and its Implications for United States National Security,” provided a worst-case scenario, which suggested that climate change might have a catastrophic impact, leading to rioting and nuclear war.
The question then becomes: is the CIA using technology/methodologies that our civilian Climate Scientists don’t have? Doubtful, in my view. More likely that they just want to classify everything possible so nobody knows what’s going on, even when the objects of classification are trivial.
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