Former Secrets - Documents Released Under FOIA


EPIC makes frequent use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain information from the government about cryptography and privacy policy. Public disclosure of this information improves government oversight and accountability. It also helps ensure that the public is fully informed about the activities of government. The following scanned images (GIFs) are representative of the types of material that EPIC obtains.

Scanned Images of Key Policy Documents

  • Documents on the FBI's Carnivore Internet Surveillance System.
  • Memo from Ronald D. Lee, Associate Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice to Jeffrey Hunker, Director, Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office regading the National Information Systems Protection Plan, March 8, 1999. In this memo, Lee expresses concern about the legal authority for establishing FIDNET. Another memo from Jeffrey Hunker, CIAO to CICG Members regarding "Offsite Materials" and identification of "suspicious and anomalous behavior" on the basis of credit card and telephone records.
  • Commerce Department memorandum dated November 1996 in which top Administration official acknowledges that key-escrow encryption is "more costly and less efficient" than the alternatives the government seeks to suppress.
  • White House memorandum from 1991 shows President Bush's support for the digital telephony and Clipper Chip initiatives, and the linkage between the two proposals.
  • The first page of Presidential Decision Directive 29, establishing the secretive Security Policy Board. (Full text of the directive).
  • The cover page of a heavily censored FBI survey of "technological problems" that allegedly hamper wiretapping. (See the EPIC Wiretap Page for more information).
  • A sample page of the FBI wiretap survey.
  • Table of contents for briefing document prepared by FBI, NSA and DOJ and titled "Encryption: The Threat, Applications, and Potential Solutions," and an excerpt recommending a legislative prohibition on non-escrowed encryption. (See the EPIC Cryptography Policy Archive for more information).
  • Transmittal letter from FBI Director William S. Sessions to National Security Council official George J. Tenet, forwarding the FBI/NSA/DOJ above-described briefing document.
  • Cover page of an FBI report titled "Impact of Emerging Telecommunications Technologies on Law Enforcement." The report is undated and classified "Secret." An excerpt calls for a national policy prohibiting cryptography that does not ensure real-time access to law enforcement.
  • Title page for an FBI presentation on encryption policy, which includes a page discussing the need for domestic regulation and prohibition of cryptography that "cannot meet [law enforcement's] standard."
  • Cover page of an FBI report titled "Law Enforcement's Diminished Capability to Conduct Electronic Surveillance." The report is undated and classified "Confidential."
  • A National Security Agency memorandum concerning NSA's role in the development of National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 145, a Presidential directive that prompted Congress to enact the Computer Security Act of 1987 to limit NSA's role in the development of civilian security standards. (See the EPIC Computer Security Act Page for more information).

Share this page:

Support EPIC

EPIC relies on support from individual donors to pursue our work.

Defend Privacy. Support EPIC.