OODA OriginalUncategorized

RELIDO: Why Bother?

Secrecy News (a product of the Dread Pirate Aftergood) recently reported on a new marking for classified material:

In an effort to improve the sharing of intelligence information, the Director of National Intelligence last year authorized the use of a new marking for intelligence documents: RELIDO, or Releasable by Information Disclosure Official.

RELIDO is intended “to facilitate information sharing through streamlined, rapid release decisions by authorized disclosure officials,” DNI John D. Negroponte wrote in a June 2005 memo.

Essentially, the RELIDO marking permits authorized officials to release documents (on a need-to-know basis, of course) without consulting the originators of the documents.

RELIDO doesn’t supersede ORCON, which if you are talking about hindrances to sharing is the real culprit. If you have ever walked into a really nice store and flipped through the clothes and then realized that nothing had a price tag on it and that the employees were all giving you the hairy eyeball and the security guards were shadowing you . . . you now know what it is like to stumble upon a cache of ORCON material.

If you needed another data point to help build a case against what passes for intel reform these days, RELIDO is it. Another document marking that has to go through another human being for approval before it can go to the people who might actually make the best use of the data is simply more overhead to the existing release process. Like disclosure officers don’t have enough to do?

Real, meaningful sharing isn’t achieved over the course of hours or days and it shouldn’t require more humans in the loop. If we’re not working at the data level, we’re just wasting time. The antiquated hang-up over “data ownership” has to be overcome before we start seeing real progress on this front. I don’t care what seal is on your badge; your physical utility with any given piece of data is limited. Someone, somewhere across the IC can make better, faster use of that data than you can. If it is worth displaying in a window, it is worth letting someone acquire it NOW . . .

. . . otherwise you’re just a c-tease.

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.