DNI James Clapper is cracking down on media contact. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images)
As part of a crackdown on government leaks and unauthorized disclosures, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has prohibited intelligence community officials from engaging in unapproved contact with members of the media.
The policy on media contact, which pertains to “intelligence-related information,” was outlined in a March 20 memo published April 21 on the Project on Government Secrecy blog. The memo limits authorization only to intelligence agency heads, deputy heads, public affairs officials and “other persons designated in agency policy or authorized by that public affairs official.”
Officials also are required to report any unplanned or unintentional contact with journalists if the contact involved any “covered matters,” including intelligence sources, methods, activities and judgments. The directive does not differentiate between classified and unclassified information.
The directive also defines journalists as anyone engaged “in the collection, production, or dissemination to the public of information in any form, which includes print, broadcast, film and Internet.”
“The IC is committed to sharing information responsibly with the public via the media to further government openness and transparency and to build public understanding of the IC and its programs, consistent with the protection of intelligence sources and methods. Appropriate lC clement engagement with the media is encouraged,” the directive states. “The IC also is committed to protecting intelligence information from unauthorized disclosure. It is the responsibility of each individual IC employee not to disclose covered matters.”