Intelligence chief: National intelligence estimates should be declassified only in emergencies

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

The top intelligence official says agencies will only release intelligence analyses if Americans are in direct and immediate danger.

National Intelligence Chief Mike McConnell is reversing a trend of releasing documents called national intelligence estimates, which are forward-looking reports containing the views of the nation's 16 spy agencies.

He says such information won't be made available if it would compromise policy interests. But it will be published in emergencies or if police and fire departments need the information.

In a memo to the spy agencies, McConnell writes that publishing the reports could degrade the quality of them, because analysts would be less willing to provide unvarnished opinions and information.

He also says that information in the assessments could be taken out of context and used to advance political agendas.

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