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15 Colum. J.L. & Soc. Probs. 455 (1979-1980)
Enforcement of CIA Secrecy Agreements: A Constitutional Analysis

handle is hein.journals/collsp15 and id is 465 raw text is: Enforcement of CIA Secrecy
Agreements: A Constitutional
Analysis
I. INTRODUCTION
Upon commencing employment with the Central Intelligence
Agency, an employee must sign a secrecy agreement promising not
to publish or participate in the publication of any information or
material relating to the Agency, its activities or intelligence activi-
ties generally, either during or after the term of [his] employment
by the Agency without specific prior approval by the Agency.'
Upon his resignation, the employee must sign a termination agree-
ment that states, I will never divulge, publish, or reveal by writ-
ing, word, conduct, or otherwise any classified information, or any
information concerning intelligence or CIA that has not been made
public by CIA . . . without the express written consent of the Di-
rector of Central Intelligence or his representative.         The secrecy
agreements are imposed in the name of national security.$ By re-
stricting the free flow of information, however, they are in direct
conflict with the first amendment.4 After numerous lower court
considerations of the conflict, the Supreme Court, in a recent opin-
ion, Snepp v. United States,5 expressly upheld the authority of the
CIA to impose the secrecy agreements as well as their constitu-
1. United States v. Snepp, 595 F.2d 926, 930 n.1 (4th Cir. 1979).
2. Id., n.2.
3. Disclosure of certain national security data may enable foreign governments to hin-
der our intelligence gathering operations. First, if a country has several pieces of informa-
tion and is unsure which is correct, disclosure of data that pertains to the information in its
possession may aid it in determining which set of information is accurate. Or, if a country
has incomplete information, revelation of other information may help it close the gaps, thus
enabling it to more accurately estimate our capabilities. Therefore, the CIA, as the intelli-
gence agency of the government, has a special need for secrecy that other agencies may lack.
4. See New York Times v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971); Communist Party v.
Subversive Activities Control Bd., 367 U.S. 1 (1961) (act required Communist-action organi-
zations to register with the Attorney General and to file specified information); Yates v.
United States, 354 U.S. 298 (1957); Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951) (constitu-
tionality of the Smith Act which proscribed knowingly or wilfully advocating the duty of
overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence);
Abrams v. United States, 250 U. S. 616 (1919) (defendants convicted for violation of the
amendments to the Espionage Act); Schenck v. United States, 249 U. S. 47 (1919) (defen-
dants convicted of violating the Espionage Act).
5. 100 S. Ct. 763 (1980).

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