Professionalizing the Practice of Transparency in the IC

Annual Summit Brings Together Government Professionals to Share Insights, Best Practices
Workers standing near building entrance


Since the adoption of the Principles of Intelligence Transparency for the Intelligence Community in 2015, the IC has worked steadily to enhance its engagement and communication with the American public about our work—particularly on aspects of our work that touch upon the privacy and civil liberties of Americans.

Reflecting that commitment, ODNI recently hosted its 5th annual summit for government professionals focused on civil liberties, privacy and transparency. Attended by more than 270 experts and professionals, the event provided a valuable opportunity to share insights, best practices, and harmonize these efforts among the 18 member Intelligence Community.

The IC Civil Liberties, Privacy and Transparency Summit began in 2017 as an outgrowth of a commitment to organize workforce events designed to promote discussion of the principles of transparency, as well as civil liberties and privacy, acknowledging that efforts to institutionalize these values can only be effective through the support of a trained and educated workforce. This year’s event was driven by interactive panel discussions and breakout sessions tackling a variety of current and future challenges and opportunities in the transparency space.

Amongst the many guest presenters in attendance, faculty from the National Intelligence University’s Center for Truth, Trust, and Transparency explored the IC’s complex, changing relationship with the public—and how the IC can better maintain and build credibility across the country. (Read more about the NIU’s work.)

And future intelligence professionals were also on-hand to provide a glimpse of the way-ahead for the IC on transparency matters. ODNI interns, who are participants of the yearlong Virtual Student Federal Service program, gave a spirited look into what makes Generation Z markedly different than its predecessors and steps the IC can take to meet this “next generation of expectations.”

The Summit also afforded the opportunity to recognize IC professionals who are doing great work in this space. ODNI honored Chris Rasmussen, Founder of the unclassified Tearline Project in the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, with the IC excellence in transparency award. (Read more about NGA Tearline, including recent reports on North Korea, China, and Russia.)

Much like the summit itself, these annual awards—recognizing exceptional accomplishment in Civil Liberties and Privacy, Transparency, and enhancing public trust—are a measure the IC has taken to institutionalize the principles of civil liberties, privacy, and transparency by providing career recognition for officers whose efforts have helped move the IC forward in these critical areas.

“The IC's CLPT Summit brings together the Intelligence Community officers who are focused—day in, day out—in ensuring that our intelligence activities are conducted in a manner consistent with both the law and our values,” said Ben Huebner, Chief, ODNI Civil Liberties, Privacy, and Transparency Office. “Part of meeting the IC's crucial mission is ensuring we are protecting people's civil liberties and privacy while providing appropriate transparency with the American public."

The ODNI Office of Civil Liberties, Privacy and Transparency leads the integration of civil liberties and privacy protections into the policies, procedures, programs, and activities of the IC. Its overarching goal is to ensure that the IC operates within the full scope of its authorities in a manner that protects civil liberties and privacy, provides appropriate transparency, and earns and retains the trust of the American people.

Read the Principles of Intelligence Transparency for the IC