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Director Of National Intelligence Avril Haines Says America’s Spies Should Have Fewer Secrets

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Kay Smythe Reporter
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Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines reportedly said that the classification systems used by intelligence agencies weaken trust in the America government.

“It is my view that deficiencies in the current classification system undermine our national security, as well as critical democratic objectives, by impeding our ability to share information in a timely manner,” Haines reportedly wrote earlier in January.

Haines shared her thoughts in a letter to Democratic Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden and Republican Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran. The Wall Street Journal shared its review of the letter in an article published Thursday. Haines oversees 18 intelligence agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA).

Wyden and Moran have estimated that the classification systems used by intelligence agencies may cost taxpayers up to $18.5 billion every year. The total amount of information stored in classified documents is likely in the billions, according to the WSJ.

Digital communications have made classified data growth even more rampant and Haines stated that current efforts to address the exponential growth are far from sufficient. (RELATED: CIA Argues The Public Can’t See Classified Information It Has Already Given To Favored Reporters).

She added that the level of secrecy associated with intelligence data “reduces the intelligence community’s (IC) capacity to effectively support senior policy maker decision-making, and further erodes the basic trust that our citizens have in their government. It is a fundamentally important issue that we must address.”

Classified information is often revealed to the public as a result of media-driven Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.