This paper highlights the need for additional research concerning intelligence agency openness or transparency. Our literature review indicates that both qualitative and quantitative research are needed. Possible variables that may be used to collect data and evaluate the openness of intelligence agencies include information releases, declassification initiatives, documentaries, current and former intelligence agency employees’ media appearances, books, podcasts, and teaching assignments, published priorities, public apologies, LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more) policies, and websites. Our research indicates that 225 (54.1%) of the 416 national security intelligence organizations we identified in 113 countries operate websites. We hypothesized that more democratic countries would have more intelligence organizations with websites as a proxy for transparency. We fitted a Poisson model to our count data and found that democracy is a statistically significant predictor of the number of intelligence organizations with websites in a country. We believe this is the first published research substantiating the effect of democracy on intelligence agency transparency.
Read This Article
No. 5 Are Intelligence Agencies Opening Up? A Proposed Research Agenda