The details of Skipjack are classified. The decision not to make the
details of the algorithm publicly available has been widely criticized.
Many people are suspicious that Skipjack is not secure, either due to
oversight by its designers, or by the deliberate introduction of a
secret trapdoor. By contrast, there have been many attempts to find
weaknesses in DES over the years, since its details are public. These
numerous attempts (and the fact that they have failed) have made people
confident in the security of DES. Since Skipjack is not public, the
same scrutiny cannot be applied towards it, and thus a corresponding
level of confidence may not arise.
Aware of such criticism, the government invited a small group of
independent cryptographers to examine the Skipjack algorithm. They
issued a report which stated that, although their study was too limited
to reach a definitive conclusion, they nevertheless believe that
Skipjack is secure.
Another consequence of Skipjack's classified status is that it cannot be implemented in software, but only in hardware by government-authorized chip manufacturers.