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Secrecy News -- 11/14/02

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood.nul>
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2002 14:46:43 -0500
Archived: Thu, 14 Nov 2002 16:09:39 -0500
Subject: Secrecy News -- 11/14/02


SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2002, Issue No. 114
November 14, 2002


**	HOUSE APPROVES HOMELAND SECURITY BILL
**	SECRECY IN THE NEWS


HOUSE APPROVES HOMELAND SECURITY BILL

The Homeland Security Act that was hastily approved by the House
of Representatives on November 13 is a daunting stew whose
dimensions and import are hard to comprehend.

"We do not even know the full implications of what we are doing
in this bill," said Rep. Henry Waxman, who urged unsuccessfully
that it be deferred until next year.

Among many other problematic provisions, the House bill includes
a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemption for "voluntarily
shared critical infrastructure information" submitted to
government agencies by industry (section 214).  A more narrowly
circumscribed Senate version of the exemption was not adopted in
the House bill.

"The changes made to the Freedom of Information Act are overly
broad and restrictive," said Rep. John Dingell (D-MI).  "By
including Section 214 as part of the backroom agreement, this
body is ignoring the bipartisan compromise that was reached in
the Senate."

"I am... very concerned that this new Department [of Homeland
Security] will develop and operate in a culture of secrecy
without adequate and proper public accountability or
Congressional oversight," Rep. Dingell said.

Proponents of the new exemption alleged that the Freedom of
Information Act was a tool of terrorists.

"As we discovered when we went to the caves in Afghanistan, the
Al Qaeda groups had copies of GAO reports and other government
information obtained through FOIA," said Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA).
"While we work to protect our nation's assets in this war
against terrorism, we also need to ensure that we are not arming
terrorists."

Extended excerpts pertaining to information policy --
 information analysis, information sharing, freedom of
information, cyber security, information security, etc. -- from
the Homeland Security Act as passed by the House are posted
here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/congress/2002/hr5710-111302.html

A critique by the Society of Professional Journalists of the bill's
Freedom of Information Act exemption may be found here:

http://www.spj.org/news.asp?ref=299



SECRECY IN THE NEWS

The ACLU, EPIC and other public interest groups asked a federal
court to expedite a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for
Justice Department records on government surveillance activities
under the USA PATRIOT Act.  See this November 13 press release:

http://www.aclu.org/SafeandFree/SafeandFree.cfm?ID=11276&c6

Pentagon policies on covert operations, including the recent
proposal for a so-called Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group
(P2OG), were discussed by David Isenberg in "P2OG Allows
Pentagon to Fight Dirty," Asia Times, November 5:

http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DK05Ak02.html

Thousands of historical intelligence satellite images, formally
declassified a couple of months ago, are now becoming publicly
available, writes Leonard David in " U.S. Spy Satellite Images
from the Cold War Released," Space.com, November 13:

http://www.space.com/news/secret_sat_021113.html


_______________________________________________
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the
Federation of American Scientists.

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