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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2002 > Nov > Nov 21

Secrecy News -- 11/21/02

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood.nul>
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 13:32:32 -0500
Archived: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 07:56:55 -0500
Subject: Secrecy News -- 11/21/02


SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2002, Issue No. 117
November 21, 2002


**	DOD ELABORATES ON "TOTAL INFORMATION AWARENESS"
**	LEAHY ON FOIA AND HOMELAND SECURITY
**	SECRECY IN THE NEWS
**	FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
**	OTHER RESOURCES


DOD ELABORATES ON "TOTAL INFORMATION AWARENESS"

The Pentagon yesterday answered questions from reporters about
the DARPA "Total Information Awareness" (TIA) initiative that
would seek to detect terrorists by rooting through databases of
Americans' personal transactions.

But the answers seemed unlikely to assuage critics concerned
about violations of personal privacy, expanding government
surveillance and eroding constitutional values.

"The war on terror and the tracking of potential terrorists and
terrorist acts require that we search for clues of such
activities in a mass of data," said Under Secretary of Defense
Edward C. Aldridge. "The purpose of TIA would be to determine
the feasibility of searching vast quantities of data to
determine links and patterns indicative of terrorist
activities."

"The bottom line is, this is an important research project to
determine the feasibility of using certain transactions and
events to discover and respond to terrorists before they act."

Mr. Aldridge stressed that TIA is at an early developmental
stage that does not currently entail actual surveillance or
conflict with privacy laws.

"I don't know what the scope of this is going to be, what it's
going to take to make this work yet," he said.

See his remarks at a November 20 Pentagon press briefing here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2002/11/dod112002.html

Dozens of civil liberties organizations wrote a letter this week
calling upon the Senate "to stop the development of this
 unconstitutional system of public surveillance."  See the
November 18 letter on the web site of the Electronic Privacy
Information Center:

http://www.epic.org/privacy/profiling/tia/tialetter11.18.02.html

An explanatory statement on the Homeland Security Act that was
inserted into the Congressional Record (Page S11412, 11/19/02)
by Senator Joseph ieberman declared as follows:

"Nothing in this legislation should be construed as requiring or
encouraging HSARPA [the newly established Homeland Security
Advanced Research Projects Agency] to adopt or replicate any
specific programs within DARPA, such as the Total Information
Awareness Program, or as conferring HSARPA with any additional
authority to overcome privacy laws when developing technologies
for information-collection."


LEAHY ON FOIA AND HOMELAND SECURITY

Under the Homeland Security Act, critical infrastructure
information that is voluntarily submitted to the government by
industry will now be exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA).

This new exemption "guts the FOIA at the expense of our national
security and public health and safety," said Senator Patrick
Leahy in an extended critique of the new law's FOIA
implications.

"This provision means that if a Federal regulatory agency needs
to issue a regulation to protect the public from threats of
harm, it cannot rely on any voluntarily submitted information--
bringing the  normal regulatory process to a grinding halt,"
according to Sen. Leahy.

"Public health and law enforcement officials need the
flexibility to decide how and when to warn or prepare the public
in the safest, most effective manner. They should not have to
get 'sign off' from a Fortune 500 company to do so."

"We do not respect the spirit of our democracy when we cloak in
 secrecy the workings of our Government from the public we are
elected to serve."

See Senator Leahy's November 19 floor statement on Homeland
Security and the Freedom of Information Act here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/congress/2002/s111902.html


SECRECY IN THE NEWS

While much of the Bush Administration's expansive secrecy policy
reflects a Republican predilection for unfettered executive
authority, some of the most influential critics of that policy
are also Republicans or conservatives.  One conservative
argument that the Bush White House has "Too Many Secrets" was
presented by Mark Tapscott of the Heritage Foundation in a
November 20 Washington Post op-ed:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A12666-2002Nov19.html

Los Alamos National Laboratory continues to experience gross
lapses in security, including missing and stolen computers and
other hardware, according to an internal memorandum obtained by
the Project on Government Oversight:

http://www.pogo.org/p/environment/ea-021105-losalamos-nuclear.html

See also "Los Alamos Lab Property Said Missing" by Deborah
Baker, Associated Press, November 20:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17736-2002Nov20.html


FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Secrecy News (11/19/02) cited a new World Bank publication which
contends that "A vigorous and independent news media sector can
boost economic development around the world by promoting good
government and empowering citizens."  But things may not be
quite that simple.

"This is one of the most often repeated and rarely tested folk
theories in recent memory," wrote Alan J. Kuperman of the Johns
Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.  "It is
terribly wrong."

Rwanda's "vigorous and independent media" helped lay the
groundwork for genocide there, Kuperman observed.  The "vigorous
and independent media in Slovenia ... mobilized support for
secession, which triggered all the horrible wars there."

Nor is diversity of media outlets a sufficient qualification.
 "Rwanda had diversity: Moderate government Hutu radio;
extremist private Hutu radio; and Tutsi rebel radio station."

A newly invigorated news media sector in the Arab world is also
not an unadulterated good, wrote Jon B. Alterman of the Center
for International and Strategic Studies in today's Wall Street
Journal ("Slouching Toward Ramallah").

"Instead of a voice for change and political courage, the
[Arabic language] TV stations and newspapers too often play to
the galleries, legitimizing harebrained ideas and coarsening
public debate," according to Alterman.

While a  free press may be "necessary for robust democracy,"
Kuperman wrote, "it certainly is not necessary for economic
prosperity.  (Witness Singapore, where if you say boo about the
President you get locked up or thrown out of the country.  At
last check, Singapore had the third highest GDP per capita in
Asia after Japan and Hong Kong.)"

"In the end, what really matters is not the institutions (of
media or civil society) but their content," he said.


OTHER RESOURCES

"Marxism-Leninism brings to light the laws governing the
development of the history of human society.  Its basic tenets
are correct and have tremendous vitality," according to the
newly amended Constitution of the Community Party of China.

"So long as the Chinese Communists uphold the basic tenets of
Marxism- Leninism and follow the road suited to China's specific
conditions and chosen by the Chinese people of their own accord,
the socialist cause in China will be crowned with final
victory."

For now, however, "China is at the primary stage of socialism
and will remain so for a long period of time."

See the Constitution of the Communist Party of China, as amended
November 14, 2002 and published by the Xinhua News Agency, here:

http://www.fas.org/irp/world/china/docs/const.html

Next May, the U.S. State Department will hold a conference on
"The U.S., Guatemala, and Latin America: New Perspectives on the
1954 Coup."

The CIA-instigated coup, which overthrew the government of
Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz, established a template for
cold war covert action whose consequences continue to
reverberate decades later.

See this Call for Papers from the State Department Office of the
Historian:

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/15021.htm


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

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