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Re: Secrecy News -- 11/04/03 - Aftergood

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood@fas.org>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 09:17:31 -0500
Fwd Date: Tue, 04 Nov 2003 16:23:15 -0500
Subject: Re: Secrecy News -- 11/04/03 - Aftergood


SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2003, Issue No. 96
November 4, 2003


**	THE MISCONCEIVED "WAR ON TERRORISM"
**	THE BUTLER TRIAL BEGINS
**	SUPREME COURT ASKED TO REVIEW SECRET CASE
**	ACCESS TO CRS REPORTS AT ISSUE
**	QUIST ON SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF INFORMATION


THE MISCONCEIVED "WAR ON TERRORISM"

Bush Administration rhetoric on national security policy has
long been characterized by an unusual woolliness of expression
and an underlying conceptual confusion. Familiar examples range
from the "axis of evil" that is not an axis at all to the
President's explanation that terrorists are attacking us because
they "hate freedom." This is not helpful.

Likewise, U.S. national security policy has been led astray by
the notion of a "war on terrorism," argued former national
security Zbigniew Brzezinski in a thoughtful speech last week.

The "war on terrorism" is a poor and misleading formulation
because it is an abstraction, he said. Its misplaced
concreteness obscures the nature of the enemy rather than
clarifying it.

"Terrorism is a technique for killing people. That doesn't tell
us who the enemy is. It's as if we said that World War II was
not against the Nazis but against blitzkrieg," Brzezinski said.

By framing national security policy as a generic response to
"terrorism," Brzezinski suggested, the Administration has made
it harder to distinguish among different kinds of terrorist
threats, to weigh the capabilities of particular terrorist
organizations, to devise countervailing strategies and to
allocate resources where they would be most likely to improve
security.

The associated domestic security policies, he might have added,
including classification and other information control
practices, are increasingly out of step with real-world threats.

See the text of Brzezinski' speech, presented October 28 at a
conference on "New American Strategies for Security and Peace,"
here:

http://www.prospect.org/webfeatures/2003/10/brzezinski-z-10-31.html

"Iraq is the central front in the war on Terror," said national
security advisor Condoleezza Rice in an October 31 speech that
actually capitalized "Terror," as if it were the name of the
enemy. Her speech embodied both the abstraction and the blurring
of distinctions that Brzezinski criticized. See:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/10/20031031-5.html


THE BUTLER TRIAL BEGINS

The trial of Thomas C. Butler, the distinguished infectious
disease specialist charged with mishandling lethal biological
agents and dozens of other charges, began yesterday. If
convicted, he would spend the rest of his life in jail.

Almost all independent observers believe the government is
prosecuting the case with an unduly heavy hand.

"As Dr. Butler's trial begins this week in Lubbock, Texas,
responsible scientists will not remain silent," said several
Nobel laureates in a statement issued yesterday.

"This respected colleague has been subjected to unfair and
disproportionate treatment and the case is having a negative
impact on the future of research in this crucial national
security-related field," wrote Peter Agre (Chemistry, 2003),
Sidney Altman (Chemistry, 1989), Robert Curl (Chemistry, 1996)
and Torsten Wiesel (Medicine, 1981).

"We urge that all efforts be made immediately by both the
prosecution and the defense to arrive at a mutually acceptable
plea bargain that does not include prison time."

See the Nobel laureates' statement on the Butler case here:

http://www.fas.org/butler/nobellet.html


SUPREME COURT ASKED TO REVIEW SECRET CASE

In one of the stranger artifacts of the post-9/11 legal
environment, the U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to review a
lower court ruling in a case that remains almost entirely
secret.

The very existence of the case was never supposed to have become
public. The name of the plaintiff in the case (a "Middle Eastern
man"), the identity of the defendants, the alleged offense, the
case number, every court filing and every court ruling -- were
all sealed from public view. Only a few minor details were
inadvertently disclosed due to a clerical error by an appeals
court clerk.

The legitimacy of this nearly absolute secrecy has been
challenged in a heavily censored petition to the Supreme Court,
filed last June and still pending.

"The Court should grant [the petition], not only to preserve and
protect the public's common-law and First Amendment rights to
know, but also to reinforce those rights in a time of increased
national suspicion about the free flow of information and
debate," wrote public defender Kathleen M. Williams.

A copy of the redacted petition for writ of certiorari in the
case M.K.B. v. Warden, et al, is posted here:

http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/scotus/mkbwarden62703cpet.pdf

The background to this peculiar case was elucidated by Warren
Richey in "Secret 9/11 Case Before High Court," Christian
Science Monitor, October 30:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1030/p01s02-usju.html


ACCESS TO CRS REPORTS AT ISSUE

Two weeks ago, Congress abruptly terminated the limited public
access that had existed for several years to the official
database of reports prepared by the Congressional Research
Service (Secrecy News, 10/28/03).

Now, with his trademark resourcefulness and ingenuity, Russ Kick
of TheMemoryHole.org has given back much of what Congress had
taken away.

Hundreds of recent CRS reports, copied from the now inaccessible
database, have been posted here:

http://www.thememoryhole.org/crs/

Meanwhile, dozens of public interest groups from around the
country are petitioning members of Congress to support continued
public access to the CRS database.

"We urge you to work with CRS to restore at least the same level
of access to CRS reports that your web site has provided in the
past," the organizations wrote to Rep. Christopher Shays and
Rep. Mark Green in a November 3 letter organized by the American
Library Association.

See a copy of the letter here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2003/11/crs110303.pdf


QUIST ON SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF INFORMATION

A revised edition of a monumental government-funded study on the
theory and practice of national security classification has been
approved for release and published.

"Security Classification of Information, Volume 1: Introduction,
History and Adverse Impacts" by Arvin S. Quist, originally
published in 1989, has been updated and supplemented with
additional historical background on the development of
classification policy over the past century and more.

It was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of
Nuclear and National Security Information. A copy was obtained
by Secrecy News.

The 156 page study encompasses the Atomic Energy Act-based
system for classifying nuclear weapons secrets as well as the
executive order-based procedures for classifying other kinds of
national security information.

Following the work of scholars such as Harold Relyea of the
Congressional Research Service, for example, and that of the
1997 Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy
(the Moynihan Commission), among others, the Quist study both
illuminates the historical roots of national security secrecy
and recounts its evolution over the years.

However, the revised study, which was largely completed in
August 2001, does not address the tumultuous changes in
government information policy following September 11.

The new edition of "Security Classification of Information,
Volume 1" is dated September 2002. But it was only recently
cleared by the Department of Energy for public release, and the
first copy was in fact released last week.

The full text is posted here, with kind permission of the
author:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/library/quist/index.html

Volume 2 of the Quist study, published in 1993, is also
available on the FAS web site. The projected volumes 3 and 4
were never completed.


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

To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, send email to
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Secrecy News is archived at:
http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/index.html

_______________________
Steven Aftergood
Project on Government Secrecy
Federation of American Scientists
web:  www.fas.org/sgp/index.html
email: saftergood@fas.org
voice: (202) 454-4691



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