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Secrecy News - 02/05/04

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood.nul>
Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2004 15:00:31 -0500
Fwd Date: Thu, 05 Feb 2004 17:53:24 -0500
Subject: Secrecy News - 02/05/04


SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 14
February 5, 2004


**	ARMY OFFICIALS UP IN ARMS OVER FAS WEB SITE
**	TSA TRIES TO ERASE PUBLIC TESTIMONY
**	SEN. GRAHAM ON SECRECY AND INTELLIGENCE REFORM
**	HPSCI REPORT ON PLAME RESOLUTION OF INQUIRY
**	CIA FILES OPPOSITION TO HISTORICAL BUDGET DISCLOSURE


ARMY OFFICIALS UP IN ARMS OVER FAS WEB SITE

U.S. Army security officials became exercised this week at the
possibility that a classified Army publication was posted on the
web site of the Federation of American Scientists.

One security official called for the FAS web site to "remove all
Army publications ASAP," and suggested that he would contact the
FBI if prompt action were not forthcoming.

Following review of the document identified by the Army official
as classified, FAS declined to remove it from the web because
its contents were clearly innocuous.

Furthermore, we added in an emailed response, "We do not
recognize the Army's authority to restrict our freedom to
publish."

Another Army official intervened to advise the security official
that "Unclassified Army publications and documents are in the
public domain [and] you definitely shouldn't threaten the owners
of these websites...as you have...."

The Army security official shortly retreated with the
explanation that the supposedly classified document on the FAS
web site was unclassified after all. In other words, nevermind.

The sequence of events is reflected in this exchange of email
messages, which occurred on February 4:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2004/02/army020404.html


TSA TRIES TO ERASE PUBLIC TESTIMONY

In an extraordinary attempt to alter the public record, the
Transportation Security Agency (TSA) is seeking to remove all
public traces of certain testimony that was presented at a
congressional hearing last November, because the testimony
identified specific security problems at an airport in
Rochester, New York.

Congressional Quarterly (CQ) Homeland Security reported that the
Federal Document Clearing House (FDCH), which produces
transcripts of congressional hearings, agreed to delete the
testimony from its database.

TSA also asked CQ to delete the testimony from its website, but
CQ refused.

"Our position is that any government statement voluntarily made
public can't be classified retroactively at a later date," CQ
President Robert Merry told CQ Homeland Security.

See "TSA Asks Media to Expunge Public Testimony on Airport
Security Problems" by Jeff Stein, CQ Homeland Security, February
4:

http://tinyurl.com/2vflf


SEN. GRAHAM ON SECRECY AND INTELLIGENCE REFORM

The prospects that the latest round of intelligence reviews will
lead to significant reforms of U.S. intelligence are not
favorable, based on the track record of past Commissions and
investigations.

According to Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), "A large number of the
problems identified by the [congressional] joint inquiry [into
September 11] and a series of commissions which preceded the
joint inquiry have not been addressed."

Among the recommendations adopted by 2002 Joint Inquiry - and
ignored - was a proposal to revise the intelligence
classification process so as to permit greater public disclosure
of certain intelligence information.

"There is a suspicion among many Americans - and I believe it is
justified - that classification is being used to shield
politically embarrassing information from public scrutiny, as
was the case with the information on the role of foreign
governments in the September 11 attack," Sen. Graham said in the
second of a series of floor statements on intelligence this
week.

"Unfortunately, little progress has been made so far in the task
of reviewing the use of classified information, particularly in
the area of intelligence. The Intelligence Authorization Act
requires the President to report on the barriers to sharing
classified information. Congress has not yet given serious
consideration to this important topic," he said.

See Sen. Graham's February 3 floor statement here (remarks on
classification policy highlighted in bold):

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2004_cr/graham020304.html


HPSCI REPORT ON PLAME RESOLUTION OF INQUIRY

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last week
met in closed session and then voted against a proposed
"resolution of inquiry" into the leak of clandestine CIA officer
Valerie Plame's identity.

"I am disappointed that the [committee] Chairman [Porter J.
Goss] did not even permit an open hearing to allow the public
the ability to assess and judge for themselves our
deliberations," said Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), who had introduced
the resolution.

"The fact that much of the HPSCI's oversight work must take
place in closed session does not mitigate the importance of, or
the probing nature of, the oversight to which U.S. Intelligence
Community is subjected by the HPSCI," said Chairman Goss.

See the new Report on the HPSCI action, dated February 3, here:

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2004_rpt/h108-413


CIA FILES OPPOSITION TO HISTORICAL BUDGET DISCLOSURE

It is methodologically difficult for an outsider to pronounce a
final judgment on the quality and integrity of CIA intelligence
analysis regarding recent events. As Agency defenders are quick
to point out, critics lack access to the full record on which a
fair judgment should be based.

But one can deduce a lot about the intellectual rot at CIA by
observing how the Agency stubbornly opposes declassification of
fifty year old budget information.

CIA officials assert with a straight face that national security
and intelligence methods would be placed at risk by disclosure
of this antiquated information.

Is this incompetence? Is it dishonesty? That is not for us to
say. But anyone can see that it is nonsense.

This week the CIA filed its pro forma opposition to an amended
FAS lawsuit seeking declassification of intelligence budget
figures from 1947 to 1970. See:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/foia/1947/cia020204.pdf


_______________________________________________

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.nul
voice: (202) 454-4691




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