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Secrecy News -- 02/09/04

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood.nul>
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2004 14:13:04 -0500
Fwd Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 07:20:35 -0500
Subject: Secrecy News -- 02/09/04


SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 15
February 9, 2004


**	SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS AND INTELLIGENCE
**	BUSH NAMES ADVISORY COMMISSION ON INTELLIGENCE
**	IG: DOJ DID NOT VIOLATE FOIA BY WITHHOLDING DIVERSITY REPORT
**	LEAHY ON PARADE MAGAZINE ON FOIA
**	EISENHOWER: THIS LETTER WILL CONSTITUTE YOUR AUTHORITY


SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS AND INTELLIGENCE

An Air Force study of the Iranian government that was co-
sponsored by the National Security Agency shows how U.S.
intelligence agencies are making use of "social network
analysis," a social science research tool, to inform their
products.

In social network analysis the patterns of social interaction
are subjected to rigorous examination and modeling, beginning
with questions such as: Who knows whom? Which individuals and
groups interact with one another and on what terms?

Social network analysis provides a useful way of structuring
knowledge and framing further research. Ideally, it can also
enhance an analyst's predictive capacity.

"Correctly interpreting a social network assists in predicting
behavior and decision-making within the social network," wrote
Capt. Robert S. Renfro, II and Richard F. Deckro of the Air
Force Institute of Technology.

"The ability to understand and predict behavior of members in a
social network allows the analyst to evaluate specific courses
of action that will influence the members of a social network in
a desirable manner."

In an illustrative example, the Air Force authors applied this
method in order "to understand the relative influence of
individuals in the Iranian government."

Of course, like other analytical techniques, social network
analysis produces results that are no better than the data upon
which it rests. It cannot compensate for intelligence that is
fabricated, skewed or simply erroneous.

See "A Social Network Analysis of the Iranian Government" by
Renfro and Deckro, based on research co-sponsored by the
National Security Agency and the National Air Intelligence
Center, November 2001, (1 MB PDF file) here:

http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/socnet.pdf


BUSH NAMES ADVISORY COMMISSION ON INTELLIGENCE

President Bush issued an executive order to establish a
Commission that will "examine" intelligence capabilities but not
"investigate" how intelligence was used to support the decision
to go to war against Iraq.

The new Commission will exclusively advise the President rather
than foster public accountability.

"The Commission is established for the purpose of advising the
President... in order to ensure the most effective counter-
proliferation capabilities of the United States and response to
the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the ongoing threat
of terrorist activity," the President's executive order
declared.

"In implementing this order, the Commission shall solely advise
and assist the President," the order stated.

According to the terms of the executive order, the Commission's
resulting report does not even have to be transmitted to
Congress. (The Bush Administration's entirely inconsequential
2001 NSPD-5 review of U.S. intelligence was not provided to
Congress either.)

Instead, "within 90 days of receiving the Commission's report
[next year], the President will consult with the Congress
concerning the Commission's report and recommendations, and will
propose any appropriate legislative recommendations arising out
of the findings of the Commission."

Public accountability is not mentioned in the new order.

See Executive Order 13328 of February 6, 2004 here:

http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo/eo-13328.htm

The President's announcement of seven of the nine advisory
commission members may be found here:

http://www.fas.org/irp/news/2004/02/wh020604.html


IG: DOJ DID NOT VIOLATE FOIA BY WITHHOLDING DIVERSITY REPORT

The Department of Justice did not violate the Freedom of
Information Act by withholding large portions of a recent report
on attorney workforce diversity, even though some of the
portions withheld were factual in nature, the Department's
Inspector General concluded in a new report.

After FOIA requesters asked for disclosure of the workforce
diversity report, the Department posted a copy of the report on
its web site with many passages blacked out. Those passages
were "deliberative" in nature, the Department claimed, and
therefore exempt from disclosure.

But due to a technical error by Justice, Russ Kick of
TheMemoryHole.org was able to strip away the black marks and to
post the full text of the document on his web site.

Upon examination of the full uncensored document, it was clear
that many of the withheld portions were factual in nature, and
not deliberative at all, prompting several protests to the
Inspector General (IG).

But factual or not, the IG concluded that the Department had
acted within its discretionary authority to withhold portions of
the document.

It appears that "discretionary decisions [to withhold or release
information] are not based on objective criteria but on
political factors," said Michael J. Ravnitzky, who had requested
the document under FOIA. "That itself is quite important and
interesting."

Last month, observed Russ Kick, "the Justice Department released
the entire report (with new bonus material) completely
unredacted on their site! Isn't that a de facto admission that
the redactions weren't necessary in the first place?"

See "A Review of the Response by the Department of Justice to
Freedom of Information Act Requests for the Workplace Diversity
Report," DoJ Inspector General, dated January 29 and published
February 6:

http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/oig/foia-div.html


LEAHY ON PARADE MAGAZINE ON FOIA

"One of the most common uses of ... freedom of information laws
[is] to ensure that schools, neighborhoods and local industries
are safe and secure," noted Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) last
week.

He reflected on a remarkable story that appeared last month in
Parade Magazine, which he entered into the Congressional Record,
describing how ordinary Americans use the Freedom of Information
Act to protect themselves and their communities.

See his remarks on "The Importance of State and Federal Freedom
of Information Laws" on the Senate floor, February 6:

 http://www.fas.org/sgp/congress/2004/s020604.html


EISENHOWER: THIS LETTER WILL CONSTITUTE YOUR AUTHORITY

President Eisenhower, Secrecy News noted last year (12/17/03),
once sent "classified letters... to ten private citizens
throughout the country giving them authority over various parts
of the economy and total society in the event of the declaration
of a national emergency."

Now the Conelrad Atomic Secrets web sites has tracked down those
extraordinary letters from President Eisenhower and published
most of them on its web site (one remains classified and
unavailable).

See "This Letter Will Constitute Your Authority: The Eisenhower
Ten" here:

http://tinyurl.com/27p3f


_______________________________________________
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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