UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2004 > Mar > Mar 30

Secrecy News - 03/30/04

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood.nul>
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2004 13:01:33 -0500
Fwd Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2004 22:26:30 -0500
Subject: Secrecy News - 03/30/04


SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 31
March 30, 2004


**	NSA EXTENDS BUDGET SECRECY
**	NSA DECLASSIFICATION ACTIVITY
**	RAND: GOVT WEB SITES OF LITTLE USE TO TERRORISTS
**	CRS ON TESTIMONY FROM WHITE HOUSE ADVISERS


NSA EXTENDS BUDGET SECRECY

Prior to the Bush Administration, the budget levels for signals
intelligence at the National Security Agency became unclassified
as they turned 25 years old.

But early in 2001, carried along by the new tide of official
secrecy, the NSA determined that even this limited degree of
historical budget accountability was excessive and had to be
reversed.

"Previously, SIGINT resource information was UNCLASSIFIED if the
information was 25 years or older but SECRET if less than 25
years old. It is now SECRET for all timeframes," according to a
February 12, 2001 NSA policy decision obtained by Secrecy News.

Likewise, "Previously, the total personnel strength of the
cryptologic community... was UNCLASSIFIED if the information was
25 years or older but CONFIDENTIAL if less than 25 years old. It
is now CONFIDENTIAL for all timeframes," according to another
policy decision of the same date.

These and other changes to NSA classification policy as of 2001
were itemized in an annex to the NSA classification manual,
released in redacted form this week under the Freedom of
Information Act. See:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/nsa/changes01.pdf

Still, historical NSA budget information of the kind now deemed
"classified" by the National Security Agency may be found, for
example, here (thanks to David Barrett):

http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/dia-nsa1972.pdf


NSA DECLASSIFICATION ACTIVITY

Even as they extended the secrecy of the total number of SIGINT
personnel indefinitely, officials at the National Security
Agency in 2001 simultaneously declassified the number of
civilian and military personnel who work at NSA headquarters at
Fort Meade, MD.

Why?

Because the Bush Administration's NSA Transition Team asked them
to, in response to a request from the Maryland congressional
delegation.

Furthermore, "it is in NSA's best interests to declassify basic
civilian personnel figures in order to be able to advocate more
effectively for NSA," according to an internal NSA memorandum
dated January 19, 2001 obtained by Secrecy News.

In other words, in this case classification and declassification
were political decisions, not national security decisions.

Another internal NSA document from April 2001 elaborated on the
purely political drivers behind such classification actions.

NSA officials, it said, were "under pressure to declassify the
numbers of military personnel at NSA. They are not under
pressure to declassify any other numbers (e.g., number of
military personnel living in Maryland or the total number of
contractors employed at NSA), so those items remain classified."

It was a simple political calculation. But it had nothing to do
with national security. See:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/nsa/personnel.pdf

See related NSA declassification policy memoranda, released in
redacted form, here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/nsa/index.html


RAND: GOVT WEB SITES OF LITTLE USE TO TERRORISTS

In recent years, government agencies have removed whole
libraries of information from their web sites based on a vague
presentiment that the information could be used by terrorists.
 But this thoughtless resort to secrecy was unjustified, judging
from a new RAND Corporation study.

"In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the
United States, questions were raised about whether the federal
government makes geospatial information" - such as maps and
imagery - "so readily available that terrorists and other
potential enemies could exploit this information to plan new
attacks. Because of this concern, many federal agencies began
restricting some of their publicly available geospatial
information, particularly information accessible through the
Internet."

But "RAND researchers... found no publicly accessible federal
geospatial information deemed critical to meeting attackers'
information needs," according to a March 25 news release.

"Although publicly available geospatial information on federal
Web sites and in federal databases could potentially help
terrorists select and locate a target, attackers are likely
to need more detailed and current information - better
acquired from direct observation or other sources, according
to the RAND study. These other sources include textbooks,
non-government Web sites, trade journals and street maps."

RAND noted that "Public access to this vast quantity of
federal geospatial information has many benefits for the
nation."

"For example, the information is used to assist law enforcement
agencies, advance scientific knowledge, inform people about
environmental risks, help communities prepare and respond to
natural disasters and other emergencies, create more accurate
maps, assist economic development efforts, and help a wide array
of government agencies do their jobs more effectively."

In order to preserve such benefits, RAND called for a reasoned
analytical process, rather than a knee-jerk response, to
evaluate and address the risks associated with particular
information.

"Our study suggests that decisionmakers need to use an
analytical process for identifying sensitive geospatial
information because no 'one size fits all' set of guidelines is
likely to work," according to John Baker, lead author of the
RAND report, which was prepared for the National Geospatial
Intelligence Agency.

See "Mapping the Risks: Assessing the Homeland Security
Implications of Publicly Available Geospatial Information," RAND
Corporation, March 25 (flagged by www.resourceshelf.com) here:

http://www.rand.org/publications/MG/MG142/


CRS ON TESTIMONY FROM WHITE HOUSE ADVISERS

The history of presidential advisers testifying before Congress,
or refusing to do so, was helpfully summarized two years ago in
a report by the Congressional Research Service.

Soon it will have to be updated to include the political
pirouette of national security adviser Condoleezza Rice who, it
was announced today, will testify, after all, before the 9-11
Commission.

See "Presidential Advisers' Testimony Before Congressional
Committees: A Brief Overview" by Harold C. Relyea and Jay R.
Shampansky, April 5, 2002:

http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/RL31351.pdf

Congressional leaders oppose direct public access to CRS
reports like this one.




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

To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, send email to
secrecy_news-request.nul
with "subscribe" in the body of the message.

OR email your request to saftergood.nul

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


[ Next Message | Previous Message | This Day's Messages ]
This Month's Index |

UFO UpDates Main Index

UFO UpDates - Toronto - Operated by Errol Bruce-Knapp


Archive programming by Glenn Campbell at Glenn-Campbell.com