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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2006 > Jun > Jun 14

Secrecy News -- 06/12/06

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood.nul>
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2006 14:50:16 -0400
Fwd Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 07:23:06 -0400
Subject: Secrecy News -- 06/12/06


SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2006, Issue No. 69
June 12, 2006

Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

Support Secrecy News:
http://www.fas.org/static/contrib_sec.jsp


**	AGENCIES PURSUE STANDARDIZED POLICY FOR "SENSITIVE" INFO
**	ARMY MEMO ON OVERSIGHT OF SENSITIVE ACTIVITIES
**	NSA DECLASSIFICATION PLAN
**	PREPAREDNESS FOR A DIRTY BOMB ATTACK IN NEW YORK
**	WHY DOES THE WASHINGTON POST PUBLISH CLASSIFIED INFO?


AGENCIES PURSUE STANDARDIZED POLICY FOR "SENSITIVE" INFO

An interagency report on proposals to streamline controls on so-
called "sensitive but unclassified" (SBU) information is due to
be presented to the White House this month.

Efforts to promote information sharing among government agencies
and others involved in homeland security have been stymied by
the growing use of over sixty different types of access controls
on unclassified information, such as For Official Use Only, Law
Enforcement Sensitive, Limited Official Use, and many more. Such
controls are often poorly defined and mutually incompatible.

Last December 16, the White House initiated an ongoing review
that began with preparation of an inventory of all of the
various SBU access controls used in the federal government,
which was completed in March. The next step was to formulate
recommendations for standardizing SBU policies related to
terrorism, homeland security and law enforcement, which are now
due.

See Guideline 3, "Standardize Procedures for Sensitive But
Unclassified Information," in the December 16 White House memo
here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2005/12/wh121605-memo.html

As of last week, a report to the President on those
recommendations was awaiting the signatures of the Attorney
General and the Secretary of Homeland Security.

The pending report sets forth principles upon which SBU policy
should be based, but stops short of the crucial task of defining
exactly how those principles ought to be implemented, government
officials said.

One of those principles is that each type of control on
unclassified information should have a uniform, public and
government-wide definition so that it is employed the same way
by all agencies. That is not the case today.

The proposed principles include provisions for oversight of how
SBU controls are used, officials told Secrecy News.

They also include a proposed moratorium on the creation of new
SBU categories.

The new report to the President has not been released. But a
2005 report prepared for the Department of Homeland Security
provides one detailed perspective on the complexity of the
information sharing problem and some options for addressing it.

See "Information Sharing and Collaboration Business Plan,"
Institute for Defense Analyses, June 2005 (205 pages, 1.5 MB
PDF):

http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/dhs/ida2005.pdf


ARMY MEMO ON OVERSIGHT OF SENSITIVE ACTIVITIES

Some agencies treat oversight of their programs as a burden or a
threat to be avoided or evaded. But that is a shortsighted view.

The paradox of oversight is that when properly performed it
actually serves the interests of the overseen program by
building confidence in its legitimacy and integrity.

Perhaps with that in mind, U.S. Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey
recently issued a memo to senior Army leaders stressing the
importance of effective oversight, especially when it comes to
classified "sensitive" activities.

"I expect my oversight team to have an informed understanding of
the Army's conduct of, or support to, sensitive activities,"
Secretary Harvey wrote.

"Sensitive activities may include intelligence activities and
military operations, organizational relationships or processes,
and technological capabilities or vulnerabilities."

See "Oversight of Sensitive Activities," May 18, 2006:

http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/army/harvey051806.pdf


NSA DECLASSIFICATION PLAN

"The National Security Agency is committed to declassifying
national security information as instructed in Executive Order
12958, as amended," the NSA declared in a 2005 declassification
plan.

"The Agency will use all available resources to successfully
accomplish the provisions of the E.O. within the required time."

See "NSA Declassification Plan for Executive Order 12958, as
Amended," January 13, 2005 (obtained by Michael Ravnitzky):

http://www.fas.org/sgp/isoo/declass/nsa.pdf

"The fact that the U.S. Army and Navy mounted a [World War II]
effort called Project BOURBON against certain Soviet
cryptosystems can be released," according to a newly disclosed
2001 NSA notice on declassification policy.

"Most details beyond this statement, as well as the cooperation
with the British in this effort, remain classified."

See selected NSA declassification guidance, released June 2006:

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

Other agency declassification plans, including newly posted
plans of the Army and Navy, may be found here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/isoo/declass/index.html


PREPAREDNESS FOR A DIRTY BOMB ATTACK IN NEW YORK

"Is New York City adequately prepared for a 'dirty bomb'
attack?" asked John Sudnik, a deputy chief at the New York Fire
Department in a recent master's thesis on the prospects of a
terrorist incident involving a radiological weapon.

In response to this question, the author provided an assessment
of the threat, the consequences of an attack, and the
possibilities of mitigating such consequences.

See "'Dirty Bomb' Attack: Assessing New York City's Level of
Preparedness from a First Responder's Perspective" by John
Sudnik, Naval Postgraduate School, March 2006:

http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/sudnik.pdf


WHY DOES THE WASHINGTON POST PUBLISH CLASSIFIED INFO?

"Why does The Washington Post willingly publish 'classified'
information affecting national security?" wrote former Post
editor Robert G. Kaiser in a Sunday Outlook piece.

"Should Post journalists and others who reveal the government's
secrets be subject to criminal prosecution for doing so? These
questions, raised with new urgency of late, deserve careful
answers."

He proposed some thoughtful answers in "Public Secrets,"
Washington Post, June 11:

http://tinyurl.com/hhbop




_______________________________________________
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

Secrecy News is available in blog format at:
http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

SUPPORT Secrecy News with a donation here:
http://www.fas.org/static/contrib_sec.jsp

_______________________
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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