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Secrecy News -- 03/02/07

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood.nul>
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2007 12:24:38 -0500
Fwd Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2007 15:55:55 -0500
Subject: Secrecy News -- 03/02/07


SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 24
March 2, 2007

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

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


**	KYL AMENDMENT ON LEAKS IS WITHDRAWN, AMENDED, REINTRODUCED
**	WHITE HOUSE "STRONGLY OPPOSES" INTEL BUDGET DISCLOSURE
**	ARMY CASUALTY PROGRAM


KYL AMENDMENT ON LEAKS IS WITHDRAWN, AMENDED, REINTRODUCED

A sweeping proposal by Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) to criminalize the
unauthorized disclosure or publication of classified information
about U.S. Government activities relating to terrorism was
abruptly withdrawn on February 28 in the face of vigorous
protests by public interest, press and First Amendment advocacy
groups.

But then a modified, more narrowly focused version was
reintroduced on the Senate floor on March 2 as an amendment to
S.4, the pending bill on enacting the remaining recommendations
of the 9/11 Commission.

The new Kyl amendment would penalize employees of the House or
Senate or other authorized personnel who knowingly disclose
classified information that is contained in a report to
Congress. See the text of the amendment here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2007/03/kylamend3.pdf

"Singling out employees of Congress for criminal sanctions would
be virtually unprecedented," said Kate Martin, director of the
Center for National Security Studies.

It also "raises serious separation of powers concerns," she
said, since classification criteria and practices are dictated
by the executive branch. "And it would demonstrate a lack of
confidence by the Congress that it can police its own house."


WHITE HOUSE "STRONGLY OPPOSES" INTEL BUDGET DISCLOSURE

The Bush Administration formally notified the Senate this week
that it objects to a provision in a pending bill on homeland
security that would require publication of the annual
intelligence budget total.

"The Administration strongly opposes the requirement in the bill
to publicly disclose sensitive information about the
intelligence budget."

"Disclosure, including disclosure to the Nation's enemies and
adversaries in a time of war, of the amounts requested by the
President and provided by the Congress for the conduct of the
Nation's intelligence activities would provide no meaningful
information to the general American public, but would provide
significant intelligence to America's adversaries and could
cause damage to the national security interests of the United
States," the White House statement said.

http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2007/02/sap022807.pdf

It is hard to find a serious intelligence professional who
agrees with this White House view.

Because the intelligence budget total is a high-level aggregate
of spending levels in more than a dozen different agencies, its
intelligence value to U.S. adversaries is practically nil, since
funding for any particular program is insulated many layers
beneath the enormous top-line figure. On the other hand,
disclosure of the total figure would provide the public with a
reliable index of the magnitude of intelligence spending to
compare with spending on other national priorities.

To critics and other observers, intelligence budget secrecy is
the preeminent example of unnecessary and inappropriate
classification.

For that reason, the 9/11 Commission recommended that budget
disclosure is the best way to begin reversing the spread of
bureaucratic secrecy that has undermined the performance of U.S.
intelligence agencies. The 9/11 Commission recommendation was
incorporated into the Senate bill (S.4), which is expected to
pass the Senate next week.

In other important disputes, the new White House statement also
took sharp exception to provisions in the bill that would
strengthen the Public Interest Declassification Board, enhance
whistleblower protections for intelligence community employees,
and require increased intelligence and information sharing with
state and local officials.


ARMY CASUALTY PROGRAM

The somber duties associated with official reporting of U.S.
Army casualties, including notification of survivors, are
spelled out in exhaustive detail in a new Army regulation.

"Generally, casualty matters are unclassified," the regulation
states (obliquely admitting the possibility of classified
casualties), "but they are assigned the protective marking of
For Official Use Only" until after notification of next of kin.

The new regulation provides "notification scripts" for use in
informing family members of their loss in various circumstances
including, for example, suspected friendly fire cases:

"The Secretary of the Army has asked me to express his deep
regret that your (relationship) (died/was killed in action) in
(country) on (date). (State the circumstances). His/her death is
a result of suspected friendly fire. A formal investigation is
being conducted...."

"The CNO [casualty notification officer] will internalize the
script ... before proceeding to make notification and will relay
the information orally and in person in a calm and sensitive
manner to the person being notified," the regulation states.

"The CNO team members should not have alcohol on their breath or
be inebriated."

See "Army Casualty Program," Army Regulation AR 600-8-1,
February 28, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/ar600-8-1.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:
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Secrecy News is available in blog format at:
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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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