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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2001 > Nov > Nov 16

Secrecy News -- 11/16/01

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood@fas.org>
Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001 11:52:48 -0500
Fwd Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001 22:33:22 -0500
Subject: Secrecy News -- 11/16/01


SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
November 16, 2001


**	THE SECRETIVE BUSH ADMINISTRATION
**	NEW RESOURCES ON TERRORISM
**	MORE CRITICISM OF PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS ORDER
**	DECLASSIFICATION NEWS


THE SECRETIVE BUSH ADMINISTRATION

Taken individually, each of the new national security policies
adopted by the Bush Administration in recent weeks has its pros
and cons, its potential excesses and mitigating factors.  But
collectively, they represent a striking new concentration of
power in the executive branch and a transformation of the
national security landscape.

What common factors underlie diverse measures such as military
tribunals for suspected foreign terrorists, the monitoring of
certain attorney-client conversations, and new restrictions on
disclosure of historical presidential records, among other
recent policy excursions?

Each involves an expansion of the exercise of executive branch
authority with diminished opportunity for independent oversight,
and little or no provision for public accountability.

The new policies are being unilaterally adopted faster than they
can be assessed by Congress.  In effect, the Administration is
altering the institutional balance that has been gradually honed
over recent decades, and jettisoning the experience on which
that balance was based.

It is not necessary to attribute any malicious intent to the
Bush Administration in order to conclude that its new policies
will make the abuse of government power more feasible, harder to
detect, and much more difficult to correct.

Several of the new policies were surveyed in a November 15
Associated Press story, "U.S. More Tightlipped Since September
11," by Deb Riechmann.  The story, with links to related
documents, is posted here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2001/11/ap111501.html


NEW RESOURCES ON TERRORISM

The British Government this week published an updated version of
its report on "Responsibility for the Terrorist Atrocities in
the United States, 11 September 11 2001," which outlines on an
unclassified basis the case against Usama bin Laden and Al
Qaida.  See:

http://www.fas.org/irp/news/2001/11/ukreport.html

The U.S. State Department belatedly published a comparable
report of its own on "The Network of Terrorism" which is
glossier but no more substantive than the UK report. See:

http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/terrornet/

The Library of Congress has prepared a helpful compilation of
"Legislation Related to the Attack of September 11, 2001" of
which there has been quite a bit.  See:

http://rs9.loc.gov/home/terrorleg.htm


MORE CRITICISM OF PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS ORDER

In an encouraging display of critical opposition, resistance to
the recent Bush executive order that would impede public access
to historical Presidential records continues to mount.

"Although the president may have hoped that this executive order
might go unnoticed, the backlash is already fierce," according
to the San Francisco Chronicle (11/11/01):

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2001/11/11/ED81
976.DTL

"The Bush order [is] entirely too restrictive," says the
Christian Science Monitor (11/14/01):

http://www.csmonitor.com/2001/1114/p8s3-comv.html

"Since Mr. Bush is unlikely to rescind his own order, Congress
must pass a law doing so," the New York Times editorialized
(11/15/01):

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/15/opinion/15THU4.html

"With a stroke of the pen on Nov. 1, President Bush stabbed
history in the back," wrote historian Richard Reeves today,
hyperventilating a little for the New York Times op-ed page:

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/16/opinion/16REEV.html


DECLASSIFICATION NEWS

On November 14, the United Kingdom Public Records Office
announced "the eighth and largest Security Service release,
consisting of just over 200 files, bringing the total number of
MI5 records in the public domain to 1120."  See:

http://www.pro.gov.uk/releases/nov2001-MI5/introduction.htm

Also on November 14, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
disclosed the contents of two "declassified" situation reports
from U.S. Special Forces units in Afghanistan.

The new disclosures include observations from the field such as:
"everywhere I go the civilians and mujahadeen soldiers are
always telling me they are glad the USA has come."  See:

http://www.defenselink.mil/speeches/2001/s20011114-depsecdef.htm
l


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

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