UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2003 > Dec > Dec 16

Secrecy News -- 12/15/03

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood@fas.org>
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2003 14:14:40 -0500
Fwd Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2003 09:59:26 -0500
Subject: Secrecy News -- 12/15/03


SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2003, Issue No. 108
December 15, 2003


**	DOD WITHHOLDS STUDY ON ANTHRAX LESSONS LEARNED
**	BUSH SIGNS 2004 INTEL BILL INTO LAW
**	SECURITY CLEARANCE POLICY IN DISARRAY
**	ACCURACY OF THE FISA APPLICATION PROCESS
**	US NEWS ON BUSH ADMINISTRATION SECRECY
**	CRS ON POST-SADDAM IRAQ


DOD WITHHOLDS STUDY ON ANTHRAX LESSONS LEARNED

In the latest sign of the expanding scope of official secrecy,
the Department of Defense has formally refused to release a
report on lessons learned from the 2001 anthrax attacks, in
which anthrax spores were sent through the mail to members of
Congress and the media, even though the report is unclassified.

What makes the move somewhat unusual is that the Pentagon did
not invoke national security as the reason for withholding the
document.

Instead, in denying a Freedom of Information Act request from
the Federation of American Scientists for the anthrax study, the
Department cited FOIA exemption (b)(2) (High) which protects
information that, "if disclosed, might be used to circumvent an
agency rule or regulation."  No particular agency rule or
regulation was identified.

Furthermore, "this document falls under the guidance of the US
Attorney General memorandum, dated October 12, 2001, that
restricts the public distribution of information related to
homeland security and protection of critical infrastructure,"
according to the December 12 denial letter from the Defense
Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).  See:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2003/12/dtra121203.pdf

But exemption 2 is completely inapplicable to this document, FAS
argued in a letter of appeal.  Nor is the Attorney General
authorized to unilaterally impose new "restrictions on public
distribution of information" that go beyond the nine exemptions
from disclosure that were provided in the FOIA.  See:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2003/12/dtra-appeal.pdf

The Department of Defense seems to have so clearly exceeded its
authority in this case that if the appeal is denied, the stage
may be set for corrective judicial action.  A successful legal
challenge in this case could help to limit the growing practice
of using FOIA exemption 2 to withhold information on
unclassified homeland security and critical infrastructure
matters.

"I'm amazed that DoD is giving this case to you on a silver
platter," said one former DTRA official who said he found the
agency's argument for withholding the document untenable.

"There is no 'rule or regulation' DoD can cite that has any
relevance to this whatsoever -- let alone one that they can
accuse this report of subverting."

"For their sake, I can only hope that [DTRA] realizes that
denying your appeal is going to have the effect, when you win in
court, of striking down DoD's entire information management
policy," the former official told Secrecy News, anticipating one
possible sequence of events.  (See also SN, 8/19/03).


BUSH SIGNS 2004 INTEL BILL INTO LAW

President Bush signed into law the 2004 intelligence
authorization bill on December 13, while signaling a continuing
posture of secrecy towards congressional overseers.

In a signing statement, he warned that he might not comply with
several legislative provisions on intelligence accountability
and reporting because, he said, they intruded on executive
authority.

"Many provisions of the Act, including section 106 and subtitle
D of title III of the Act, seek to require the executive branch
o furnish information to the Congress on various subjects. The
executive branch shall construe the provisions in a manner
consistent with the President's constitutional authority to
withhold information the disclosure of which could impair
foreign relations, national security, the deliberative processes
of the Executive, or the performance of the Executive's
constitutional duties."

See the December 13 signing statement here:

http://www.fas.org/irp/news/2003/12/wh121303.html


SECURITY CLEARANCE POLICY IN DISARRAY

After a decade of concerted effort to streamline and rationalize
the procedures for granting security clearances, there are still
major defects in security clearance policy, particularly when it
comes to industrial contractors doing classified work for the
government, according to a new report.

First and foremost, the system is plagued by delays in handling
of clearance applications, which sometimes take several years to
be processed, according to the 2002 report of the National
Industrial Security Program (NISP).

"According to those interviewed, the delays cost industry
countless millions of dollars per year," the NISP report stated.
 "Often individuals left the company before they actually worked
in the position they were hired for, due to delays in the
clearance process."

Another major problem concerns the erosion in "reciprocity,"
i.e. the growing unwillingness of one agency to accept the
clearances issued by another agency without conducting a
separate, independent investigation.

"Based upon the responses given, it is difficult to recognize
that the entire executive branch is supposed to be operating
under uniform investigative standards and adjudicative
guidelines for security clearances," the report said.

"Overall, this report reveals that items identified as progress
points in our January 1999 NISP report are no longer
progressing," it said.

A copy of the 2002 NISP report, published last month by the
Information Security Oversight Office, is available here (1.7 MB
PDF file):

http://www.fas.org/sgp/isoo/nisp2002.pdf


ACCURACY OF THE FISA APPLICATION PROCESS

The integrity of the procedures for authorizing clandestine
search and surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act was called into question in recent years after
several instances in which inaccurate information was presented
to a court in applications for such surveillance.

In response, the Federal Bureau of Investigation two years ago
adopted new procedures to "ensure the accuracy" of its
applications.

A copy of the so-called Woods Procedures, named after their
author, Michael J. Woods of the FBI Office of General Counsel,
and declassified last year, is available here:

http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/fisa/woods.pdf

In reply to questions for Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), FBI
Director Robert Mueller explained the background and context of
the procedures.

Director Mueller's responses, transmitted August 29, 2003, were
sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee and are excerpted here:

http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/fisa/fbi082903.pdf

FBI reliance on the FISA process is increasing as previous,
long-held distinctions between law enforcement and intelligence
are swept away.

See "FBI Applies New Rules to Surveillance" by Dan Eggen,
Washington Post, December 13:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A60964-
2003Dec12.html


US NEWS ON BUSH ADMINISTRATION SECRECY

The extraordinary reach of official secrecy in the Bush
Administration is explored in a lengthy investigation published
this week in U.S. News and World Report.

The story goes well beyond the familiar excesses to include many
lesser known but no less troublesome restrictions on public
access to information that have become a hallmark of the current
Administration.

See "Keeping Secrets" by Christopher H. Schmitt and Edward T.
Pound, U.S. News and World Report, December 22:

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/031222/usnews/22secrecy.htm


CRS ON POST-SADDAM IRAQ

The daunting complexities of Iraq's internal political
environment after the fall of Saddam Hussein are explored in a
new report from the Congressional Research Service (completed
before the capture of Hussein on December 13).

See "Iraq: U.S. Regime Change Efforts and Post-Saddam
Governance" by Kenneth Katzman, Congressional Research Service,
updated November 18:

http://www.fas.org/man/crs/RL31339.pdf

Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) does not believe the American public should
have routine access to CRS reports like this one.

Rep. Ney, chair of the House Committee on House Administration,
attempted to explain his position in "Ney Draws Line at Public
Access to Research," by Paul M. Krawzak, Copley News Service,
December 11:

http://www.timesreporter.com/left.php?ID=25035&r=4


_______________________________________________
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@lists.fas.org
with "subscribe" in the body of the message.

OR email your request to saftergood@fas.org

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@fas.org
voice:  (202) 454-4691