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Secrecy News - 03/18/03

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood@fas.org>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 11:31:25 -0500
Fwd Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 14:38:38 -0500
Subject: Secrecy News - 03/18/03

from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2003, Issue No. 23
March 18, 2003



"Our goal is transparency," said Peter B. Teets, director of the
National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which develops, launches
and operates the nation's spy satellites.

"We want the ability to see everything and know everything,
while simultaneously denying our adversaries both the ability to
do the same, and the knowledge that such capabilities are being
used against them."

These are busy days for U.S. military space programs.  "We have
12 national security space launches scheduled for 2003, compared
to only one conducted in 2002," said Mr. Teets at a March 12
hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

With increasing bandwidth and decreasing classification
restrictions, "We have made great progress over the decades in
expanding the range of those exploiting these space capabilities
from a small set of strategic users to multiple government
agencies and virtually the entire warfighting force," Teets
said.  "But we need to do more."

Mr. Teets, who is also an Under Secretary of the Air Force,
provided a rare public description of Air Force "offensive
counterspace" (OCS) programs for disabling other countries'

"We currently have two OCS projects underway.  The first is the
Counter Communication System (CCS), a capability intended to
disrupt satellite-based communications used by an enemy for
military C3, and scheduled for first delivery in FY04. The
second is the Counter Surveillance Reconnaissance System (CSRS),
intended to impair an enemy's ability to obtain targeting,
battle damage assessment, and information by denying their use
of satellite imagery with reversible, non-damaging effects.
  CSRS is currently in the initial design phase, with operational
units scheduled by FY07," Mr. Teets testified.

See the prepared testimony of Peter B. Teets from the March 12
Senate Armed Services Committee hearing here:


Other testimony from that hearing on national security space
programs may be found here:


"We are so dominant in space that I pity a country that would
come up against us," said Air Force director of space operations
Major General Judd Blaisdell at a March 12 Air Force press
briefing on military space.  See:



The federal government's infrastructure for processing Freedom
of Information Act requests is in "extreme disarray," according
to a study conducted by the National Security Archive.

"Agency contact information on the web was often inaccurate;
response times largely failed to meet the statutory standard;
only a few agencies performed thorough searches including e-mail
and meeting notes; and the lack of central accountability at the
agencies resulted in lost requests and inability to track
progress," the Archive found.

Among other things, the report provides some empirical data on
the impact of the October 2001 Ashcroft memorandum on FOIA
policy, finding that most agencies did not alter their FOIA
procedures in response.

See the March 14 National Security Archive assessment here:



A new study from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the
Press examines "how the war on terrorism affects access to
information and the public's right to know."

Beginning with a comprehensive chronology of official actions to
curtail public access to government information since September
11, the study discusses a spectrum of issues affecting freedom
of the press and public access.

See the March 2003 report entitled "Homefront Confidential"



The "Freedom to Read Protection Act" (HR 1157) would amend the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to exempt libraries and
bookstores from any requirement to comply with foreign
intelligence investigations.  The new bill would "protect
libraries, bookstores and their patrons from unjustified
government surveillance into what books Americans are reading
and buying, and what websites they may be visiting when using a
library computer," said Rep. Bernie Sanders, the bill's
principal sponsor.  See:


The "Military Tribunals Act of 2003" would replace  the Bush
Administration's military commissions, that were established
unilaterally by executive order, with statutorily-based military
tribunals.  The bill (HR 1290), introduced March 13 and
sponsored by Reps. Adam Schiff, Barney Frank and others, would
"preserve the basic rights of habeus corpus, appeal, and due
process," Rep. Schiff said.  See:



The state of government secrecy policy was critically surveyed
at a March 14 conference sponsored by the Freedom Forum's First
Amendment Center on the occasion of National Freedom of
Information Day.  See "Press Not Spotlighting Government Secrecy
'Cloak'" by Harry F. Rosenthal, March 17:


The awkward attempts to integrate intelligence, domestic
surveillance and homeland security functions are reviewed in
"Intelligence reorganization spotlights fabled FBI-CIA rift" by
Drew Clark, National Journal Technology Daily, March 17:


The shocking claim that the 1953 Supreme Court ruling which
established the "state secrets" privilege was based on false
government affidavits is updated in the newsletter Inside the
Air Force, which notes that the privilege was recently invoked
to block a whistleblower lawsuit alleging fraud in the missile
defense program.  See "Supreme Court Filing Claims Air Force,
Government Fraud in 1953" by Hampton Stephens, Inside the Air
Force, March 14, reposted with permission here:



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

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

OR email your request to saftergood@fas.org

Secrecy News is archived at:

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

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