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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2005 > May > May 14

Secrecy News -- 05/13/05

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood.nul>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 11:47:35 -0400
Fwd Date: Sat, 14 May 2005 10:24:01 -0400
Subject: Secrecy News -- 05/13/05


SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2005, Issue No. 46
May 13, 2005


**	UK MEMO REVIVES QUESTIONS ABOUT IRAQ WAR
**	WAXMAN INTRODUCES RESTORE OPEN GOVERNMENT ACT
**	DISCLOSURE OF GRAND JURY INFO TO INTEL AGENCIES
**	A CLUTCH OF CRS REPORTS


UK MEMO REVIVES QUESTIONS ABOUT IRAQ WAR

Long before the war against Iraq commenced, the Bush
Administration had decided to remove Saddam Hussein from power
by force, and a case for war was contrived to support that
objective, according to minutes of a July 2002 British
government meeting that were published earlier this month.

"Military action was now seen as inevitable," the meeting
minutes stated. "Intelligence and facts were being fixed around
the policy."

In a May 5 letter, 89 House Democrats pressed the White House to
explain the contents of the British memo.

"If the disclosure is accurate," they wrote to President Bush,
"it raises troubling new questions about the legal
justifications for the war as well as the integrity of your
Administration." See:

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2005_cr/dem050505.pdf

The memo itself, obtained by Michael Smith of the London Sunday
Times, is available here:

 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1593607,00.html

Coverage of the matter has been sparse in the U.S. The Los
Angeles Times reported on it yesterday, more than a week after
the story broke in the UK on May 1, and the Washington Post
followed today.


WAXMAN INTRODUCES RESTORE OPEN GOVERNMENT ACT

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) introduced legislation this week that
would reverse some of the restrictions on public disclosure of
government information that have been imposed in recent years.

The new bill would restore the pre-Ashcroft Freedom of
Information Act policy directing agencies to release requested
information unless there is some finding of harm; it would
repeal the executive order that limited public access to past
presidential records; it would prohibit secret advisory
committees such as the Vice President's energy task force that
meet with industry groups behind closed doors; and more.

Under the present House Republican leadership, Democrats are not
permitted to contribute meaningfully to the legislative process.
Their bills are not scheduled for hearings or allowed to come to
the House floor for a vote.

It is therefore unlikely that Rep. Waxman's bill will become law
in the near term. But it may nevertheless serve as a useful
reminder of an alternative vision of American government, and as
a trail of bread crumbs that could one day lead us back the way
we came.

A news release and summary of the bill's provision may be found
here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2005/05/waxman051105.pdf


DISCLOSURE OF GRAND JURY INFO TO INTEL AGENCIES

The USA Patriot Act (section 203) directed the Attorney General
to establish procedures for providing intelligence agencies with
law enforcement information obtained in grand jury
investigations and electronic intercepts. Those procedures were
disclosed last month.

In response to a question for the record from Sen. Dianne
Feinstein, the Department of Justice on April 1 released a
September 23, 2002 Memorandum from Attorney General Ashcroft on
"Guidelines for Disclosure of Grand Jury and Electronic, Wire,
and Oral Interception Information Identifying United States
Persons." See (beginning with question 84):

http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/ag203guidelines.pdf

The guidelines were included in a newly published hearing volume
on "FBI Oversight," Senate Judiciary Committee, May 20, 2004.
The full volume may be found here (9.2 MB PDF file):

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2004_hr/052004transcript.pdf


A CLUTCH OF CRS REPORTS

The Congressional Research Service, at the direction of the
current congressional leadership, does not authorize direct
public access to its reports. CRS reports that were recently
obtained by Secrecy News without authorization include the
following.

"Iraq's New Security Forces: The Challenge of Sectarian and
Ethnic Influences," March 25, 2005:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RS22093.pdf

"Iraq: Frequently Asked Questions About Contracting," updated
March 18, 2005:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL32229.pdf

"Iraq: Oil for Food Program, International Sanctions, and
Illicit Trade," updated March 21, 2005:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL30472.pdf

"Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990," updated March 21,
2005:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL30957.pdf

"Lawsuits Against State Supporters of Terrorism: An Overview,"
March 28, 2005:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/RS22094.pdf

"Nomination and Confirmation of the FBI Director: Process and
Recent History," updated March 17, 2005:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RS20963.pdf

"U.S. Military Dispositions: Fact Sheet," updated March 23,
2005:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RS20649.pdf

"Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board: 109th Congress
Proposed Refinements," March 11, 2005:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RS22078.pdf

"Balkan Cooperation on War Crimes Issues: 2005 Update," March
28, 2005:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RS22097.pdf

"Organization of American States: A Primer," March 28, 2005:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RS22095.pdf

"Science and Technology Policy: Issues for the 109th Congress,"
March 28, 2005:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32837.pdf


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

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_______________________
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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