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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2005 > Oct > Oct 22

Secrecy News -- 10/21/05

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood.nul>
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 13:19:17 -0400
Fwd Date: Sat, 22 Oct 2005 11:55:59 -0400
Subject: Secrecy News -- 10/21/05


SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2005, Issue No. 99
October 21, 2005


**	FAILURE TO DECLASSIFY INTEL BUDGET TERMED "UNSATISFACTORY"
**	LEE HAMILTON ON SECRECY
**	F-16 FIGHTER AIRCRAFT FOR PAKISTAN
**	DOD ON CONTRACTORS AND ARMED FORCES
**	ZAWAHIRI TO ZARQAWI: THE ASPENS ARE TURNING


FAILURE TO DECLASSIFY INTEL BUDGET TERMED "UNSATISFACTORY"

In a progress report on the status of the recommendations made
by the 9/11 Commission, the former Commissioners rated Congress
"unsatisfactory" for failing to declassify the intelligence
budget total.

The final report of the bipartisan Commission last year had
singled out budget declassification as best place to begin
combating the excessive secrecy that has degraded the
performance of U.S. intelligence agencies (at page 416).

But not even the national catastrophe of September 11 proved
sufficient to dislodge the official prejudice in favor of
unfettered secrecy.

Ironically, the intelligence community has probably suffered
more than anyone from budget secrecy, as significant cuts to
classified intelligence spending were imposed in the 1990s
without public awareness or even the possibility of debate.

("In the 1990s, we suffered deep cuts in intelligence funding,"
DCIA Goss recalled on June 29, 2005.)

The proponents of budget secrecy thus bear a heavy burden of
responsibility for the steadily eroding quality of U.S.
intelligence.

Last year, the full Senate voted in favor of intelligence budget
disclosure, but the measure was opposed by the Bush White House
and rejected by most House Republicans. It was abandoned in a
House-Senate conference.

Now, the 9/11 Commission members urge in their new report,
"Congress should pass a separate appropriations act for
intelligence, making public the overall amounts being
appropriated from national intelligence and being assigned to
the various components of the intelligence community."

See "Report on the Status of 9/11 Commission Recommendations"
from the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, October 20:

http://www.9-11pdp.org/press/2005-10-20_report.pdf

A new critique of the Silberman-Robb Commission on WMD
Intelligence written by David Isenberg and published by the
British American Security Information Council is available here:

http://www.basicint.org/pubs/Research/05WMD.pdf


LEE HAMILTON ON SECRECY

"At a time when the U.S. intelligence community is under intense
scrutiny in the aftermath of 9/11 and the failure to find
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, we only increase public
skepticism about our government by denying the public
information," said Lee H. Hamilton, the distinguished former
Congressman and vice chair of the 9/11 Commission.

Mr. Hamilton was the keynote speaker this week at a remarkable
symposium sponsored by the Information Security Oversight Office
(ISOO) to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Executive Order
12958 on national security classification.

Under other circumstances, many of Mr. Hamilton's remarks would
be considered truisms, e.g. "Information must be made available
-- to the maximum extent possible -- to the American people."
But today, such sentiments practically amount to a radical
critique of government policy.

See the text of his presentation here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/eprint/hamilton.pdf

The superb ISOO symposium offered genuinely diverse and strongly
argued perspectives, unresolved disagreements, and even a few
laughs.

For a partial account of one of the symposium panels, see
"Official: Secrecy decisions 'subjective'," by Shaun Waterman,
UPI, October 18:

 http://www.upi.com/inc/view.php?StoryID051018-070909-6371r


F-16 FIGHTER AIRCRAFT FOR PAKISTAN

The United States may offer to sell Pakistan "up to 55 new and
25 used F-16" fighter aircraft, a newly updated Congressional
Research Service study says, citing unspecified "reports."

See "Pakistan-U.S. Relations, Congressional Research Service,
updated October 13, 2005:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/IB94041.pdf


DOD ON CONTRACTORS AND ARMED FORCES

A new Department of Defense Instruction defines "DoD policy and
procedures concerning DoD contractor personnel authorized to
accompany the U.S. Armed Forces."

Contractors deployed alongside U.S. military forces in Iraq and
elsewhere have assumed increasing responsibilities for military
tasks up to and including prisoner interrogation, but in doing
so they have also created legal, administrative and procedural
problems.

The new DoD Instruction attempts to bring some order to what has
occasionally been a chaotic situation and addresses, for
example, the conditions under which contractors may be armed.

The issuance of the Instruction earlier this month was first
reported by InsideDefense.com.

See DoD Instruction 3020.41, "Contractor Personnel Authorized to
Accompany the U.S. Armed Forces," October 3, 2005:

http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/i3020_41.pdf


ZAWAHIRI TO ZARQAWI: THE ASPENS ARE TURNING

The letter purportedly written from Al Qaeda's Ayman al Zawahiri
to Abu Musab al Zarqawi and released October 11 by the Director
of National Intelligence has met with continuing skepticism and
has now entered the domain of spoofery.

The anomalous fact that the supposed letter to Zarqawi advises
the recipient, if in Fallujah, to "send greetings to Abu Musab
Al Zarqawi," noted last week in Secrecy News, was elaborated in
a Reuters story by David Morgan.

See "US Cannot Explain Suspicious Zawahri Letter Passage,"
October 14:

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N1460892.htm

The story was picked up appreciatively by Harry Shearer in his
satirical broadcast "Le Show" on October 16. An audio clip can
be found here (thanks to A):

http://tinyurl.com/ajtep

Taking it to the next level, T.A. Frank wrote his own letter
from Zawahiri to Zarqawi in the The New Republic:

"Please remember that here in Waziristan, out East, where you
train, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in
clusters-- partly because their roots connect them, partly
because a recent volley of daisy-cutters has reduced them to
charred stumps."

http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i051031&s=frank103105

U.S. intelligence analysts are not completely oblivious to the
peculiarities of the proffered Zawahiri letter.

A national security reporter who was briefed by senior
intelligence officials told Secrecy News:

"One hypothesis from the analysts is that the last line--about
giving regards to Zarqawi if in Fallujah--was a note to one of
the couriers who would have carried or transmitted the letter--
 and not, therefore, part of the letter addressed to Zarqawi.
The senior official said that he has 'rarely been more
confident' that the letter was indeed authored by Zawahiri,
based on intelligence from 'multiple' sources."


_______________________________________________
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the
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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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