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Secrecy News -- 02/16/07

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood.nul>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 12:11:55 -0500
Fwd Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2007 11:26:57 -0500
Subject: Secrecy News -- 02/16/07

from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 19
February 16, 2007

Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

Support Secrecy News:



Some recent Congressional Research Service reports obtained by
Secrecy News that are not readily available in the public domain
include the following.

"Sharing Law Enforcement and Intelligence Information: The
Congressional Role," February 13, 2007:


"India-U.S. Relations," updated February 13, 2007:


"Changes to the OMB Regulatory Review Process by Executive Order
13422," February 5, 2007:


"Al Qaeda: Statements and Evolving Ideology," updated January
24, 2007:


"Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons," updated January 9, 2007:


"Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-
2006," updated January 8, 2007:


"'Sensitive But Unclassified' Information and Other Controls:
Policy and Options for Scientific and Technical Information,"
updated December 29, 2006:



The average amount of time required by the government to conduct
a background investigation and process a security clearance
application has been around one year for a Top Secret clearance
and 5 to 6 months for a Secret or Confidential clearance, which
is "a totally unacceptable length of time," according to a new
report to Congress from the Office of Management and Budget. The
February 15 Report of the Security Clearance Oversight Group
describes efforts underway to reduce security clearance
processing time. See:


"The Putin Era in Historical Perspective" was the topic of a
conference of non-governmental experts sponsored by the DNI's
National Intelligence Council. The conference report hews
closely to received wisdom and is surprisingly devoid of
significant insight. ("Bereft of its former empire, Russia still
aspires to be a great power and to be respected as such.") See:


"The Infantry Battalion" is a new U.S. Army Field Manual (FM 3-
21.20, December 2006) that describes the roles and missions of
Army battalions at great length (599 pages, 20 MB PDF):



Soviet intelligence agencies "rarely used the polygraph, but
trained some of their officers with a machine stolen in 1965 by
a Counterintelligence Corps sergeant, Glen Rohrer, who defected
to Czechoslovakia."

That curious factoid is just one of many intriguing nuggets
contained in a new "Historical Dictionary of Cold War
Counterintelligence" by British intelligence writer Nigel West,
which is the sixth in a series of historical intelligence
dictionaries published by Scarecrow Press.

From "abduction" to "Zlatovsky" the new Dictionary provides
brief, capsule summaries of key topics, terms and events in the
turbulent history of cold war counterintelligence.

All of the familiar entries are there, and quite a few
unfamiliar ones.

"White Knuckle" is "the CIA codename for an operation to recover
classified files that had been loaned to the KGB defector
Anatoli Golitsyn to assist his research for the
counterintelligence staff. The documents were retrieved from his
home in New York City, as well as from his mill farm upstate."

"Eyewash" is "the CIA term for false entries made in files,
usually to protect the security of a source, often indicating
that a particular target has rejected a pitch, when in fact the
offer was accepted."

An excellent series of Appendices provide a convenient roster of
espionage prosecutions in the United States; a list of U.S.
defectors to the Soviet Union; a list of Soviet and Eastern bloc
intelligence defectors to the United States; and more.

Part of the satisfaction of reading a book like this derives
from seeking and finding errors, and there are at least a few of
those. There is a "Philip" whose name is misspelled "Phillip."
More significantly, CIA covert action is not limited to, nor
does it even consist principally of, "paramilitary operations,"
as the Dictionary says.

The entries themselves are not sourced or annotated, so if a
reader wants to pursue further information, he has to take his
best guess as to where it may be found in the bibliography.

Some readers might wish the author had refrained from publishing
speculation about the identities of individuals who he thinks
correspond to spies known only by their Soviet code name. If the
book is mistaken about the "likely" identity of RELAY, for
example, it will have perpetrated an injustice that is difficult
to correct.

Just a few writers have immersed themselves in the historical
intelligence literature as extensively as the prolific Mr. West
and returned to write about it. So almost anyone is likely to
learn something new.

Some of the other volumes in the present series have been found
wanting by Hayden B. Peake, a former intelligence officer and
bibliophile who reviewed them for the CIA journal Studies in
Intelligence. But an earlier volume on British intelligence that
was also written by Mr. West was ruled by Mr. Peake "quite
good," which is high praise from that quarter.

The very high list price of the book ($115) will make it
unaffordable for many readers and will probably limit its
acquisition to larger libraries and special collections.

More information, including a table of contents and an excerpt,
may be found on the Scarecrow Press (www.scarecrowpress.com) web
site here:


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

To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, send email to
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SUPPORT Secrecy News with a donation here:

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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