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Secrecy News -- 02/26/07

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood.nul>
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 15:44:30 -0500
Fwd Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2007 06:57:07 -0500
Subject: Secrecy News -- 02/26/07


SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 22
February 26, 2007

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

Support Secrecy News:
http://www.fas.org/static/contrib_sec.jsp


**	DECLASSIFICATION BOARD WEIGHS INTEL BUDGET DISCLOSURE
**	SELECTED CRS REPORTS


DECLASSIFICATION BOARD WEIGHS INTEL BUDGET DISCLOSURE

The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB), an advisory
body whose members were appointed by the President and the
Congress, held its eleventh meeting on February 24 to receive
public input on potential improvements to national security
classification and declassification policy. Much of the session
was devoted to discussion of whether the annual intelligence
budget total should be declassified.

Intelligence budget disclosure was first advocated by Congress
more than thirty years ago. More recently, it was recommended by
the 9/11 Commission as an indispensable first step toward
eliminating counterproductive secrecy in the U.S. intelligence
bureaucracy. Currently, there are at least three bills pending
in the U.S. Senate that would require such disclosure. The step
is opposed by the Bush Administration.

"There is no one who is better positioned than the PIDB to win
favorable presidential reconsideration of the question of
intelligence budget disclosure and to catalyze a final
resolution of this perennial classification dispute," I told the
PIDB members. "I hope you will seize the opportunity." My
written presentation on that and other subjects is here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2007/02/sa022407.pdf

"I am already on record in favor" of disclosure, said former
Congressman David Skaggs (D-CO), who chaired the meeting, noting
that he had supported legislation to that effect.

"I've been on both sides of the debate," said Martin Faga,
former director of the National Reconnaissance Office, who
recalled that he had approved the declassification of the NRO's
existence in 1992.

The intelligence budget total probably "does not meet the
criteria for classification," admitted former Deputy DCI Adm.
William Studeman and former Senate Intelligence Committee
staffer Joan Vail Grimson, but they said it should remain
classified anyway since its disclosure, they feared, could lead
to further uncontrolled releases of more sensitive information.

But that kind of approach "undermines the integrity of the
classification system," warned Bill Leonard, director of the
Information Security Oversight Office.

"As an intelligence professional, I can't see a way that
disclosure of the intelligence budget total could hurt me," said
former CIA analyst Bruce Berkowitz, who was also invited to
address the Board.

"I would like to hear more," said Archivist of the United States
Allen Weinstein, who endorsed another FAS proposal to engage
agency Inspectors General in oversight of classification and
declassification.

The Board members were scheduled to meet later in the day with
national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley.

The first annual report of the Public Interest Declassification
Board is available here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/pidb2006.pdf

The problem of secret spending was examined by the Las Vegas Sun
in the context of allegations that Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons
took improper advantage of the secret "black budget" while
serving in Congress to reward friends and supporters.

See "Bush budget contains many secrets" by Lisa Mascaro, Las
Vegas Sun, February 25:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/sun/2007/feb/25/566681
849.html


SELECTED CRS REPORTS

Some recent reports of the Congressional Research Service that
have not previously been made readily available in the public
domain include the following.

"Climate Change: Science and Policy Implications," January 25,
2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33849.pdf

"Foreign Science and Engineering Presence in U.S. Institutions
and the Labor Force," updated January 12, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/97-746.pdf

"U.S. Military Dispositions: Fact Sheet," updated January 30,
2007:

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

"Navy Ship Names: Background For Congress," updated January 17,
2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RS22478.pdf

"Latin America: Terrorism Issues," updated January 22, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/RS21049.pdf

"U.S. National Science Foundation: An Overview," updated January
24, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/95-307.pdf

"War Powers Resolution: Presidential Compliance," updated
January 16, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL33532.pdf

"Laos: Background and U.S. Relations," updated February 5, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RS20931.pdf

"Kyrgyzstan's Constitutional Crisis: Context and Implications
for U.S. Interests," updated January 5, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RS22546.pdf

At the conclusion of a widely cited article on U.S. policy
towards Iran in the latest issue of The New Yorker, Seymour
Hersh referred to a November 2006 report by CRS "on what it
depicted as the Administration's blurring of the line between
C.I.A. activities and strictly military ones."

The referenced report is "Covert Action: Legislative Background
and Possible Policy Questions," November 2, 2006:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/intel/RL33715.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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