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Secrecy News - 07/27/07

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood.nul>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2007 09:00:01 -0400
Archived: Fri, 27 Jul 2007 20:54:22 -0400
Subject: Secrecy News - 07/27/07


SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 78
July 27, 2007


**	9/11 BILL REQUIRES INTELLIGENCE BUDGET DISCLOSURE
**	CRS REPORTS ON VARIOUS TOPICS


9/11 BILL REQUIRES INTELLIGENCE BUDGET DISCLOSURE
 For the first time since it began debating the issue more than
three decades ago, Congress is now poised to adopt legislation
that will require - not merely recommend - public disclosure of
the total national intelligence budget.

"Not later than 30 days after the end of each fiscal year
beginning with fiscal year 2007, the Director of National
Intelligence shall disclose to the public the aggregate amount
of funds appropriated by Congress for the National Intelligence
Program for such fiscal year," states the House-Senate
conference agreement on H.R. 1 (section 601), the massive bill
to implement recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

Excerpts from the conference report concerning intelligence
budget disclosure, declassification and related issues are
posted here:

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2007_cr/hr1-intel.html

The conference bill has already been approved in the Senate and
is expected to win final approval in the House as early as
today.

If enacted into law, it would lead to the first authorized
disclosure of current U.S. intelligence spending since the
aggregate budgets were disclosed in 1997 ($26.6 billion) and
1998 ($26.7 billion) in response to a Freedom of Information Act
lawsuit brought by the Federation of American Scientists. (Those
figures included spending on "national" as well as "tactical"
intelligence.)

The Bush White House has expressed opposition to intelligence
budget disclosure but is not expected to veto the entire 9/11
bill on that basis.

"The Administration strongly opposes the requirement in the bill
to publicly disclose sensitive information about the
intelligence budget," according to a February 28 statement of
administration policy.

"Disclosure, including disclosure to the Nation's enemies and
adversaries in a time of war, of the amounts requested by the
President and provided by the Congress for the conduct of the
Nation's intelligence activities would provide no meaningful
information to the general American public, but would provide
significant intelligence to America's adversaries and could
cause damage to the national security interests of the United
States."

Hardly anyone agrees with that assessment.

The bipartisan 9/11 Commission came to almost the opposite
conclusion: "The top-line figure by itself provides little
insight into U.S. intelligence sources and methods.... But when
even aggregate categorical numbers remain hidden, it is hard to
judge priorities and foster accountability." (Final Report, p.
416)

In a compromise with Administration opponents, the House-Senate
conference agreed that, beginning in 2009, the President could
waive the disclosure requirement by submitting a statement to
Congress that budget disclosure in that particular year could
damage national security. The legislation does not allow for a
waiver in 2007 or 2008.

The conference legislation also includes provisions to
strengthen the Public Interest Declassification Board, and to
require declassification of the executive summary of a CIA
Inspector General report on events leading up to 9/11.


CRS REPORTS ON VARIOUS TOPICS

Recent reports of the Congressional Research Service that have
not been made readily available to the public include the
following.

"U.N. Convention Against Torture (CAT): Overview and Application
to Interrogation Techniques," updated January 12, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/intel/RL32438.pdf

"Zimbabwe: Current Issues," updated June 21, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL32723.pdf

"Haiti: Developments and U.S. Policy Since 1991 and Current
Congressional Concerns," updated June 21, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL32294.pdf

"Japan's Currency Intervention: Policy Issues," updated July 13,
2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL33178.pdf

"Kosovo and U.S. Policy: Background and Current Issues," updated
July 3, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL31053.pdf

"Kosovo's Future Status and U.S. Policy," updated July 12, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RS21721.pdf

"Federal Crime Control: Background, Legislation, and Issues,"
updated June 12, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32824.pdf

"Sea-Based Ballistic Missile Defense - Background and Issues for
Congress," updated June 26, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL33745.pdf




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

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

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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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