UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > May > May 4

Secrecy News -- 05/02/07

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood.nul>
Date: Thu, 3 May 2007 14:23:35 -0400
Fwd Date: Fri, 04 May 2007 08:31:26 -0400
Subject: Secrecy News -- 05/02/07


SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 47
May 3, 2007

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

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


**	LOS ALAMOS BLOCKS RESEARCHER ACCESS TO ARCHIVES
**	OSCE REPORTS ON ACCESS TO INFORMATION
**	FEDERAL ID PLAN THREATENS PRIVACY, SAY JPL SCIENTISTS
**	COURT URGED TO ASSESS STATE SECRET CLAIMS


LOS ALAMOS BLOCKS RESEARCHER ACCESS TO ARCHIVES

Los Alamos National Laboratory will no longer permit historians
and other researchers to have access to its archival records
because Los Alamos National Security (LANS), the private
contractor that now operates the Lab, says it has "no policy in
place" that would allow such access.

"Policies that had previously applied to the University of
California relating to the disclosure of information directly to
you are no longer applicable," wrote Judy Archuleta of the Los
Alamos Information Practices Office to Alex Wellerstein, a
graduate student at Harvard.

Mr. Wellerstein had sought copies of Lab records on the history
of nuclear secrecy policy and he had been led to believe that
access to such material would be granted, in accordance with
past practice.

"Because LANS is a private company, the policies that applied
[previously] are no longer in place," she said.

"No policy is presently in place that authorizes the direct
disclosure of the information you seek," she wrote.

Instead, Mr. Wellerstein was told that he should pursue his
research through the Freedom of Information Act.

"The FOIA process, however cumbersome, currently provides the
only means of accessing our records," wrote Roger A. Meade, the
Los Alamos Archivist/Historian on April 17.

But FOIA requests are poorly suited to archival research since
they can easily take years to process and must specify in
advance the records that are sought.

In effect, when it comes to historical or other public research,
the Los Alamos archives are closed for business.

It's "terrible news" for scholars, said Hugh Gusterson, an
anthropologist who has studied the culture of the nuclear
weapons labs.


OSCE REPORTS ON ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Government secrecy and public access policies in dozens of
countries from Albania to Uzbekistan were described in a major
new report from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe (OSCE).

The report surveyed freedom of information (FOI) laws, national
security classification policies, penalties for unauthorized
disclosures of information, and provisions for protecting
journalists' sources.

There is good news and bad news, the report says.

"The FOI trend in the OSCE participating States is positive. Out
of 56 OSCE participating States, 45 started their 'Copernican
revolution' in favour of the public's right to know, by adopting
national laws on access to information."

"Unfortunately, many countries retained the right to classify a
too wide array of information as 'state secrets'. In fact, the
majority of the OSCE participating States have not yet adjusted
their rules of classification to the FOI principles, that is,
they disregard the primacy of the public's right to know."

The report offers some comparative analysis and proposes a
series of "best practices" in promoting public access to
government information.

"There should be sanctions for those who deliberately and
improperly designate information as secret or maintain excessive
secrecy," the report advises.

See the summary report, entitled "Access to information by the
media in the OSCE region: trends and recommendations,"
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, 30 April
2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/library/osce-access.pdf

The underlying country reports (423 pages) are available here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/library/osce-reports.pdf


FEDERAL ID PLAN THREATENS PRIVACY, SAY JPL SCIENTISTS

A Bush Administration plan to require a standardized
identification system for federal employees poses "severe
threats to the privacy rights of scientists and others,"
employees at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) wrote to
Congress last week.

In August 2004, President Bush issued Homeland Security
Presidential Directive (HSPD) 12, "Policy for a Common
Identification Standard for Federal Employees and Contractors,"
which was intended to enhance security by establishing a
mandatory, verifiable, and standardized identification system
for government personnel.

http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/nspd/hspd-12.html

But the implementation of the Directive is doing more than that,
the JPL scientists told Congress.

"We and our colleagues have found that this order, which is
merely intended to establish a common standard of identification
for access to federal facilities, is being used to gather
extensive personal information about employees, including
fingerprints, racial, ethnic, financial and medical
information."

"Rigorous proof [of identification] does not require intrusion
into the personal lives of federal employees," they wrote on
April 26.

http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2007/05/hspd12-letter.pdf

Aside from civil liberties concerns, they added, the collection
of personal data under HSPD-12 has "a very negative impact on
our ability to recruit the very best scientific and engineering
talent to address our nation's complex technical needs."

"In the face of such intrusions talented researchers are
inclined to take positions elsewhere, where the employers have a
modicum of respect for the Constitution."

The four JPL scientists addressed their request for relief to
Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers (R-Mich.) since
"the four of us, like the two of you, hold doctorates in the
physical sciences."


COURT URGED TO ASSESS STATE SECRET CLAIMS

When the government asserts the state secrets privilege in the
course of litigation, the judiciary must independently evaluate
the purported secret that is at issue and should not simply
defer to the executive branch, several public interest groups
argued in an amicus curiae brief this week.

The brief, to which the FAS Project on Government Secrecy signed
on, was filed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a state
secrets case involving alleged domestic intelligence
surveillance (Hepting v. USA, and related cases).

"The government's extreme reading of the [state secrets]
privilege would thwart government accountability, denying a
forum for legitimate claims of government wrongdoing and
undermining independent judicial review of executive action,"
the brief stated.

http://www.fas.org/sgp/jud/statesec/hepting-amicus.pdf




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

To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, send email to
secrecy_news-request.nul
with "subscribe" in the body of the message.

OR email your request to saftergood.nul

Secrecy News is archived at:
http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/index.html

Secrecy News is available in blog format at:
http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

SUPPORT Secrecy News with a donation here:
http://www.fas.org/static/contrib_sec.jsp

_______________________
Steven Aftergood
Project on Government Secrecy
Federation of American Scientists
web:  www.fas.org/sgp/index.html
email: saftergood.nul
voice: (202) 454-4691



Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast

See:

http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/sdi/program/


[ Next Message | Previous Message | This Day's Messages ]
This Month's Index |

UFO UpDates Main Index

UFO UpDates - Toronto - Operated by Errol Bruce-Knapp


Archive programming by Glenn Campbell at Glenn-Campbell.com