SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
September 28, 2000

AN ANALYSIS OF THE PROPOSED "LEAK" STATUTE

Congress is preparing to adopt a statute in the pending Intelligence Authorization Act that would criminalize the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. It is a measure of the inadequacy of the intelligence oversight process that this provision is moving forward without any opportunity for public comment or review.

Kate Martin of the Center for National Security Studies argues incisively that the proposed “leak” statute is unconstitutional and that appropriate sanctions for unauthorized disclosures already exist. Her new analysis is posted here:


MODERN HUMORIST AND WEN HO LEE

In a merciless parody of the New York Times, the online magazine Modern Humorist has published an "assessment" of its coverage of the Wen Ho Lee case.

"Modern Humorist remains proud of our coverage of the Wen Ho Lee case.... But we have also found some things we wish we had done differently to give Dr. Lee the full benefit of the doubt.

"Our March 6 story 'Evil Chinaman is Pure Evil' could have benefited from more reporting....

"We should have moved more quickly to open a second line of reporting, to challenge the accusation that Dr. Lee was a Nazi during World War II...." See:


THE NRO DECLASSIFIED

The National Reconnaissance Office is the organization that manages the development and operation of the nation’s spy satellites. With annual expenditures of around $6 billion, it has the largest budget of any single intelligence agency.

Following the 40th anniversary of the launch of the first CORONA spy satellite, the National Security Archive has published “The NRO Declassified,” a compilation of declassified documents reflecting significant points in NRO’s history, prepared with an introduction by Jeffrey T. Richelson. Of particular interest are records reflecting deliberations over NRO secrecy policy, such as an analysis of a 1973 Washington Post article which included one of the earliest mentions of the NRO in the press. See:


FAS CALLS ON DCI TO DECLASSIFY OLD SPYSAT IMAGERY

Spy satellite secrecy remains a subject of controversy. The Central Intelligence Agency has defied a 1995 executive order from the President that required the Director of Central Intelligence to complete a declassification review of certain old spy satellite imagery (from “obsolete broadarea filmreturn systems”) by February 2000. Nor has the DCI reported annually to the President every year on the progress of this review effort, as required by the 1995 executive order (E.O. 12951), posted here:

In a September 25 letter to the DCI, the Federation of American Scientists urged the DCI to proceed expeditiously with declassification of the remaining “film-return” spy satellite imagery, as directed by the President. See:


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