SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
June 5, 2001

OUTSOURCING THE WAR ON DRUGS

The use of private contractors to perform military, intelligence and counterdrug missions in Latin America is drawing renewed attention and controversy, in part because of the secrecy surrounding those missions.

"Who are these people and who is holding them accountable?" said Rep. Jan Schakowsky in an Associated Press story today. Rep. Schakowsky favors a ban on the use of private contractors for anti-drug missions in the Andean region.

A review of the State Department contract with the firm Dyncorp shows that that company's counternarcotics operations are "far more expansive and far-flung than previously reported," wrote Jason Vest in The Nation online on May 23. See his article "State Outsources Secret War" here:

The Dyncorp contract itself was posted by the organization Corpwatch here:

The defects in U.S. policy towards drug trafficking in Latin America were eloquently explored in May 1 testimony by Adam Isacson of the Center for International Policy:


PENTAGON PAPERS ANNIVERSARY

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the publication by the New York Times of the Top Secret Defense Department history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam known as the Pentagon Papers.

The Supreme Court's rejection of the Nixon Administration's effort to block publication of the Pentagon Papers remains a milestone in national security classification policy and a transcendent victory for freedom of the press generally.

The National Security Archive has compiled and published the central documents from that epic legal battle, including audio recordings of oral arguments before the Supreme Court, on the Archive web site here:


POLYGRAPH BINGE COSTS CAREERS

In the mid-1990s, following the unmasking of Aldrich Ames as a Soviet spy, the Central Intelligence Agency went on something of a polygraph rampage, aggressively conducting examinations of its own employees with little regard to the consequences.

"The crackdown turned up serious security problems," write Kevin Whitelaw and David E. Kaplan in this week's U.S. News and World Report (6/11/01). "But innocent people were also snagged, raising the question of whether the agency used the decidedly wrong medicine for a cure. As many as 100 people--including some of the nation's top spies--found their careers paralyzed."

See their article "To Tell the Truth" here:


INDIAN NUCLEAR TESTS REVIEWED

The controversy over the exact nature and yield of the nuclear explosive tests conducted by India in 1998 is reviewed from an Indian non-governmental perspective in the latest issue of Bharat Rakshak Monitor, a journal devoted to analysis of India's military policy and strategic environment.

See "The Indian Nuclear tests -- Summary paper" by D. Ramana, Matt Thundyil, and V. Sunder:


ASTROLOGICAL CLEARANCE APPROVED

Washington Post astrologer Sydney Omarr advises those born under the sign of Taurus today that: "You gain access to classified information. Be secretive." See:

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

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