from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
July 10, 2001
MISSILE DEFENSE CRITIQUE PUBLISHED
- MISSILE DEFENSE CRITIQUE PUBLISHED
- FBI REBUTS GAO ON WEN HO LEE
- MACEDONIA: BACKGROUND AND RECENT CONFLICT
- WHEN SECRETS CRASH
- FOIA AT 35
- ECHELON: RESOLUTION AND DISSENT
- STRATCOM DETERRENCE STUDY
- MI-5 RELEASES
- NAZI WAR CRIMES
- SLOVENIAN INTELLIGENCE ONLINE
After an extended tug of war between the Pentagon and Congressman John F. Tierney (D-MA), a critique of the national missile defense program that the Defense Department tried to suppress has now been released to the public.
The August 2000 report, which faults the missile defense program for inadequate and unrealistic testing, was prepared by Philip Coyle, then-Director of Operational Test and Evaluation.
"The Department of Defense has not approved the release of this report to the general public," wrote Stewart F. Aly, DoD Acting Deputy General Counsel in a May 31 letter to Rep. Dan Burton, Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee.
"Accordingly, the report should not be disclosed to persons other than Members of Congress and professional staff members who have an official need to see it," Mr. Aly continued. "We specifically request that you not post this report on any web sites."
But Democrats on the Government Reform Committee, led by Rep. Tierney, quickly determined that there was no legal justification for withholding the unclassified document. They have posted the full text of the Coyle report, with accompanying analysis and related correspondence, here:
FBI REBUTS GAO ON WEN HO LEE
FBI Assistant Director Neil J. Gallagher lashed out at the General Accounting Office for suggesting in a recent report that he might have "intentionally" misled Congress in testimony concerning the Wen Ho Lee investigation.
In a June 27 letter released by the FBI, Mr. Gallagher acknowledged that when he testified before Congress in June 1999 he was not aware of the defects in the Administrative Inquiry that initially named Wen Ho Lee as a possible espionage suspect. But in his defense, he notes that he wrote to Congress in November 1999 to correct the record after he learned that the basis for the Wen Ho Lee investigation was disputed.
The FBI's shifting understanding of the early phases of the Wen Ho Lee case is documented in correspondence attached to Mr. Gallagher's letter. See his rebuttal to the GAO review here:
MACEDONIA: BACKGROUND AND RECENT CONFLICT
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday that the U.S. was prepared to participate in a possible NATO deployment to Macedonia.
"The United States would participate in a variety of ways involving essentially enabling and logistics and intelligence gathering and helicopter capability, that type of thing, with respect to medical evacuation and the like," he said.
A comprehensive Congressional Research Service report entitled "Macedonia: Country Background and Recent Conflict," updated July 5, is available here:
WHEN SECRETS CRASH
What happens when an aircraft whose very existence is considered secret suffers a very public accident? Jeffrey T. Richelson examines the history of classified aircraft accidents from the U-2 to the F-117A in "When Secrets Crash," published in the July issue of Air Force Magazine:
FOIA AT 35
The "State of Freedom of Information" is the subject of a valuable new online publication of the National Security Archive, presented on the 35th anniversary of the passage of the Freedom of Information Act.
The Archive reviews the cost, volume and utility of current FOIA activity and offers an impressive compilation of official records documenting the history and evolution of the FOIA, along with guidance for new requesters. See:
The newly published transcript of a June 2000 congressional hearing on "Agency Response to the Electronic Freedom of Information Act" is available here:
ECHELON: RESOLUTION AND DISSENT
The European Parliament committee on the "Echelon" electronic surveillance network approved a resolution on July 3 summarizing the findings and conclusions of its year long investigation for consideration by the full Parliament in September. A copy of the resolution, obtained by Cryptome.org, is posted here:
Several members of the committee dissented from the resolution, and complained that it gave short shrift to personal privacy. They declared: "This report makes an important point in emphasizing that Echelon does exist, but it stops short of drawing political conclusions. It is hypocritical for the European Parliament to criticise the Echelon interception practice while taking part in plans to establish a European secret service." See:
STRATCOM DETERRENCE STUDY
A 1995 study prepared for the U.S. Strategic Command investigated the nature of nuclear deterrence and the refinements to U.S. nuclear policy that might be required to strengthen deterrence. The study was reported by Walter Pincus in the Washington Post on July 5.
The document itself, entitled "Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence," was obtained in declassified form by Hans M. Kristensen of the Nautilus Institute and is available here:
The Public Record Office of Great Britain announced the declassification and release of a new set of historical records on MI-5, the nation's Security Service, on July 5. See:
NAZI WAR CRIMES
Although the history of the Nazi Holocaust has been intensely scrutinized for many years now, new details continue to emerge.
"Documents declassified under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998 are shedding new light on what the American and British intelligence communities knew of Hitler's plans for the Jews early in World War II," according to a July 2 news release from the Interagency Working Group on Nazi War Crimes. See:
The transcript of a June 2000 congressional hearing on "The Implementation of the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act" is posted here:
SLOVENIAN INTELLIGENCE ONLINE
One measure of the international trend toward increasing "transparency" is the fact that many otherwise obscure and secretive intelligence agencies are establishing a new presence for themselves on the world wide web.
The latest entry is the Slovenian Intelligence and Security Agency (Slovenska Obveseevalno-Varnostna Agencija). Its brand new web site has exceptionally fine production values, but little content so far. See:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
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