SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
September 18, 2001

NATIONAL EMERGENCY DECLARED

On September 14, President Bush declared that "A national emergency exists by reason of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, New York, and the Pentagon, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States."

Declaration of a national emergency entitles the President to invoke a number of statutes granting him extraordinary authorities. The nine particular statutes invoked by President Bush last Friday give him increased flexibility in constituting the size and distribution of U.S. armed forces.

The text of President Bush's declaration, which was published in the Federal Register today, and an accompanying executive order implementing the new authorities are posted here:


SSCI REPORT ON INTEL AUTHORIZATION

Even before last week's terrorist attack, President Bush had requested a "substantial increase" in intelligence spending for the coming year. With the supplemental billions now being allocated by Congress, the intelligence budget for fiscal year 2002 may be the largest in history.

Some of the general contours of the proposed intelligence budget are evident from the report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) on the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2002, which was filed last Friday and published today.

The Committee identifies its top priorities as follows: "(1) revitalizing the National Security Agency; (2) correcting deficiencies in human intelligence; (3) addressing the imbalance between intelligence collection and analysis; and (4) rebuilding a robust research and development program."

The report contains a number of asides on covert action reporting, Congress as an intelligence consumer, polygraph testing, language translation resources and other important topics that will be of interest to concerned citizens.

The new SSCI Report on the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2002 (Senate Report 107-63) is posted here:


IN PURSUIT OF MYSTICAL RECONCILIATION

In a week of horrors apparently originating in the Middle East, it was heartening to see American leaders reaching out to Arab American and Islamic leaders and assuring them that "they" are "us." Senior officials from the President on down went out of their way to acknowledge the vulnerability of these minority communities and to offer them the increased security that was regrettably necessary following recent attacks on mosques and community centers.

This outreach was not only the proper and decent thing to do, it is also part of the ongoing process of clarifying who the enemy is and is not. If there is to be a war against terrorism it must be fought not only by attacking those who would kill innocent civilians but by building bridges to those who oppose terrorist actions and by strengthening their hand.

The notion that religion could be a basis for such bridge-building, rather than an obstacle to it, seems improbable. But that is the starting point of Yossi Klein Halevi's new book "At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden" (Harper Collins, 2001).

Halevi, an orthodox Israeli Jew, set out to meet his Islamic and Christian Palestinian neighbors and to engage them not on a political plane but as fellow spiritual seekers. (The uncertain premise here seems to be that there is a common spiritual reality that is the subject of all true religion, along the lines of what Aldous Huxley called the "perennial philosophy.")

From every obvious point of view this is a preposterous undertaking. But Halevi shows wonderful courage, sensitivity and self-critical awareness in his pursuit. And with some effort his quest finds a response among certain Sufi sheykhs and Christian monastics in the West Bank.

Arab-Israeli reconciliation through mystical union is not an approach that is likely to be tried by U.S. mediators at Camp David.

But the capacity to conceive and pursue an alternative vision for transcending inherited conflicts is much in demand.

More information about Halevi's "At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden" may be found here:

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

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