SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
October 8, 2001

HOUSE ADOPTS 2002 INTELLIGENCE AUTHORIZATION

The House of Representatives adopted its version of the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2002 on October 5.

"The bill provides several billion dollars more than appropriated last year and several hundred million dollars more than requested by the President for fiscal year 2002," according to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the ranking minority member of the House Intelligence Committee.

The new proposed budget allocation was also characterized as a nine percent increase over the past year and a two percent increase over the President's request.

This implies an intelligence budget total in excess of $30 billion. For no valid reason, the precise total has been classified since it was last disclosed in 1998, when it reached $26.7 billion.

The text of the October 5 House floor debate on intelligence funding may be found here:


SECRECY OFFICE SEEKS NEW DIRECTOR

The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), which is the government body responsible for overseeing national security classification and declassification policy, is looking for a new Director to replace its current leader, the distinguished Steven Garfinkel, who is retiring at the end of the year.

ISOO reviews secrecy programs in over 60 executive branch agencies and develops new government-wide secrecy policies, among its various other responsibilities. ISOO is administratively part of the National Archives, but takes policy direction from the National Security Council.

Steven Garfinkel was appointed ISOO Director in May 1980. Through countless conflicts and controversies over the past two decades, he has emerged with a finely honed sense of what matters in security policy, and what does and doesn't work. It is hard to imagine that there is anyone with a more thorough understanding of the inner workings of the government secrecy system.

Mr. Garfinkel must also be the most accessible and responsive agency head in the U.S. government. He is always willing to take a moment to explain why you are wrong.

He shepherded the classification system through its significant, though not fully realized, post-Cold War changes. With rumblings of ill-considered changes to secrecy policy beginning to be heard, Mr. Garfinkel with his long view and rich experience will probably be missed sooner rather than later.

The ISOO Director "must possess the ability to cope with complex problems and conflicting points of view, and to recognize problem areas, the resolution of which will require innovative thought and action," according to a Position Description prepared by ISOO.

On the other hand, "The work is largely sedentary. Physical demands are minimal." See:

The official ISOO Director vacancy announcement from the Office of Personnel Management, including application information, may be found here:


MORE RESOURCES ON TERRORISM

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has issued a new compilation of previously published resources on terrorism and related issues under the title "Strategies for Homeland Defense" which may be found here:

A new White House fact sheet describing the functions of the new Office of Homeland Security is available here:

Last week the British government published a 21 page report articulating why Usama bin Laden and the al-Qa'ida network are to be held responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Why hasn't the U.S. government published a comparable document?

"If you were to see such a document produced by the American government," explained White House press spokesman Ari Fleischer on October 5, "you would quickly say, How do you know this? And the only [way to] answer those questions [is] to get into sources and methods. And that's just something that we are not going to do."

Fortunately, the British government's views on the subject were less tortured. Its October 4 report on "Responsibilities for the Terrorist Atrocities in the United States" is posted here:

The State Department's latest list of 28 foreign terrorist organizations was published on October 5. See:

The CIA has added an innocuous new "War on Terrorism" section to its web site.

Unlike most of the Agency's online material, which is written in careful, uninflected prose that reads as if it were the product of artificial intelligence, the new Terrorism pages shift erratically between alternate spellings of "bin Laden" and "bin Ladin," perhaps suggesting some new disarray at the CIA. See:

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

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