SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2002, Issue No. 23
March 19, 2002

TRANSPARENCY AND WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION

International transparency and information disclosure will play an essential role in the future of arms control and disarmament, Senator Richard Lugar stated on March 18.

"Ultimately, a satisfactory level of accountability, transparency, and safety must be established in every nation with a WMD [weapons of mass destruction] program," Senator Lugar declared.

"We should demand that each of these nation-states account for all of the materials, programs, and weapons in a manner that is internationally verifiable."

"The United States continues to lack even minimal international confidence about many foreign weapons programs. In most cases, there is little or no information regarding the number of weapons or amounts of materials a country may have produced, the storage procedures they employ to safeguard their weapons, or plans regarding further production or destruction programs."

"Clearly, many states will continue to avoid accountability for programs related to weapons of mass destruction. When nations resist such accountability, other options must be explored," Sen. Lugar said.

Verifiable accountability of "all" WMD materials, programs and weapons is certainly a worthy goal. But it might be noted, though Sen. Lugar did not, that the United States itself does not provide full accountability of this sort, and there is some significant uncertainty about the scope of US WMD programs, past and present.

Senator Lugar's remarks yesterday were presented in his introduction of the "Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Expansion Act (S. 2036)," posted here:


THE CASE OF THE MISSING FRUS VOLUME

An air of mystery now surrounds the suppressed State Department volume "Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1964-1968, vol. XVI: Cyprus, Greece, Turkey."

The volume was printed and ready for release two years ago, but its publication date has been repeatedly deferred under pressure from the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA reportedly opposes disclosure of passages describing Agency intervention in Greek elections during the 1960s.

See "History of U.S.-Greek Ties Blocked" by George Lardner in the Washington Post, August 17, 2001:

The current status of the FRUS volume is apparently a matter of great sensitivity, and even normally garrulous government historians now refuse to discuss it.

The only response to multiple inquiries on the subject from Secrecy News was a cryptic message stating that "15 August it won't only be the Virgin Mary who is assumed into heaven."

The meaning of this, Secrecy News can only infer, is that an August 15 deadline has been set for resolution of the situation. (In Catholic tradition, August 15 is Feast of the Assumption, celebrating the bodily elevation of Mary to heaven.) Either the missing FRUS volume will be released, as the State Department presumably wishes, or the entire 1500 copy print run will be pulped, as the CIA would prefer.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy hailed the FRUS series, noting that "The effectiveness of democracy as a form of government depends on an informed and intelligent citizenry." He called on "all departments, agencies and libraries of the Government to collaborate actively and fully" in "expediting publication" of the series.

See JFK's National Security Action Memorandum 91 on "Expediting Publication of Foreign Relations," dated September 6, 1961, here:


SUPREME COURT HEARS HARBURY CASE

Can the U.S. Government legally lie to an American citizen with the intent of depriving her of the constitutional right to sue the government?

That is the rather fundamental question posed by the case of Jennifer Harbury, who has sued several Clinton Administration officials because they mislead her as to the fate of her Guatemalan guerrilla husband. The case was heard before the Supreme Court on March 18.

See "Slain Rebel's Wife to Plead Case Before High Court" by Charles Lane in the March 18 Washington Post:

and "Court Hears a Lawyer's Personal Claim" in the March 19 Washington Post:

A prior appeals court ruling agreed with Harbury that "when public officials affirmatively mislead citizens in order to prevent them from filing suit, they violate clearly established constitutional rights."

See that December 2000 DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruling here:


CIA COOKIES EXPOSED, ELIMINATED

Contrary to official guidelines and against its own declared policy, the Central Intelligence Agency FOIA web site has been setting "cookies" in the web browsers of visitors to the web site. Cookies are data strings that can be used for monitoring web site activity.

This violation was discovered by Daniel Brandt, President of Public Information Research, a policy research organization critical of the CIA.

In reply to a complaint from Mr. Brandt, CIA webmaster "Mike S." conceded: "You are absolutely right: that part of the DCI/CIA website at www.foia.ucia.gov, which is hosted separately from the main site, has been setting persistent cookies -- unbeknownst to us."

To CIA's credit, these persistent cookies were promptly eliminated. The related log files were also destroyed.

See Daniel Brandt's analysis and the exchange of correspondence with Mike S. here:

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

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