SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2002, Issue No. 67
July 26, 2002

INTEL BUDGET TO REACH RECORD HIGH IN 2003

Intelligence spending is likely to reach a record high level in the coming fiscal year, exceeding an annual expenditure of $35 billion.

The House version of the 2003 intelligence authorization bill, adopted early on July 25, "recommends substantially more money, many billions of dollars more, than was provided for the current fiscal year," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. "If the amounts recommended in the bill are appropriated, the [intelligence] community will receive the largest one-year increase in funding on a percentage basis in at least the last two decades."

A Democratic aide told reporters the new spending level would be 25 percent higher than the amount approved last year, or well over $35 billion.

The conceit that the total intelligence budget figure is sensitive information that must not be disclosed remains intact.

The House approved an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Tim Roemer, to establish an independent commission to investigate the September 11 attacks.

The largely desultory House floor debate on the 2003 Intelligence Authorization Act is posted here:

A July 24 White House Statement of Administration Policy that takes issue with a few points in the House bill is available here:


A LIMITED FOIA EXEMPTION FOR HOMELAND SECURITY

A compromise that would significantly limit the scope of a Freedom of Information Act exemption for private sector information held by the proposed Department of Homeland Security was reached in the Senate this week.

"The compromise would limit the exemption to 'records' submitted by the private sector, not 'information' from the private sector," according to a release from Senator Patrick Leahy's office. The implications of that distinction, and other features of the Senate compromise, are explained here:


RUMSFELD SEEKS FBI ROLE IN LEAK INVESTIGATION

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld noted yesterday that the Air Force Office of Special Investigations has begun working to identify the source of a classified leak to the New York Times concerning potential Iraqi war plans. He said that the FBI would also be asked to investigate.

"I hope that they [the FBI] will decide that this is something that they do want to participate in," Secretary Rumsfeld said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on July 25. "And if they don't, why, I'll probably encourage them." See:


PLUTONIUM-238 INVENTORY DROPS

The amount of plutonium-238 that is available to NASA for use in space missions has dropped faster than anticipated due to demands from an undisclosed national security agency.

See "National Security Needs Cut into NASA's Plutonium Inventory" by Brian Berger of Space News, published July 24:

Plutonium-238 is used to produce low levels of electrical power (less than one kilowatt) from the natural heat of decay of the radioactive isotope, which has a half-life of 87.5 years. Plutonium heat sources have been used in the U.S. space program since 1961. They are also used for classified terrestrial applications to provide power in remote locations.


SOUTH AFRICAN HISTORY NEWS

In one of the first successful applications of South Africa's recent freedom of information law, the non-governmental South African History Archive has won unprecedented access to apartheid-era military intelligence records.

See "History Archive Wins Access to 'Secret' Apartheid-Era Documents" from the African Eye News Service, July 24:

Information about the South African History Archive (SAHA) is available here:

SAHA will hold a workshop on July 31 in Johannesburg on "Unlocking South Africa's Nuclear Past." The objective of the workshop is to "examine the benefits, risks, and feasibility of declassifying further historical information about the apartheid-era South African nuclear weapons programme."


QIAN XUESEN SPEAKS OUT ON "THE THREE REPRESENTS"

Qian Xuesen, the scientist who was deported from the United States in the 1950s under suspicion of espionage and who went on to become the architect of the Chinese ballistic missile program, surfaced last month in the Chinese press to endorse President Jiang Zemin's quasi-neo-Marxist doctrine of "the three represents" (don't ask).

"The allegations that [Qian] was spying for the PRC are presumed to be true," the congressional Cox Committee on Chinese espionage declared in 1999.

But the available evidence does not justify that conclusion, according to author Iris Chang, who wrote a biography of Qian Xuesen (also known as Tsien Hsue-shen) entitled "Thread of the Silkworm" (Basic Books, 1995).

See "On Comrade Qian Xuesen's Study of Important Thinking of 'Three Represents'," published June 24 in Beijing Renmin Ribao and translated by the CIA's Foreign Broadcast Information Service:

Theodore von Kármán, the distinguished mathematician and aeronautical scientist who was Qian's mentor at Cal Tech, is fancifully referred to by the CIA translator as "Carmen."


SCIENCE AND SECRECY

Scientists are grappling with the question of their responsibility for the consequences of the research that they publish, according to a July 26 report in the New York Times.

See "Scientists Worry Journals May Aid Terrorists" by Nicholas Wade:

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

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