SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2003, Issue No. 59
July 14, 2003

CIA FIRES BACK ON BUDGET DISCLOSURE

The Central Intelligence Agency last week reiterated its opposition to an FAS Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking declassification of the intelligence budget total for fiscal year 2002, arguing that the views of the Director of Central Intelligence, and only his views, should decide the matter.

"Courts give 'great deference' to the judgment of the DCI for several reasons: (1) the DCI sees 'the whole picture'; (2) the DCI has expertise to recognize and assess potential risks to national security that may be unrecognized by those less knowledgeable; and (3) the DCI is charged by law with the responsibility of making the decision whether to disclose information," attorneys for the Agency said in a July 11 pleading.

For the same reasons, "no weight [should be given] to opinions of persons other than the DCI when the courts review the propriety of the DCI's classification determinations," the pleading states.

The Agency moved with dispatch to invoke the June 17 appeals court decision that upheld the secrecy surrounding the September 11 detainees in support of its argument for judicial deference. Another FOIA ruling favorable to the government from July 8 was also promptly integrated into the government's legal arsenal.

See the July 11 pleading here:

A reply to the CIA argument is due shortly. The case is pending before the Honorable Ricardo M. Urbina in DC District Court.


THE IRAQI URANIUM BROUHAHA AND SSCI

The controversy over President Bush's reference in the State of the Union address to alleged Iraqi attempts to purchase uranium from Africa has quickly become the vehicle for larger questions concerning White House credibility, the rationale for the war in Iraq, and the quality of U.S. intelligence.

It is also a convenient vehicle for diversionary questions and score-settling.

"What now concerns me most," said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) "is what appears to be a campaign of press leaks by the CIA in an effort to discredit the President." See Senator Roberts' July 11 statement here:

Under Sen. Roberts' closed-door policy, the Senate Intelligence Committee seems increasingly like a mere bystander in the current upheaval. The key developments in the mounting controversy have all unfolded in other venues.

But see "Roberts defends Senate committee's private review" by Scott Rothschild in the Lawrence, Kansas Journal-World, July 12:

Senator Roberts did set aside his odd aversion to the word "investigation" to endorse a sense of the Senate resolution adopted July 10 that "supports the thorough and expeditious joint investigation by the Inspector General of the Department of State and the Inspector General of Central Intelligence Agency into the documents or other materials that the President relied on to conclude that Iraq had attempted to obtain uranium from Africa." See:

A selection of other official statements on the Iraqi uranium matter can be found here:


BOOK: THE CIA'S RUSSIANS

The personality features and motivations common to the Soviet agents who agreed to spy for the United States during the cold war are examined in "The CIA's Russians" by the late John Limond Hart (Naval Institute Press, 2003).

The author, a former CIA officer, based his study in part on CIA case files which remain classified.

"The result is a highly professional analysis of a relationship that has been left too long to novelists and sensational journalists," wrote the late William E. Colby in the Foreword.

For more information, see:

Secrecy News welcomes review copies of new books on intelligence and national security.


BOOK: JOURNEY TO PEKING

"Journey to Peking: A Secret Agent in Wartime China" by Dan Pinck (Naval Institute Press, 2003) is the memoir of a young Office of Strategic Services volunteer behind Japanese lines in China during World War II.

"Dan Pinck has written one of the best autobiographies on the life of the secret agent in the field that I have ever read: lively, amusing, true, and well-written," wrote the late professor Robin W. Winks in a book jacket blurb.

See:


BOOK: AUTHORITY GIVEN

"Authority Given" (in Hebrew: VeHaReshut Netunah, Yedioth Aharonot Books, 2002) presents a harshly critical view of the Palestinian Authority and its chairman Yasser Arafat written by Israeli national security reporter Ronen Bergman of the Tel Aviv daily Yedioth Aharonot.

Based on internal PA documents, many of which are excerpted, as well as original reporting, the book explores corruption in the Palestinian Authority and its links to terrorist organizations. It includes appendices on Palestinian security services and prominent figures in the Palestinian leadership. See:

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

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