SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2003, Issue No. 92
October 24, 2003

INTELLIGENCE BUDGET DISCLOSED IN BRAZIL

Brazil has now joined the growing number of democracies that publicly disclose the amount of their annual spending on intelligence. The United States is not among them.

Last week, Athos Irigaray, the director of planning and coordination in the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN), disclosed that his Agency's current annual budget is "120 million reais," or approximately $40 million. He also said that ABIN has "slightly over 1,600 employees."

See "Como cada pais opera sua area de inteligencia" in O Estado de Sao Paulo, October 16:

Related resources and links on Brazilian intelligence may be found here:

Other countries that now routinely publish intelligence budget data include the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, and Serbia (Secrecy News, 10/08/03).

But according to the CIA, the U.S. dare not match these other nations' level of public accountability on intelligence spending. To do so would damage national security and compromise intelligence sources and methods, the Agency says.

This week, the CIA denied a request for declassification of the 2004 intelligence budget total.

"We trust you can appreciate the necessity of an intelligence agency to protect its budget," wrote Robert T. Herman, CIA Information and Privacy Coordinator on October 20:


DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTIVES

The Central Intelligence Agency has recently released several Director of Central Intelligence Directives (DCIDs), which collectively comprise much of the regulatory framework of the U.S. intelligence community.

The newly available documents include DCID 6/2 on "Technical Surveillance Countermeasures" and DCID 6/5 on "Policy for Protection of Certain Non-SCI Sources and Methods Information (SAMI)." They were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from intelligence scholar Jeffrey T. Richelson of the National Security Archive.

These and other DCIDs may be found here:


PATRIOT ACT OVERSIGHT

Justice Department officials defended their use of the authorities granted by the USA Patriot Act at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.

See their prepared testimony from a Committee hearing on "Protecting Our National Security From Terrorist Attacks" here:

On the same day, bipartisan legislation to curtail government surveillance authority and amend the USA Patriot Act was introduced in the House of Representatives.

The Security and Freedom Ensured (SAFE) Act, H.R. 3352, is the House counterpart to similar legislation recently introduced in the Senate. See:


PUBLIC INTEREST DECLASSIFICATION BOARD REVISITED

Tentative moves are underway in the White House to finally constitute the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB), which was established by law in the 2001 Intelligence Authorization Act but whose members have never been appointed.

The creation of the PIDB was an initiative of the late Senator Daniel P. Moynihan, and it is practically the only surviving remnant of the secrecy reform agenda proposed by his 1997 Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy.

The PIDB concept did not generate great enthusiasm among declassification advocates because it was to be purely advisory and without independent authority to compel declassification. On the other hand, supporters contend, it could still provide a valuable official venue for debate and deliberation on declassification policy.

Five of the Board's nine members are to be appointed by the President. Four others would be named by the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate.

The possibility of proceeding to identify potential members of the Board was mentioned on background by an executive branch official this week. The viability of the move depends on a favorable response from Congress, the official said.

The functions and authorities of the PIDB were spelled out in Title VII of the 2001 Intelligence Authorization Act here:


CIA'S BILL MCNAIR RETIRES

CIA information review officer Bill McNair is retiring shortly after "41 years, 11 months, and 22 days" at the Agency.

For the past ten years, Mr. McNair has helped set information release policy for the CIA Directorate of Operations. He has faithfully represented the CIA as a witness or declarant in numerous Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, consistently taking a hardline stance against declassification. He previously served 32 years as a CIA operations officer.

So is he planning to write a memoir?

"I've instructed my wife that if I ever look like I'm going to write a book, she should hit me over the head," he said.

And by the way, when will the U.S. intelligence budget be disclosed?

"How about the twelfth of never?" he replied.

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

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