SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2003, Issue No. 94
October 29, 2003

1982 CONVICTION OF CIA'S EDWIN WILSON OVERTURNED

"Honesty comes hard to the government."

That is what a federal judge said this week in a spectacular ruling that vacated the twenty year old conviction of former CIA officer Edwin P. Wilson on charges of illegally shipping explosives to Libya.

In his defense two decades ago, Wilson had claimed that he was "still working for the Company." In response, the government had denied that the CIA had had contacts with Wilson following the end of his formal employment. This was untrue.

"There were, in fact, over 80 contacts, including actions parallel to those in the charges," Judge Lynn N. Hughes wrote.

"Because the government knowingly used false evidence against him and suppressed favorable evidence, his conviction will be vacated," the ruling said.

"This opinion refers only to the part of the record that the government has reluctantly agreed may be made public.... The governmental deceit mentioned here is illustrative -- not exhaustive."

The government can appeal the ruling or seek a new trial. Wilson remains in custody.

A copy of the 24 page Opinion on Conviction, dated October 27, 2003 is posted here:


BUSH ON THE PRESIDENT'S DAILY BRIEF

The National Commission that is investigating the September 11 attacks is seeking access to the President's Daily Brief (PDB), a highly classified intelligence briefing, from one or more days in August 2001. At issue is intelligence which reportedly advised the President of an impending threat from al Qaeda. This information was previously denied to the congressional joint inquiry on 9/11.

Speaking at a news conference yesterday, President Bush explained his view of the sensitivity of the PDB.

"It's important for the writers of the presidential daily brief to feel comfortable that the documents will never be politicized and/or unnecessarily exposed for public purview," he said.

But he held out the possibility of an accommodation with the Commission.

"I believe we can reach a proper accord to protect the integrity of the daily brief process and, at the same time, allow them a chance to take a look and see what was in the -- certain -- the daily briefs that they would like to see." See:


SENATORS ON THE MISSING "28 PAGES"

The case for declassifying the extended passage of the congressional joint inquiry report on September 11 that dealt with possible foreign involvement in the attacks was reiterated on the Senate floor again yesterday.

Senators Byron Dorgan and Charles Schumer offered an amendment expressing the sense of the Senate that the missing 28 pages (actually, 27) should be declassified and disclosed.

Following speeches from the sponsors and from Sen. Bob Graham, the amendment was ultimately rejected on procedural grounds. See:


CRS ON THE BOEING 767 TANKER LEASE DEAL

The continuing debate over the Air Force proposal to lease up to one hundred Boeing 767 aircraft is illuminated by several documents from the Congressional Research Service, including an internal October 23 memorandum on fatigue and corrosion in the existing tanker fleet. See:


ROY JONKERS, RIP

Roy K. Jonkers was a retired Defense Intelligence Agency official, the editor of Weekly Intelligence Notes published by the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, a familiar face at intelligence-related conferences and gatherings, and an altogether decent fellow.

He is remembered in this Washington Post obituary:


UPDATE, CORRECTION RE: WHITE HOUSE WEB SITE

The White House yesterday modified the list of directories on its web site that are off limits to search engines (SN, 10/28/03).

As a result, external search engines now have full access to the contents of the site. (Numerous duplicate pages remain blocked, as do various non-existent directories.)

For further updated information, see:

The example of a blocked page that was given in Secrecy News yesterday was incorrect. The cited page was in fact accessible through external search engines. The error was noted here:

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

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