SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 13
February 3, 2004

DOE INTELLIGENCE BUDGET GOES BLACK

The Department of Energy (DOE) is refusing to disclose the 2005 funding request for its small Office of Intelligence.

The budget for DOE intelligence has been unclassified for as long as anyone can remember. But the 2005 DOE budget justification documents, released on February 2, make no mention of the it.

Why the secrecy? DOE wouldn't say.

"We are not going to discuss this issue at this time," said Joseph Davis, the principal deputy director of public affairs at DOE, in response to a query from Secrecy News.

Last year, DOE systematically went through the prior-year budget documents that are posted on the DOE web site and excised all reference to intelligence spending (SN, 10/22/03).

But detailed DOE intelligence budget information for 1999 through 2004 is still available here:

When it comes to intelligence budget secrecy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation apparently didn't get the memo: The FBI disclosed this week that it is requesting $13.4 million in 2005 for its own Office of Intelligence. It also reported proposed funding levels for the joint Terrorist Threat Integration Center and the Terrorist Screening Center. Likewise, the State Department disclosed amounts requested for its Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR).

But these are exceptions. Intelligence budget secrecy remains the rule, though an increasingly disputed one.

"After a dubious conclusion that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction just before the war in Iraq, critics say there should be more financial accountability for the government's spying," according to a story about the "black budget" in USA Today.

See "Data sought on secret spending" by Richard Benedetto, USA Today, February 3:


GRAHAM: WHITE HOUSE USED SECRECY TO SHIELD SAUDIS

Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused the Bush Administration of improperly employing national security classification in order to conceal the extent of Saudi involvement in the September 11 terrorist attacks.

"The Administration misused the classification process to protect the foreign governments that may have been involved in 9-11," Sen. Graham said in a floor statement February 3.

As evidence of this charge, he revealed new information about the missing "27 pages" that were withheld from the published version of the congressional Joint Inquiry Report last year.

He noted that "some of the information censored from these pages actually appears in other parts of the report," and he went on to describe three examples of information about Saudi nationals that had been censored in the 27 missing pages but described elsewhere in the same report.

"There is no reason for the Bush administration to continue to shield make-believe allies who are supporting, either directly or indirectly, terrorists who want to kill Americans," he said.

See Sen. Graham's full statement, with the discussion of the 27 pages highlighted in bold towards the end, here:


DEMOCRATS URGE INDEPENDENT INTEL COMMISSION

Democratic congressional leaders said this week that a new independent commission on intelligence and the Iraq war should not be unilaterally appointed by President Bush.

"While we support the need for an independent commission, this commission should not be one whose members are appointed by and report to the White House," they wrote in a February 2 letter to the President.

"One of the major questions that needs to be addressed is whether senior Administration officials, including members of the Cabinet and senior White House officials, misled the Congress and the public about the nature of the threat from Iraq. Even some of your own statements and those of Vice President Cheney need independent scrutiny. A commission appointed and controlled by the White House will not have the independence or credibility necessary to investigate these issues." See:


EXTENSION OF 9-11 COMMISSION PROPOSED

A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Senate to extend the duration of the National Commission that is investigating the September 11 attacks until January 2005. See:


SECRET HOLD BLOCKS STUDY OF WWII DETAINEES

A proposal to investigate the conduct of the United States government towards foreign minorities detained or otherwise placed in jeopardy during World War II is being blocked in the United States Senate by an anonymous "hold," complained Sen. Russ Feingold, a sponsor of the measure.

Last year, a bipartisan bill called the "Wartime Treatment Study Act" was introduced in the Senate (S. 1691). Its declared purpose is "to establish commissions to review the facts and circumstances surrounding injustices suffered by European Americans, European Latin Americans, and Jewish refugees during World War II."

"S. 1691 would not grant reparations to victims. It would simply create a commission to review the facts and circumstances of the U.S. Government's treatment of German Americans, Italian Americans and other European Americans during World War II," Sen. Feingold said.

"Unfortunately, someone on the other [i.e. Republican] side of the aisle has placed a hold on the bill. This anonymous person or persons are unwilling to identify themselves or to explain the reasons for the hold," Sen. Feingold said. See his January 28 floor statement here:

******************************

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

To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, send an email message to [email protected] with "subscribe" (without quotes) in the body of the message.

To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a blank email message to [email protected].

OR email your request to [email protected]

Secrecy News is archived at:
      http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/index.html