SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 25
March 4, 2004

BYRD BLASTS WHITE HOUSE COMMISSION ON IRAQ INTEL

The commission that was established by President Bush on February 6 to review pre-war intelligence on Iraq is "ill-equipped to discover just what went wrong," argued Sen. Robert Byrd in a sharply-worded critique on the Senate floor.

Therefore, he said, "Congress should act quickly to create an independent Iraq intelligence commission."

"The President has described the panel that he created as being an independent commission," Sen. Byrd noted. "Well, nothing could be further from the truth."

"Who created the panel's charter? The President. Who chooses the panel members? The President. To whom does the panel report? The President. Whom shall the panel advise and assist? The President. Who is in charge of determining what classified reports the panel may see? The President. Who gets to decide whether the Congress may see the panel's report? The President."

"I was born at night but not last night," said Sen. Byrd.

See his March 3 statement here:

In a bold move that could test the validity of Sen. Byrd's concerns, Senator John McCain, a commission member, has asked the White House to give the commission subpoena power, according to a story in The Hill.

Without such power, Sen. McCain argued, the commission will be ineffective. The White House has rebuffed the request.

See "Seeking subpoenas: McCain and Bush clash on powers, scope of intel probe" by Alexander Bolton, The Hill, March 4:


THE VIRTUES OF RED TEAMING

"Red teams" that challenge the premises, goals and operations of government programs can serve a catalytic role in transforming military and intelligence organizations, according to a recent Defense Science Board (DSB) report.

The DSB identified the attributes of successful red teams and cited instances in which they had played a constructive role.

The U.S. missile defense program, the DSB noted without irony, has been the beneficiary of much "free red teaming" from critics such as MIT professor Ted Postol and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"Unfortunately, it is often the case that those organizations in need of red teaming have a culture inimical to its use," the DSB report said.

See "The Role and Status of DoD Red Teaming Activities," Defense Science Board, September 2003:


INTELLIGENT AGENT SOFTWARE AGAINST TERRORISM

Information technology in the form of automated "intelligent agents" holds the promise of advancing defenses against terrorism that goes well beyond mere "information sharing," according to a briefing prepared by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA).

"Some form of intelligent automation is required to continuously search ... a large amount of ever-changing data to locate patterns that will not only help generate the desired picture, but also provide insight into terrorist intentions."

"Intelligent automation will also provide the capability needed to predict terrorist acts and prevent their occurrence," the IDA briefing asserted.

See "Defender's Edge: Utilizing Intelligent Agent Technology To Anticipate Terrorist Acts" by L. B. Scheiber, Institute for Defense Analyses, June 2003:


CHINA AND BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE

A study performed last year for the Defense Intelligence Agency considers China's potential responses to U.S. deployment of ballistic missile defenses in light of the historical development of Chinese policy.

"China's attitudes toward BMD have passed through a series of distinct phases since the beginning of the nuclear era," observed author Brad Roberts of the Institute for Defense Analyses. "Throughout this era it has also pursued its own strategic defense capabilities."

See "China and Ballistic Missile Defense: 1955 to 2002 and Beyond" by Brad Roberts, IDA, September 2003:

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

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