SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 41
April 30, 2004

THE MYSTERY OF THE COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY

The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) is the entity led by Amb. Paul Bremer that is responsible for managing and overseeing the reconstruction of Iraq.

But what species of organization is the CPA? And how exactly was it established? These are mysteries.

"It is unclear whether CPA is a federal agency," according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service that is the bureaucratic equivalent of a "thriller."

"No explicit, unambiguous, and authoritative statement has been provided that declares how the authority was established, under what authority, and by whom."

Clarification of the CPA's nature and status "will remain relevant even after CPA's scheduled dissolution on June 30, 2004, for questions may remain about what it did, how it spent money, and what it accomplished."

The new CRS report probes the matter in wonkish depth over 38 pages later but without a clear resolution. A copy of the report was obtained by Secrecy News.

See "The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA): Origin, Characteristics, and Institutional Authorities" by L. Elaine Halchin, Congressional Research Service, April 29, 2004:


SOME MORE NEW CRS PRODUCTS

Numerous new and newly updated Congressional Research Service reports have been issued in recent days and weeks. Some of these include the following:

"Presidential Advisers' Testimony Before Congressional Committees: A Brief Overview," updated April 14, 2004:

"Homeland Security: The Presidential Coordination Office," updated March 30, 2004:

"Homeland Security: Department Organization and Management -- Implementation Phase," updated April 28, 2004:

"Globalizing Cooperative Threat Reduction: A Survey of Options," April 15, 2004:

"Disarming Libya: Weapons of Mass Destruction," April 22, 2004:

"Foreign Aid: An Introductory Overview of U.S. Programs and Policy," updated April 15, 2004:

"NATO and the European Union," April 6, 2004:

Direct public access to CRS reports like these is not authorized, and is in fact discouraged, by the U.S. Congress.


DECLASSIFICATION OF CLARKE TESTIMONY SOUGHT

Classification policy continues to serve as a surrogate battlefield for disputes over the Iraq war, September 11, and related issues.

In an April 28 letter, House Democrats asked Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert to expedite the declassification of testimony presented in 2002 by then-counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke. (Strictly speaking, the Speaker does not have the authority to perform such declassification.) See their letter here:

Likewise, Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) this week proposed to introduce an amendment expressing the sense of the Senate that the Clarke testimony should be declassified, though it was not introduced in the end due to procedural obstacles. See the text here:


THE GORELICK FILES

The Justice Department on Wednesday declassified and posted on the web more documents pertaining to former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, currently a member of the 9/11 Commission, and her role in implementing the legal "wall" that distinguished intelligence and law enforcement information.

The Justice Department was responding -- with uncommon alacrity -- to a request from Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for release of such records. They had requested declassification of the documents a mere two days earlier.

Unexpectedly, the Justice move drew a rebuke from the White House.

"I think [the President is] disappointed that that information was placed on their Web site like that," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. "We were not involved in that."

A copy of the newly declassified documents, which remain on the Justice Department web site despite the White House expression of disappointment, is here (29 pages, 1.5 MB PDF file):

The April 28 remarks of Sen. Cornyn regarding the documents and his view of Ms. Gorelick may be found here:


REVOKING SECURITY CLEARANCES OF FELONS

A statute known as the Smith Amendment, enacted in October 2000, prohibits the Defense Department from granting or renewing a security clearance for anyone who has been convicted of a felony and sentenced to a year or more in jail.

Since the measure was adopted, "hundreds of people, many of whom who have had clearances for 20 or 30 years, have had their security clearances revoked," notes Sheldon I. Cohen, a specialist in security clearance policy.

This is not entirely good news, Cohen argues, because in practice the new policy does not allow sufficient leeway for special circumstances or the passage of time, and so it excludes persons who need not or should not be excluded from the personnel security clearance system.

The Defense Department was supposed to report to Congress last January on the implementation of the policy, but has still failed to do so.

"Hopefully," suggests Cohen, "when the Department of Defense does file its assessment report, the adverse effect of the Smith Amendment on the national defense will become so obvious it will be repealed."

See "Smith Amendment Update" by Sheldon I. Cohen, May 2004, here:


ESTABLISHING THE IRAQI NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE SERVICE

The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), whatever its provenance and powers may be, authorized the Iraqi Governing Council earlier this month to establish a new Iraqi intelligence service.

The function of the new Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS) is "to collect, analyze, and disseminate accurate and timely information related to the national defense and other threats to the security of Iraq."

"The INIS will be a wholly distinct and separate entity from any intelligence services that have previously existed in Iraq," according to CPA Order 69, issued in April 2004.

The Charter of the new Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS) may be found here (9 pages, 700 KB PDF file):

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

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