SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 102
November 18, 2004

WILL CONGRESS CRIPPLE INTELLIGENCE OVERSIGHT?

Congressional oversight of intelligence may be sharply diminished as a result of ongoing negotiations between House and Senate conferees over pending intelligence reform legislation, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

"Sen. John D. 'Jay' Rockefeller IV (D-W. Va.), a member of the conference committee, said the Senate's chief negotiators had accepted a House demand stripping out all congressional oversight of the national intelligence director," wrote Mary Curtius in the Los Angeles Times.

"Rockefeller said that he and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), another committee member, thought such oversight was essential to ensure the proper functioning of the intelligence community."

"All the oversight has been stripped out, and that is just unacceptable," said Rockefeller, the top Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

See "White House Intervenes on Behalf of Intelligence Bill," by Mary Curtius, Los Angeles Times, November 17:

The 9/11 Commission said that strengthening congressional oversight, not stripping it away, was among its most important recommendations (Final Report, p. 419).


CLARKE TESTIMONY FROM 2002 DECLASSIFIED

Classified testimony on the threat from Al Qaeda that was presented by then-White House adviser Richard A. Clarke in 2002 to the Congressional Joint Inquiry into September 11 was declassified and posted yesterday on the web site of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

A copy of the declassified transcript (103 pages, 3 MB PDF file) is here:


MORE NGA WITHDRAWALS FROM THE PUBLIC DOMAIN

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) paid the public the courtesy today of announcing more withdrawals of unclassified information from the public domain.

"The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) intends to remove its Flight Information Publications (FLIP), Digital Aeronautical Flight Information File (DAFIF), and related aeronautical safety of navigation digital and hardcopy publications from public sale and distribution," the agency stated in a Federal Register Notice today.

"This action is taken to accomplish the following objectives: safeguarding the integrity of Department of Defense (DoD) aeronautical navigation data currently available on the public Internet; preventing unfettered access to air facility data by those intending harm to the United States, its interests or allies; upholding terms of bi-lateral geospatial data-sharing agreements; avoiding competition with commercial interests; and avoiding intellectual property/copyright disputes with foreign agencies that provide host-nation aeronautical data."


CYBERTERROR RUNS RAMPANT

In a parody of official threat-mongering, the British publication The Spoof wrote this week that a Member of Congress was closing her office because of "a possible cyberterror attack" that could harm her staff's computers or those of her visitors.

Last month, Sen. Mark Dayton really did close his Senate office citing a classified threat of terrorist attack.

"Rep. Lofgren told reporters in San Jose that Senate majority leader Bill Frist briefed lawmakers on a 'top-secret cyberintelligence report'," according to The Spoof. "She claimed 'I would not let my two children bring a GameBoy or an Xbox to Capitol Hill before inauguration day'."

Unexpectedly, FAS and yours truly make a cameo appearance in The Spoof spoof.

See "Congresswoman closes office over computer threat" by Robin Berger, The Spoof, November 16:

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

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