SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 110
December 10, 2004

NATIONAL ARCHIVES INVESTIGATES CIA LOSS OF RECORDS

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has initiated a formal inquiry into the loss by the Central Intelligence Agency of classified annexes to the intelligence authorization acts enacted by Congress from 1947 through 1970.

Such classified annexes are not merely of great historical interest, but may also have enduring legal significance for the conduct of intelligence.

A CIA response to the NARA inquiry is due within 30 days.

The fact that the classified annexes were missing emerged in the course of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the Federation of American Scientists for declassification of historical intelligence budget appropriations figures from 1947-1970.

"The most definitive source for the total CIA appropriation for any given year is the figure indicated in the classified annex to intelligence authorization act for that year," explained CIA deputy chief financial officer Cynthia Stockman in an October 2004 declaration.

But upon searching for those records, she said, CIA "was not [able] to locate the classified annexes to the intelligence authorization acts for Fiscal Years 1947-1970." See:

In response to an inquiry from Secrecy News this week, a NARA official indicated that an investigation of the matter was already underway.

"NARA has a normal process of responding to, or initiating our own, inquiries concerning allegations of unauthorized destruction of federal records. It turns out that our staff was aware of that declaration (from your website), and has already made a formal inquiry of CIA on this, which normally is supposed to respond in 30 days," the official said.

The unauthorized destruction of official records is a violation of law that may entail monetary penalties, prison, or both.

See the NARA regulation on "Damage to, Alienation and Unauthorized Destruction of Records" here:


OFFICIAL STATEMENTS ON "WASTEFUL" SECRET INTELLIGENCE PROGRAM

Concerns about a "wasteful" but otherwise secret intelligence program that led several Democratic Senators to oppose the conference report on the 2005 intelligence authorization act (SN, 12/08/04) were fleshed out a bit in floor statements by Senator Rockefeller and Senator Wyden on December 8.

"Numerous independent reviews have concluded that the program does not fulfill a major intelligence gap or shortfall, and the original justification for developing this technology has eroded in importance due to the changed practices and capabilities of our adversaries," said Senator Wyden.

"There are a number of other programs in existence and in development whose capabilities can match those envisioned for this program at far less cost and technological risk," he said.

All of the few official public statements on the mystery program are gathered here:


FORMER CIA EMPLOYEE CLAIMS PRESSURE TO FALSIFY IRAQ INTEL

The Central Intelligence Agency is being sued by a former employee who says he suffered retaliation after he refused to falsify intelligence concerning Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

A copy of the declassified complaint filed December 6 in DC District Court in Doe (pseudonym) v. Goss is posted here:

The case was reported in "Officer Alleges CIA Retaliation" by Dana Priest, Washington Post, December 9:

"The notion that CIA managers order officers to falsify reports is flat wrong," a CIA spokeswoman told the Post.


DSB ON NATIONAL IGNITION FACILITY

The Defense Science Board (DSB) said in a new report that the controversial National Ignition Facility program is "well managed and on-track" but that "the technical risk associated with achieving [laser fusion] ignition in 2010 remains high."

See Report of the DSB Task Force on Employment of the National Ignition Facility, volume 1, October 2004 (1.8 MB PDF file):

Another recent DSB report on "Strategic Communication" made a big splash after it was featured in a New York Times article on November 24. That report criticized the failure of the U.S. to effectively engage public opinion in the Muslim world.

But the New York Times erroneously stated that the DSB report "has not been released to the public."

On December 5, the Washington Post ombudsman repeated that the DSB report "had not been made public until after the New York Times wrote about it on Nov. 24."

That is not correct.

To give credit where it is due, the DSB published the report on its web site on November 9, where it has remained available all along. (Secrecy News wrote about the report on November 10, as did Inside the Pentagon and perhaps others.) A copy of the document is also available here (1.8 MB 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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