SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2005, Issue No. 20
February 24, 2005

COURT VIEWS SECRECY AND PRESS CONFIDENTIALITY

"Secrecy may well be seen as the enemy of freedom when it conceals facts important to public understanding," wrote Judge Robert W. Sweet of the Southern District of New York in a decision today.

Moreover, he opined, "Secrecy in government appears to be on the increase."

The decision came down in the case of New York Times v. Gonzales and addressed the question of whether the Times was obliged to surrender certain confidential telephone records sought by the government as part of a leak probe. The judge concluded that the Times could continue to withhold the records.

See a copy of the 121 page ruling here:


AGENCY PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICES SWELL

The number of public affairs officers in federal agencies has increased markedly in the past four years, Newsday reported today.

Newsday analyzed government personnel records and found that "The staffs that handle public relations for government agencies grew even faster than the federal work force."

But does that mean that public access to government information has grown correspondingly?

To the contrary. "At the same time the White House tightened its control over messages to the news media and restricted access to public information."

See "Cadre Grows to Rein in Message" by Tom Brune, Newsday, February 24:


SELECTED BUSH, CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS OPEN

The National Archives and Records Administration has announced the opening of selected documentary records from the papers of former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

"Approximately 9,700 pages of George H.W. Bush Presidential records that were previously withheld under the Presidential Records Act restrictions for appointments to federal office and/or confidential advice are now open for research," NARA said in a February 18 news release.

Meanwhile, "The William J. Clinton Presidential Library ... Is making over 100,000 pages of Clinton presidential records available for research. They represent the first public release of Clinton presidential records since the end of the Clinton Administration," according to another NARA news release.

Public access to records of former presidents remains a subject of some controversy due to a November 2001 executive order by President George W. Bush which made it easier to curtail such access.


ARMY LAW ENFORCEMENT INVESTIGATION MANUAL

What is the proper method to obtain fingerprints from a corpse?

A newly issued U.S. Army field manual on law enforcement investigations explains that (page 20-9) and much more. The manual, intended for military police and other military investigators, reviews the basics of investigative procedure, from the crime scene to the interrogation of witnesses.

See "Law Enforcement Investigations," Field Manual 3-19.13, Department of the Army, January 2005 (in an extremely large 22 MB PDF file, 507 pages):


THIS AND THAT FROM CRS

Recent publications from the Congressional Research Service obtained by Secrecy News include the following:

"Nuclear Threat Reduction Measures for India and Pakistan," updated February 17, 2005:

"Millennium Challenge Account: Implementation of a New U.S. Foreign Aid Initiative," updated January 21, 2005:

"A Free Trade Area of the Americas: Major Policy Issues and Status of Negotiations," updated January 3, 2005:

"Taiwan: Recent Developments and US Policy Choices," updated January 10, 2005:


TIME OUT

Secrecy News will be away next week. Publication will resume the week of March 7.

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

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