SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2005, Issue No. 28
March 29, 2005

HYUNDAI AND THE NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM

The Congressional Research Service made headlines in South Korea last week with a renewed allegation that cash payments provided to the North Korean government by South Korea's Hyundai corporate group between 1999 and 2003 may have been used to support the North's clandestine uranium enrichment program.

"Larry A. Niksch of the Congressional Research Service (CRS)... said in his Feb. 22 report [that] Hyundai funds went into accelerating North Korea's secret HEU development program," Chosun Ilbo reported on March 24.

See "Hyundai Helped Fund N.K. Uranium Program: Expert":

Similar allegations have been presented by Mr. Niksch in previous CRS reports. But the February 22 CRS report cited in the Chosun Ilbo story may be found here:


A NEW COUNTERINTELLIGENCE STRATEGY

The National Counterintelligence Executive (NCIX) yesterday unveiled a new counterintelligence strategy, approved by the President on March 1.

A copy of the deliberately vague "National Counterintelligence Strategy of the United States" may be found here:

The "seven pillars" of counterintelligence strategy were enthusiastically described by NCIX chief Michelle Van Cleave in a March 5 speech here:


GAO URGES MORE COMPLETE DOD REPORTING

In a splendid example of intelligent oversight, a Government Accountability Oversight (GAO) study released yesterday identified several defects in the way that the Department of Defense (DOD) reports to Congress on the progress of major weapons acquisition programs, and explained how those defects could be corrected.

One of the problem areas flagged by GAO concerned pervasive overclassification by the Pentagon:

"DOD classified about 50 percent of the [reports] it submitted to Congress in 2003, involving a total acquisition investment of $454 billion," the GAO noted.

"However, only a small amount of data contained in each classified [report] is actually classified."

"Because these [reports] are classified, special handling procedures must be used by those congressional staff with the appropriate clearances even to access the unclassified cost and schedule data. This practice also completely blocks access for those staff without clearances to the unclassified cost and schedule data."

"As a result, congressional oversight of DOD's adherence to established cost and schedule baselines is unnecessarily constrained," the GAO stated.

GAO recommended, and DOD concurred, that classification controls should be much more selectively applied.

See "Defense Acquisitions: Information for Congress on Performance of Major Programs Can Be More Complete, Timely, and Accessible," Government Accountability Office Report No. GAO-05-182, March 2005:


SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THE WMD COMMISSION REPORT

The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction is supposed to report this week to the President, providing its assessment of U.S. intelligence on WMD and its recommendations for needed reforms.

Considering that the recommendations of last year's 9-11 Commission -- notably including intelligence budget disclosure -- have been rejected or not fully implemented, one may wonder about the likely impact of the latest Commission.

Several impudent questions about the forthcoming WMD Commission report were posed by myself for the Nieman Watchdog, a project of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

See "The WMD Commission and Intelligence Reform," March 28:

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

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