SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2005, Issue No. 53
June 6, 2005

HPSCI CALLS FOR PROSECUTION OF LEAKS

The Department of Justice should "place a higher priority on investigating and prosecuting illegal disclosures of classified information," the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) said in its new report on the 2006 Intelligence Authorization Act.

"Hundreds of 'leaks' have been reported to the Department over the past ten years, without a single indictment or prosecution," the House Committee complained, echoing similar findings in the report of the Silberman-Robb WMD Commission.

The Committee, which opposed the 9-11 Commission's recommendation to reduce unnecessary secrecy by disclosing the size of the intelligence budget, was silent on overclassification. But it cited inter-agency information sharing as an issue requiring focused attention. "Information 'ownership' must be a concept of the past, not the future."

The Committee imposed controversial new restrictions on the ability of the Director of National Intelligence to transfer personnel except with the advance approval of congressional defense committees (section 305). Democrats opposed the move, which they said "is so damaging to the authority of the DNI that it threatens to undermine the very reforms passed by Congress last year."

The Committee instructed the Director of National Intelligence to produce "a comprehensive inventory of all special access programs under the National Intelligence Program" (section 307).

Remarkably, the Bush Administration opposes a similar requirement for an inventory of DoD intelligence programs in the pending Defense Authorization Act, declaring in a May 25 statement that "existing law and understandings provide the proper arrangements for ensuring that appropriate congressional committees are informed of DOD intelligence and intelligence-related programs."

See the HPSCI Report on the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2006, House Report 109-101, June 2, 2005:


NIXON AND THE FBI

The House Intelligence Committee last week demanded intensified pursuit and punishment of leaks even as the most famous leaker of all, Deep Throat, was unmasked as W. Mark Felt, deputy director of the FBI in the Nixon Administration.

Excerpts of several Nixon White House tapes providing some context on tensions between the White House and the FBI at the time have been posted by the National Security Archive.

See "Nixon and the FBI: The White House Tapes," June 3:


JASON ON HIGH PERFORMANCE BIOCOMPUTATION

Computational biology, which refers to the application of advanced computational methods to problems in biological science, is the subject of a newly disclosed report of the JASON scientific advisory panel.

"Computation is having an important impact at every level of the biological enterprise," the JASON report states.

"It has facilitated investigation of computationally intensive tasks such as the study of molecular interactions that affect protein folding, analysis of complex biological machines, determination of metabolic and regulatory networks, modeling of neuronal activity and ultimately multi-scale simulations of entire organisms."

A copy of the report was obtained by Secrecy News.

See "High Performance Biocomputation," March 7, 2005 (1.9 MB PDF):

Last month, Secrecy News (05/26/05) described two explanations for the unusual name of the JASON panel.

"Neither of your stories about the origin of the name JASON is accurate," wrote JASON founding member Marvin Goldberger, who is also an FAS sponsor and Secrecy News supporter.

"It was my wife who actually proposed it," Dr. Goldberger said, noting that no one liked the name initially suggested by ARPA, "Project Sunrise."

A full account of this and many other matters will appear in an eagerly-awaited history of the JASONs by author Ann Finkbeiner, to be published in April 2006.


SELECTED CRS REPORTS

Direct public access to products of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) is not authorized by Congress. So the public must depend on unauthorized access. Some recent CRS reports obtained by Secrecy News include these:

"Freedom of Information Act Amendments: 109th Congress," updated May 16, 2005:

"Congressional Oversight of Judges and Justices," May 31, 2005:

"New Zealand: Background and Bilateral Relations with the United States," April 12, 2005:

"China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues," updated April 5, 2005:

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

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