SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2005, Issue No. 105
November 9, 2005

LEAK INQUIRY SOUGHT IN SECRET PRISON STORY

Republican leaders of Congress yesterday called upon the congressional intelligence committees to conduct a joint inquiry into the disclosure that the CIA is detaining and interrogating prisoners at secret locations abroad, as reported November 2 by Dana Priest of the Washington Post.

"As you know, if accurate, such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences, and will imperil our efforts to protect the American people and our homeland from terrorist attacks," wrote Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.

"The leaking of classified information by employees of the United States government appears to have increased in recent years, establishing a dangerous trend that, if not addressed swiftly and firmly, likely will worsen," they wrote.

See their November 4 letter (signed November 8) here:


NO LEAK INQUIRY SOUGHT IN INTEL BUDGET DISCLOSURE

As far as could be determined, no official inquiry has been initiated into the public disclosure of the total size of the classified U.S. intelligence budget by a senior intelligence official, first reported by U.S. News and World Report this week.

No complaints have been filed, no polygraph exams will be administered, no one will be fired.

Far from causing "serious damage to the national security," which is the standard for Secret-level classification, this leak just doesn't matter -- which is another way of saying that this information should not be classified.

The secrecy of the total intelligence budget figure is widely viewed as a charade that has nothing to do with real national security concerns. As such, it is the foremost example of a large but unquantified volume of needlessly classified information that is wrongly withheld from the public.

See "Official Reveals Budget for U.S. Intelligence" by Scott Shane, New York Times, November 8:

See also "Intelligence Budget is $44 Billion" by Stephen Losey, Federal Times, November 8:


CIA RESISTS RELEASE OF JFK ASSASSINATION RECORDS

More than 40 years after the JFK assassination, the Central Intelligence Agency is refusing to release certain assassination-related records that it holds.

"We are asking for discovery of JFK assassination records related to the late George Joannides, chief of the Psychological Warfare Branch of the CIA's Miami Station in 1963," said Jefferson Morley, a researcher and Washington Post writer who is pursuing the CIA records.

"The CIA has acknowledged that it has an unspecified number of documents about Joannides' activities in the summer and fall of 1963 but says it will not release any of them for reasons of 'national security'," he explained.

A conference on the matter will be held at DC District Court next Wednesday.

The case has garnered significant outside support.

"As published authors of divergent views on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, we say the agency's position is spurious and untenable," wrote some two dozen assassination specialists in a joint letter on the Morley case.

("It's probably the first time ever that George Lardner and Oliver Stone agreed on a JFK question," Morley told Secrecy News.)

The CIA refusal "defies the will of Congress. It obscures the public record on a subject of enduring national interest. It encourages conspiracy mongering. And it undermines public confidence in the intelligence community at a time when collective security requires the opposite."

See "Blocked," New York Review of Books, August 11, 2005:


DOD DIRECTIVE ON INTELLIGENCE INTERROGATION

"All captured or detained personnel shall be treated humanely, and all intelligence interrogations, debriefings, or tactical questioning to gain intelligence from captured or detained personnel shall be conducted humanely, in accordance with applicable law and policy."

So states a new Department of Defense Directive issued last week.

The directive applies to all DoD personnel and contractors, but not to other agencies such as the CIA.

It was first reported by the New York Times.

See "DoD Intelligence Interrogations, Detainee Debriefings, and Tactical Questioning," DoD Directive 3115.09, 3 November 2005:


NAVY DIRECTIVE ON WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION

"No person may take, or threaten to take, an unfavorable personnel action (including a referral for mental health evaluation), or withhold, or threaten to withhold, a favorable personnel action in reprisal against any member of the Armed Forces for making or preparing to make a protected communication, including an allegation of sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination, to one authorized to receive the communication."

This is U.S. Navy policy as defined in a new Instruction from the Secretary of the Navy.

See "Military Whistleblower Reprisal Protection," SecNavInst 5370.7C, 14 October 2005:


A BRIEF HISTORY OF US COMMUNICATIONS INTELLIGENCE

The National Security Agency has reviewed and declassified most -- but not all -- of a 1952 history of communications intelligence.

"Prior to 1917 United States activity in the field of Communications Intelligence was sporadic, and there is little record of it," begins the study, which was originally classified TOP SECRET SUEDE.

A newly declassified version was released by NSA to FOIA requester Michael Ravnitzky on October 27.

See "A Brief History of Communications Intelligence in the United States" by Capt. Laurance F. Safford, USN (Ret.), March 1952:

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

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