SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2005, Issue No. 110
December 6, 2005

A FAILING GRADE ON SECRECY REFORM

Congress deserves an "F" for failing to declassify the amount of the overall intelligence budget, members of the 9/11 Commission said in a final report on the status of their recommendations.

"The Congress cannot do robust intelligence oversight when funding for intelligence programs is buried within the defense budget. Declassifying the overall intelligence budget would allow for a separate annual intelligence appropriations bill, so that the Congress can judge better how intelligence funds are being spent."

See the Final Report on 9/11 Commission Recommendations, December 5:

The Commission recommendation to declassify the intelligence budget was intended not merely to produce public disclosure of a particular number. It was the beginning of an attempt to reform the entire edifice of unnecessary secrecy that, the Commission said, undermines the performance of U.S. intelligence.

But the Commission initiative, opposed by the Bush White House and blocked by House Republicans, was stopped in its tracks.

Several news stories have suggested that the secrecy of the intelligence budgeting process may have facilitated or exacerbated the admitted corruption of House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

See "Pentagon's 'Black Budget' Veils Contracting Shenanigans" by David Wood, Newhouse News, November 30:

See also "'Earmarking' has grown in Congress" by Toby Eckert, Copley News Service, December 3:


NRO DEFENDS FOIA EXEMPTION FOR OPERATIONAL FILES

The National Reconnaissance Office told a federal court yesterday that it should not have to process a Freedom of Information Act request for unclassified portions of its congressional budget justification book because the document is contained in "operational files" that are exempt from search and review under the FOIA.

That contention was challenged in a lawsuit by the Federation of American Scientists, which told the court that the budget book cannot be considered an operational file because it is disseminated inside and outside of the agency, and that records that have been disseminated are excluded by statute from the definition of operational files.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, confirmed the fact that his Committee is in possession of the requested budget justification document, and said it should be processed under FOIA.

"It would seem appropriate for this document to be subject to review under the Freedom of Information Act," Senator Wyden wrote. "Of course large portions of the document will be exempt from disclosure as they are properly classified."

In the past, more than 100 pages out of approximately 300 pages in the NRO budget justification book have been partially or completely declassified under the FOIA.

See the latest case files from Aftergood v. National Reconnaissance Office here:

The case is before the Honorable Reggie B. Walton, who is also the presiding judge in USA v. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.


DOD DOCTRINE ON PUBLIC AFFAIRS

The role of Department of Defense Public Affairs (PA) officers in disseminating public information and their relationship to psychological operations and military deception targeted at enemy forces and populations were set forth in a DoD doctrinal publication earlier this year.

News reports in the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere recently revealed that a Pentagon contractor had paid to have favorable news stories planted in the Iraqi press. The practice was widely criticized as inconsistent with efforts to build democracy and a free press in Iraq.

Yet such "information operations," like military deception, are an established part of the military toolkit.

"PA [public affairs] and information operations (IO) activities directly support military objectives, counter adversary disinformation and deter adversary actions. Although both PA and IO require planning, message development and media analysis, the efforts differ with respect to audience, scope and intent, and must remain separate," according to the DoD doctrinal publication.

"PA capabilities are related to IO, but PA is not an IO discipline or psychological operations (PSYOP) tool.... PA activities affect, and are affected by, PSYOP, and are planned and executed in coordination with PSYOP planning and operations. PA must be aware of the practice of PSYOP, but should have no role in planning or executing these operations."

Likewise, "PA activities affect, and are affected by, military deception (MILDEC) operations. PA operations should be planned, coordinated and deconflicted with MILDEC operations consistent with policy, statutory limitations, and security. PA must be aware of the practice of MILDEC operations, but should have no role in planning or executing these operations."

See "Public Affairs," Joint Publication 3-61, U.S. Department of Defense, 9 May 2005 (97 pages, 1.5 MB):


OVERSIGHT OF NAVY INTELLIGENCE

Oversight of Navy intelligence activities is the subject of a recently issued Instruction from the Secretary of the Navy.

The Instruction helpfully includes an "updated definition of DON [Department of the Navy] intelligence components, to include new and reorganized DON intelligence organizations."

"Under no circumstances shall any DON personnel condone, support, encourage, engage in, or conspire to engage in the assassination of a specific individual or individuals," the Instruction states in passing.

See "Oversight of Intelligence Activities Within the Department of the Navy," SECNAVINST 3820.3E, 21 September 2005:


DOD STABILITY OPERATIONS

"Stability operations are a core U.S. military mission that the Department of Defense shall be prepared to conduct and support," according to a new Pentagon directive. "They shall be given priority comparable to combat operations...."

The new directive, which was first reported in the New York Times, evidently reflects and responds to defects in military efforts to stabilize Iraq following the U.S. invasion.

See "Military Support for Stability, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction (SSTR) Operations," DOD Directive 3000.05, 28 November 2005:

See, relatedly, "Peacekeeping and Related Stability Operations: Issues of U.S. Military Involvement," Congressional Research Service, updated October 27, 2005:


CRS ON SPACE POLICY

Recent reports of the Congressional Research Service on space policy include the following:

"Military Space Programs: Issues Concerning DOD's SBIRS and STSS Programs," updated November 25, 2005:

"Space Exploration: Issues Concerning the 'Vision for Space Exploration'," updated November 18, 2005:

"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's FY2006 Budget Request: Description, Analysis, and Issues for Congress," updated November 17, 2005:

"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Overview, FY2006 Budget in Brief, and Key Issues for Congress," updated November 17, 2005:

"U.S. Space Programs: Civilian, Military, and Commercial," updated November 17, 2005:

"Space Stations," updated November 17, 2005:

"The International Space Station and the Iran Nonproliferation Act (INA): The Bush Administration's Proposed INA Amendment," updated November 14, 2005:

"China's Space Program: An Overview," updated October 18, 2005:

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

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