SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2006, Issue No. 57
May 16, 2006

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HOUSE MOVES TO ABOLISH NNSA COUNTERINTELLIGENCE OFFICE

The Counterintelligence Office of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) would be abolished under new legislation and its functions would be reintegrated into the Department of Energy.

The action would mark a striking reversal of one of the key intelligence reforms adopted following a series of security lapses at the Department of Energy national laboratories in the 1990s, which led to the establishment of the NNSA with its own counterintelligence activity.

Section 3117 of the House version of the FY 2007 Defense Authorization Act "would consolidate the counterintelligence programs of the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration under the Department of Energy." See:

For related background, see "Intelligence Reform at the Department of Energy: Policy Issues and Organizational Alternatives," Congressional Research Service, April 10, 2006:

The consolidation of DoE and NNSA counterintelligence under the authority of DoE was reportedly sought by the DoE Office of Intelligence, led by Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, and the move would tend to strengthen the influence of his Office.

Some sense of the scope of activities of the DoE Office of Intelligence can be gleaned from a DoE classification guide that was released last week in redacted form.

See "DOE Classification Guide for Intelligence Information" (redacted), August 2001 (change 1, November 29, 2004), (1.7 MB PDF):


SOME NEW DOD DIRECTIVES ON INTELLIGENCE, SELECT AGENTS, ETC.

Some notable new directives from the Department of Defense on defense and intelligence policy include the following.

"DoD Intelligence Interrogations, Detainee Debriefings, and Tactical Questioning," DoD Directive 3115.09, Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence) 3 November 2005, change 1, 10 May 2006:

"DoD Law of War Program," DoD Directive 2311.01E, May 9, 2006:

"Minimum Security Standards for Safeguarding Biological Select Agents and Toxins," Department of Defense Instruction 5210.89, April 18, 2006:

"Safeguarding Biological Select Agents and Toxins," Air Force Policy Directive 10-39, 26 April 2006:

"Air Force Critical Infrastructure Program," Air Force Policy Directive 10-24, 28 April 2006:


SELECTED CRS REPORTS

Some recent reports of interest from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

"U.S. and International Responses to the Global Spread of Avian Flu: Issues for Congress," updated May 1, 2006:

"U.S. Policy Regarding the International Criminal Court," updated April 26, 2006:

"Russia," May 8, 2006:


THE NEW YORK TIMES AND THE ESPIONAGE ACT: LETTERS

A provocative article written by Gabriel Schoenfeld in the March 2006 issue of Commentary Magazine proposed that the New York Times should be held liable under the espionage statutes for having published the December 16, 2005 article that revealed the existence of the Bush Administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program.

Discussion of that proposal continues with several lengthy letters to the editor in the June 2006 Commentary, including one from myself, along with a reply from the author.

"Mr. Schoenfeld argues that the paper committed not only a shameful act but a crime," wrote Morton Halperin of the Open Society Institute. "My view is that it may have violated a criminal statute but that its conduct was far from shameful."

"What should the Times have done when it received the information? Exactly what it did do," Mr. Halperin wrote.

"During the 90 years of the [Espionage Act's] existence, no one in government has attempted to push it in the direction Mr. Schoenfeld advocates, because to do so would have been constitutionally questionable and politically incendiary," wrote Paul McMasters of the Freedom Forum.

"Although portions of the Espionage Act are riddled with ambiguous language, the provisions governing unauthorized publication of classified communications intelligence are perfectly clear, and the Times's actions unequivocally violated them," responded Mr. Schoenfeld. "I find it striking that not one of my correspondents challenges this."

See "The New York Times and the Espionage Act," Gabriel Schoenfeld and Critics, Commentary Magazine, June 2006:

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

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