SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2006, Issue No. 131
December 27, 2006

Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

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1970 INTELLIGENCE BUDGET FIGURE NOT A SECRET

The State Department said today that it will modify the latest Nixon-era volume of the official Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series to include the amount of the 1970 U.S. intelligence budget after Secrecy News pointed out that this number had previously been disclosed in an earlier volume of FRUS.

According to an editorial note in the latest FRUS volume published last week, "The President [Nixon] stated that the United States is spending a total of about [dollar amount not declassified] per year on intelligence and it deserves to receive a lot more for its money than it has been getting." (Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume II, at document 210).

But in another FRUS volume published last April, that ancient secret was already revealed (Secrecy News, 04/27/06):

"The President stated that the US is spending $6 billion per year on intelligence and deserves to receive a lot more for its money than it has been getting. (Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume VI, at document 344).

"Thank you for pointing out the inconsistency between the editorial note in FRUS volume II and the document in volume VI," wrote Edward C. Keefer, General Editor of the Foreign Relations of the United States series in an email message to Secrecy News today.

"We have brought it to the attention of the declassifying agency [i.e., CIA] and they have agreed to release the actual figure in the editorial note of volume II, making it consistent with the document in volume VI. We will make the change on the internet version of volume II and we should be able to make the change in printed volume II as well."

"We are pleased that we have people like you who read our volumes with such care and help us make the series the best documentary record of U.S. foreign policy," Dr. Keefer wrote.

CIA classification policy generally lacks rhyme or reason, so although the 1970 intelligence budget total has been declassified, the 1969 and the 1971 budget figures, for example, remain classified.


SPECIAL OPERATIONS ON THE ASCENDANT

"Not since World War II has this nation relied so heavily on its Special Operations Forces," according to Gen. Bryan D. Brown, Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

Special operations are military actions "conducted in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments to achieve military, diplomatic, informational, and/or economic objectives employing military capabilities for which there is no broad conventional force requirement," as defined in the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military Terms (updated 11/09/06).

"These operations often require covert, clandestine, or low visibility capabilities."

"Special operations differ from conventional operations in degree of physical and political risk, operational techniques, mode of employment, independence from friendly support, and dependence on detailed operational intelligence and indigenous assets."

The continued development of special operations capabilities is sketched out in a new SOCOM strategic planning document.

See "Capstone Concept for Special Operations 2006":

The growing use of special operations personnel on intelligence collection missions has reportedly caused friction with the Central Intelligence Agency and "has also led to several embarrassing incidents for the United States, including a shootout in Paraguay and the exposure of a sensitive intelligence operation in East Africa," according to the Los Angeles Times.

See "U.S. seeks to rein in its military spy teams" by Greg Miller, Los Angeles Times, December 18:

Conversely, the role of the CIA in paramilitary activities has also led to turf battles and some potential blurring of the chain of command.

For general background, see "Special Operations Forces (SOF) and CIA Paramilitary Operations: Issues for Congress," Congressional Research Service, updated December 6, 2006:


SELECTED CRS REPORTS

Some notable, newly updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that are not readily available in the public domain include these.

"Coast Guard Deepwater Program: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress," December 18, 2006:

"Radioactive Waste Streams: Waste Classification for Disposal," updated December 13, 2006:

"Border Security: Barriers Along the U.S. International Border," updated December 12, 2006:

"China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues," updated December 11, 2006:

"Defense Procurement: Full Funding Policy -- Background, Issues, and Options for Congress," updated December 11, 2006:

"Foreign Students in the United States: Policies and Legislation," updated December 8, 2006:

"Nuclear Arms Control: The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty," updated October 12, 2006:

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

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