SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2008, Issue No. 20
February 25, 2008

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

ARMY WILL RESTORE ACCESS TO ONLINE LIBRARY WITHIN 2 WEEKS

"We fully intend to put the Reimer Digital Library back to where the public can access the unclassified documents," wrote U.S. Army Major General Tony Cucolo in an email message to Secrecy News.

Public access to the online library of U.S. Army publications has been blocked since February 6, when a system security upgrade was installed. In response, the Federation of American Scientists filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking release of the entire contents of the library for republication on the FAS web site. (Secrecy News, Feb. 13).

"We underestimated the impact of blocking public access," wrote Col. Michael J. Negard on February 22.

"Our intent was to protect sensitive information, the server itself, and the network from attacks by outside sources, not to deny the public access to publicly releasable information. We absolutely respect and value our freedom of information and the American people's 'right to know'," he wrote.

"TRADOC [U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command] is currently working to restore public access to unclassified and releasable information."

"We expect this to be completed within two weeks," Col. Negard indicated.

The Washington Post, whose coverage helped elevate the issue and expedite its resolution, reported the latest developments in "Army Says It Will Restore Public Access to Online Library" by Christopher Lee, February 23:


"THE DARK BUSH LEGACY ON SECRECY"

The leading presidential candidates should be questioned about their willingness to depart from the secrecy practices that have characterized the Bush Administration, wrote civil libertarian Nat Hentoff in his syndicated column this week.

Whether it concerns domestic surveillance, coercive interrogation, or extraordinary rendition, "I haven't heard any of the frontrunners stress this need for a clean break with the Bush administration's use of a 'unitary executive' doctrine to cloak these and other extrajudicial -- and indeed extralegal -- practices in deep secrecy," Mr. Hentoff wrote.

See "The Dark Bush Legacy on Secrecy" by Nat Hentoff, Washington Times, February 25:

The article followed up on a related piece that I wrote for the Nieman Watchdog earlier this month, "The Next President Should Open Up the Bush Administration's Record":


SENATE TO HOLD HEARING ON GAO AND INTELLIGENCE OVERSIGHT

The simplest, most effective and most achievable way to improve congressional oversight of intelligence might be to utilize the Government Accountability Office to audit and evaluate intelligence programs, a prospect that is opposed by the Director of National Intelligence.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on Friday, February 29 to consider pending legislation that would bolster GAO's role in intelligence oversight. The Federation of American Scientists will be represented among the witnesses.

"The need for more effective oversight and accountability of our intelligence community has never been greater," said Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) last year. "Yet the ability of Congress to ensure that the intelligence community has sufficient resources and capability of performing its mission has never been more in question." (Secrecy News, Oct. 3, 2007).

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

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