SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2008, Issue No. 52
May 29, 2008

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

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PENTAGON INTELLIGENCE OVERSIGHT FALLS SHORT

While U.S. intelligence operations are more controversial than ever, routine oversight of the Department of Defense's massive and far-flung intelligence apparatus has been significantly reduced, according to a recent report to Congress from the DoD Inspector General.

Due to resource limitations, "We have not been able to perform planned audits and evaluations in key intelligence disciplines such as Imagery Intelligence, Measurement and Signature Intelligence and Open Source Intelligence," the DoD Inspector General told Congress in a March 2008 report.

In addition, the report said, intelligence oversight has been cut back in areas such as: National Reconnaissance Office activities, especially major acquisitions; National Security Agency Operations Security and Information Security Programs; National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency programs; National Intelligence Program/Military Intelligence Program funding; Service Intelligence Component activities; Operations and Support Special Access Programs; DoD Counterintelligence Field Activity Programs; and others.

See "Department of Defense Inspector General Growth Plan for Increasing Audit and Investigative Capabilities Fiscal Years 2008 - 2015," March 31, 2008:

The report was first published by the watchdog Project on Government Oversight (www.pogo.org) which is working to strengthen the authority and capacity of agency inspectors general.

The reduction in oversight by the DoD Inspector General would seem to provide further justification for a pending proposal to assign new intelligence oversight responsibilities to the Government Accountability Office, as discussed at a February 29 hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (Secrecy News, March 3).


AN OPEN SOURCE CENTER LOOK AT IRANIAN SCHOOLBOOKS

The textbooks that are used in Iranian elementary, middle and high schools "reveal a clear emphasis on Islam, as it has been interpreted by the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran," according to a recent contractor study performed for U.S. intelligence.

That rather banal observation is among "the most important conclusions" of the open source intelligence study.

The study culls tendentious statements from 85 Persian-language textbooks, and surveys them without much analytical insight or empathy.

Among its dubious verdicts: The schoolbooks "provide a distorted view of Shia Islam as the only true path in Islam, and among religions."

The study, hosted by the DNI Open Source Center, was performed under government contract by Science Applications International Corporation.

Like most other finished intelligence products from the Open Source Center, the study has not been approved for public release, but a copy was obtained by Secrecy News.

See "Iranian Textbooks: Content and Context," SAIC Research Report, 31 December 2007:


NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY, AND MORE FROM CRS

Noteworthy new reports from the Congressional Research Service that have not been made readily available to the public include the following.

"National Security Strategy: Legislative Mandates, Execution to Date, and Considerations for Congress," May 28, 2008:

"Science, Technology, and American Diplomacy: Background and Issues for Congress," May 22, 2008:

"Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress," updated May 23, 2008:

"German Foreign and Security Policy: Trends and Transatlantic Implications," updated April 29, 2008:

"The Army's Future Combat System (FCS): Background and Issues for Congress," updated May 12, 2008:

"American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics," updated May 14, 2008:

A prior version of the CRS report on military casualties has been the subject of a widely reprinted spam email message that misrepresented casualties during the Clinton and Bush Administrations. A footnote in the latest CRS update states: "Distorted versions of Tables 4 and 5 have been circulating through the Internet. As the tables here and on the Department of Defense website show, total military deaths and hostile deaths increased from 2001 to 2005, and then decreased in 2006."

See also "E-mail on military deaths is shaky on facts" by Chuck Vinch, Army Times, March 27, 2008:

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

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