SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2008, Issue No. 69
July 16, 2008

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WHITE HOUSE THREATENS VETO OF INTELLIGENCE BILL

The White House expressed strong opposition to the Fiscal Year 2009 Intelligence Authorization Act that is pending before the House of Representatives today, in part because it includes provisions for increased disclosure of classified information to the congressional intelligence oversight committees.

One of the provisions, the White House complained, "would withhold 75 percent of requested funding for covert action programs until the Administration provides much greater access to highly sensitive national security information to all members of the congressional intelligence committees."

"Such a provision is inconsistent with the statute that expressly authorizes limited notice to Congress in exceptional cases and would undermine the fundamental compact between the Congress and the President on reporting highly sensitive intelligence matters -- an arrangement that for decades has balanced congressional oversight responsibility with the need to protect intelligence information."

The President's advisors would recommend a veto if "any" of the objectionable provisions were adopted, today's statement said.

See "Statement of Administration Policy on Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2009," July 16:


SCIENCE EDUCATION IS LAGGING, BUSINESS GROUPS SAY

Not enough American students are studying science, engineering and mathematics, a consortium of business organizations warned this week, posing a threat to the nation's economic vitality and security.

"U.S. scientific and technological superiority is beginning to atrophy even as other nations are developing their own human capital," they said.

Among their recommendations the business executives called for increased funding in basic research, reform of immigration policies to attract and retain foreign students, and improvements in public education in the sciences leading to a doubling of bachelor's degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by 2015.

They also noted the need for an expedited security clearance process. "Delays in processing security clearances continue to discourage U.S. citizens from filling vital technical positions that require clearances," they wrote.

See "Tapping America's Potential," July 15:

Ideally, scientific education would do more than produce qualified industrial workers. To the extent that it encourages critical thinking and reality testing, scientific training can also promote and strengthen democratic values.


THE U.S. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY WORKFORCE, AND MORE FROM CRS

Noteworthy new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service, most of which have not been made readily available to the public, include the following.

"The U.S. Science and Technology Workforce," June 20, 2008:

"Nuclear Cooperation Agreement with Russia: Statutory Procedures for Congressional Consideration," June 20, 2008:

"The Global Nuclear Detection Architecture: Issues for Congress," July 7, 2008:

"Protection of Classified Information by Congress: Practices and Proposals," updated May 27, 2008:

"Presidential Appointments to Full-time Positions in Executive Departments During the 109th Congress, 2005-2006," June 10, 2008:

"The Interagency Security Committee and Security Standards for Federal Buildings," updated November 23, 2007:

"Earthquakes: Risk, Monitoring, Notification, and Research," updated June 19, 2008:


VARIOUS RESOURCES

The Program Manager of the DNI's Information Sharing Environment is tasked with improving the sharing of terrorism-related information between the federal government and state, local and tribal governments, while preventing public access to that same information. The latest Annual Report to Congress on the Information Sharing Environment was transmitted earlier this month and is available here:

Civil-military operations are the subject of a new doctrinal publication from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. See Joint Publication 3-57, "Civil-Military Operations," July 8, 2008:

The Department of Homeland Security's Privacy Office will hold a public workshop on government data mining and its impact on personal privacy on July 24-25:

President Nixon's Daily Diary -- which is actually something like an appointment calendar, not a written record of intimate confidences -- has recently been released and published on the web site of the Nixon presidential library:

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

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