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07.27.09 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) has suggested that the time may have come to undertake a comprehensive review of U.S. intelligence agency activities and operations on the scale of the 1976 Church Committee investigation.  See “Holt Calls for Next Church Committee on CIA” by Spencer Ackerman, The Washington Independent, July 27, 2009.

The corrosive tendency of government agencies to classify historical information that is already in the public domain is made vividly clear in a collection of erroneously redacted documents compiled by William Burr of the National Security Archive.  See “More Dubious Secrets: Systematic Overclassification of Defense Information Poses Challenge for President Obama’s Secrecy Review,” July 17, 2009.

A 2008 intelligence community policy memorandum on “Connection of United States and Commonwealth Secure Telephone Systems” (pdf) was released in almost entirely redacted form.

Some 700 classified images of Arctic sea ice have been declassified and released, the Department of Interior noted in a July 15 news release.  “It reportedly is the largest release of [imagery] information derived from classified material since the declassification of CORONA satellite images during the Clinton Administration,” the DOI said.  The release followed a National Research Council report that said the release of such classified imagery was needed to support climate change research.  (See also coverage from Mother Jones and The Guardian.)

Persistent concerns over the government’s use of the state secrets privilege to curtail civil litigation were aired at a June 9, 2009 hearing before Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s House Judiciary Subcommittee.  The record of that hearing, with abundant supporting materials submitted for the record, has just been published.  See “State Secret Protection Act of 2009.”