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FAS Intro: This letter from Rep. Lee Hamilton was written in response to a September 24 joint letter from Kate Martin of the Center for National Security Studies, Tom Blanton of the National Security Archive, and Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists.

Congress of the United States
Committee on International Relations
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

October 2, 1998

Mr. Steven Aftergood
Federation of American Scientists
307 Massachusetts Ave., N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002

Dear Mr. Aftergood,

Thank you for your letter of September 24, 1988, concerning National Security Adviser Sandy Berger's letter to me with the Administration's views on S.712, The Government Secrecy Reform Act of 1998.

I agree with you. I think it is a serious mistake to accept the elimination of the public-interest balancing test as the price for Administration support of the bill. To agree with the Administration's proposed changes would amount to gutting the bill. It would amount to a codification of existing procedures in the Executive branch, and a rejection of the work of the Secrecy Commission. I want to work with the Administration in support of secrecy reform, but I cannot accept a revised bill that does not change the unacceptable status quo on classification and declassification.

As I read it, secrecy reform is dead in the current Congress. In the absence of Administration support, moving the bill forward just will not be possible.

On a personal note, I want to say that the efforts of you and your organization have been very helpful to me and to advocates of secrecy reform, and I wish you every success in the 106th Congress.

With best regards,


Lee H. Hamilton
Ranking Democratic Member

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