from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
October 27, 2000


There has been a further outpouring of editorial opposition to the new legislation that will criminalize the disclosure of any information the executive branch says is properly classified. The legislation, passed October 12 as part of the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2001, now awaits the President’s signature -- or his veto.

“If Mr. Clinton signs this measure he will undermine his effort to reduce government secrecy, a signal achievement of his presidency," said the New York Times in an editorial this morning. “As president, Mr. Clinton has an obligation to consider the national interest when he weighs legislation of this kind.... He should veto this undemocratic bill." See:

The new law “will not only severely restrict free speech generally, but also undercut the already tenuous rights of federal government whistle-blowers who disclose wrongdoing," wrote whistleblower and author Martin Edwin Andersen in the Washington Times today. “Only President Clinton’s decision as to whether to sign the bill stands in the way of this outrage becoming law." See:

“Congress should understand that its own credibility and information sources -- press accounts and whistle-blowers -- are also at stake," wrote journalist Scott Armstrong and Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project in the Washington Post yesterday. If the new law is not stopped, “this year’s most lasting bipartisan legacy will be the shielding of corruption and government abuse of power behind a wall of secrecy." See:

“This bill would dramatically exacerbate the lamentable tendency to criminalize public-policy differences," wrote attorney Daniel E. Troy in a particularly perceptive article in National Review Online yesterday. “It would also substantially increase the power of an administration to intimidate and prosecute its opponents." See:


“The ongoing debate [over National Missile Defense] parallels in important respects the heated controversy and complex U.S.Soviet negotiations over antiballistic missiles (ABMs) during the late 1960s and early 1970s," writes William Burr of the National Security Archive in the introduction to a new collection of declassified documents published by the Archive.

These parallels are evident in several of the eighteen representative documents assembled in the new electronic briefing book entitled “Missile Defense Thirty Years Ago" and posted here:


Interactions between universities and U.S. intelligence agencies are once again on the rise, in frequency and diversity. Just today, for example, there is a program scheduled at the University of Maryland at College Park that is jointly sponsored with the National Intelligence Council.

Most of these interactions are non-controversial and may be positively beneficial, insofar as they tend to demystify intelligence.

Controversy arises, however, when substantial amounts of money become involved and, especially, when a requirement for security clearances is imposed.

“Professors involved in international affairs should not have security clearances from any governments, including their own," asserted Prof. Bruce Cumings of the University of Chicago. (With the growing criminalization of security policy, we might add, anyone who has a choice should think twice before accepting a security clearance.)

The state of relations between academia and intelligence is explored at some length in a fascinating article entitled “For Your Eyes Only" by Chris Mooney in the November 2000 issue of Lingua Franca magazine. This article is not available online, but information about Lingua Franca may be found here:


To subscribe to Secrecy News, send email to [email protected] with this command in the body of the message:

To unsubscribe, send email to [email protected] with this command in the body of the message: Secrecy News is archived at: