from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
January 11, 2001


The Department of Energy announced this week that it will begin monitoring email communications into and out of U.S. national laboratories, including Los Alamos, Sandia, Livermore and Pacific Northwest National Labs.

"The purpose of the pilot program is to test whether e-mail monitoring is an effective device to address threats to DOE assets by foreign governments, groups, or persons that attempt to gather classified and other protected information through e-mail communications with DOE and contractor personnel," according to a DOE Notice issued on January 8.

"Actual review of e-mail content by a CI [counterintelligence] e-mail analyst will be permitted only where there is evidence of possible CI concern," according to DOE. However, any email which is directed to, or originates from, a foreign source is considered to be "of possible CI concern."

The new DOE Notice is posted here:


In an act that tends to compromise the already tenuous quality of intelligence oversight, the Director of Central Intelligence has presented awards to two members of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) -- which has oversight responsibility over the intelligence community.

DCI George J. Tenet "presented the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal--the highest award bestowed by the U.S. Intelligence Community--to both Sen. Warren B. Rudman and renowned physicist Sidney D. Drell in recognition of their decades of distinguished service to the nation," according to a CIA press release.

Rudman and Drell are indeed distinguished public servants. Among the contributions not noted by DCI Tenet, Senator Rudman has argued for annual disclosure of each year's total intelligence budget and the next year's total budget request. (In contrast, demented CIA officials claim that even 50 year old budget totals could damage U.S. national security today.) Dr. Drell was among the earliest and most prominent figures in the scientific community to repudiate the hyperbolic claims concerning the consequences of Wen Ho Lee's actions in downloading nuclear weapons secrets.

Neither Rudman nor Drell is likely to sell his soul for a measly award. And yet the bestowal -- and acceptance -- of such awards is a transaction that often entails subtle coercive effects, generating subconscious feelings of identification and obligation towards the bestower. It should not have happened as long as either individual continues to serve in an oversight capacity.

The new award, which signifies the intimate relationship between the parties, means that it is more unlikely than ever that PFIAB will fully meet its oversight responsibilities under Executive Order 12863.

So, for example, one should not look to PFIAB to deal with CIA's unconstitutional budget practices; with its routine violation of the executive order on classification policy; or with its violations of laws such as the Freedom of Information Act. That kind of oversight will have to come from somewhere else.

The CIA announcement of the award is posted here:

The 1993 Executive Order 12863 defining PFIAB's responsibilities is posted here:


A torrent of official reports on intelligence and national security policy has come out this week. More are on the way. They include the following:

The January 9 Report of the Independent Commission on the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA):

The January 9 Report of the DoD Commission on the October 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole:

A January 10 Defense Department report on proliferation of weapons of mass destruction entitled: "Proliferation: Threat and Response - 2001" (this is a very large -- 5MB --PDF file):


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