from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
September 6, 2001


The widely criticized effort to enact a criminal statute prohibiting the unauthorized disclosure of classified information ended with a whimper Tuesday evening when a hearing on the matter was canceled and the measure was withdrawn from consideration in the FY 2002 Intelligence Authorization Act.

A spokesman for Senator Richard Shelby, the leading proponent of the measure, issued a terse statement:

It was a delicate way of conceding that the Justice Department opposes the pending legislation as currently drafted.

This is a remarkable development since the very same anti-leak measure was endorsed by the Justice Department last year (and supported as part of the FY 2001 Intelligence Authorization Act by then-Senator John Ashcroft). A Justice Department spokesman declined to explain the reversal or to elaborate on the Department's current assessment of the matter, which will be the subject of an interagency review over the coming months.

Senator Shelby would not admit defeat. "This bill is going to be back in the hopper, if not by me then by others," he told the Associated Press. "This is not a this-year legislation, necessarily. It's long-term legislation. This legislation is not going away, because the problem [of leaks] is going to get worse, not better."

Separately, the Senate is moving this week to adopt another anti-leak statute as part of the Export Administration Act of 2001 (S.149, Section 602d). Unauthorized disclosure of certain information on export applications, licenses and related data would be punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 and up to a year in jail. See:


Intelligence scholar Jeffrey T. Richelson has authored a study of the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology (DST) that sheds new light on this little-known branch of the intelligence agency.

Structured as a history, Richelson's book "The Wizards of Langley" traces the activities of the DST over nearly four decades and documents its diverse achievements that range from the exquisite (the development of overhead reconnaissance) to the criminal (mind control experiments) to the absurd (psychic espionage). See:

Richelson has compiled a new collection of declassified documents on the DST that was published on the National Security Archive web site here:


Last year, no fewer than 63 countries were engaged in "suspicious" intelligence collection activities directed against U.S. defense contractors, according to a new report of the Defense Security Service.

"Technologies generating most foreign interest in 2000 included information systems, sensors and lasers, aeronautics systems, armaments and energetic materials, and electronics," the report stated.

"Information Systems remained the most sought militarily critical technology category in 2000," the report indicated, noting that an increase of more than 100% in "suspicious" foreign targeting of modeling and simulation technology, HF and VHF military radios, encryption devices, TEMPEST equipment, firewall and intrusion detection technology.

"Suspicious" foreign collection activity includes "any request not sought or encouraged by the cleared [U.S.] company, which is received from a known or unknown source (usually foreign), which concerns classified, sensitive, or export controlled information."

A copy of the new report, entitled "2001 Technology Collection Trends in the U.S. Defense Industry" and issued this week by the Defense Security Service, may be found here:


The first "tranche" of declassified historical records from the Office of the Director of Central Intelligence is in the process of being released, according to a report published today by the CIA's Historical Review Panel (HRP).

The new report is singularly uninformative, by design. "Because the HRP's advice to the DCI must be completely frank and candid, we are not reporting Panel recommendations."

This is a polite falsehood that does the distinguished Panel members no credit. It is clear from previous disclosures of Panel recommendations and from the work of similar advisory bodies that confidentiality is not required to ensure the Panel's candor. Rather, the only purpose of the report's deliberate vagueness is to shield the Director of Central Intelligence from public criticism and controversy.

See the Panel report here:


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

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