from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2002, Issue No. 80
August 20, 2002


The State Department today released over 4,600 declassified U.S. government documents concerning the 1976 military coup in Argentina and the human abuses rights that ensued during that country's "dirty war."

The collection was presented at a press conference in Buenos Aires and posted on the State Department web site:

A selection of key documents was also published by the National Security Archive along with an initial assessment of their signficance:

An account of today's press conference is given in "La CONADEP recibió 4.700 documentos confidenciales de EE.UU. sobre la dictadura argentina" in the newspaper Clarín:

The new release serves as a timely reminder of the contribution that document declassification can make towards rectification of past injustices and the importance of official openness in nurturing civil society.

The history of Argentina's "dirty war" was compellingly presented in Martin Edwin Andersen's 1993 book "Dossier Secreto."


"What prompted the State Department to release the hundreds of declassified documents pertaining to Greece, Turkey and Cyprus from 1964 to 1968 now-- in the middle of the hot summer-- and not later, creating a real political mess in Athens, Ankara and Nicosia?"

That is what a querulous reporter wanted to know, referring to the publication last week of Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, vol. XVI. He posed the question at the August 19 State Department daily press briefing.

There is no particular significance in the timing of the release, replied Deputy Spokesman Philip T. Reeker.

However, "It gives you something to read at the beach," he said. See:


The latest August 2002 releases from the UK Public Record Office are reported here:


Many of the steps taken by the government to combat terrorism in the past year are naturally subjects of disagreement and dispute. But what should be beyond debate is the importance of congressional oversight to ensure both the efficacy and the propriety of those steps.

That is why the Bush Administration's resistance to congressional oversight is perhaps the single most disturbing aspect of the controversial war on terrorism.

"How can we judge whether President Bush and John Ashcroft have acted responsibly when they refuse to put all of the cards out on the table?" asked Steve Chapman in a Chicago Tribune editorial on August 18:

"The administration's reflexive distaste for accountability to other branches of government is not healthy," the Washington Post observed in an eloquent August 19 editorial. "There is nothing hostile or dangerous in responsible oversight; to the contrary, it is a critical check and balance in our system." See:


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

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