from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 65
July 14, 2004


Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) criticized the Central Intelligence Agency for demanding unnecessary redactions in the recent Senate report on pre-war Iraq intelligence, and he said that a new procedure for declassifying such documents is now needed.

"When the Intelligence Committee first prepared this report, the CIA recommended that about half of it be redacted," Sen. Lott noted on the Senate floor yesterday.

"I understand the need to protect the names of sources and intelligence methods. But I can tell you that most of those redactions were not of that nature; they were everyday, unclassified words."

"It is my belief that in matters such as these, the CIA is too close to the intelligence process to provide an objective view of what really needs to be classified," he said.

"Consequently, I am working with Senator Wyden to propose legislation that will establish a small independent group under the President that will review documents such as this report to ensure that classification decisions are independent and objective."

See his July 13 floor statement here:

In 1997, the Moynihan Commission on Government Secrecy proposed the establishment of a National Declassification Center to coordinate declassification policy and to promote timely and cost-effective release of records. But like most of that Commission's recommendations, it was never acted upon.

See Chapter 3 of the Moynihan Commission Report entitled "Common Sense Declassification and Public Access" here:


"The Patriot Act is al Qaeda's worst nightmare when it comes to disrupting and disabling their operations here in America," said Attorney General John Ashcroft yesterday, announcing release of a new Justice Department report that credits the USA Patriot for dozens of successful law enforcement investigations and operations.

See the Attorney General's remarks here:

A copy of the new report, entitled "Report from the Field: The USA PATRIOT Act at Work," is available here (2 MB PDF file):

A recent Congressional Research Service report on the Patriot Act was mistakenly identified in the previous edition of Secrecy News. The newly updated report is not "The USA Patriot Act: A Sketch," but rather "The USA Patriot Act Sunset: A Sketch," updated June 10, 2004 and available here:


A new British government report on intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction generally echoes the criticisms presented by others but also stops short of assigning personal culpability for intelligence and policy failures.

See a copy of the report entitled "Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction" (the Butler Committee report), July 14, 2004 here (216 pages, 1 MB PDF file):


The voluminous annexes to the classified Army investigative report by Maj. General Antonio M. Taguba regarding the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in U.S. custody were obtained by U.S. News and World Report, which has made several of them available on its web site here:

U.S. News offered additional reporting on the matter this week in an article entitled "Hell on Earth" by Edward T. Pound and Kit R. Roane:


Military planning for the conduct of a nuclear war, known as the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP), is perhaps the most intensely guarded government secret of all.

Newly declassified historical documents on the development of the SIOP in the early 1960s have been compiled with an interpretive introduction by William Burr of the National Security Archive.

See "The Creation of SIOP-62: More Evidence on the Origins of Overkill," edited by William Burr, July 13, 2004, here:


A South Korean legislator complained this week that the Central Intelligence Agency has repeatedly misspelled the name of South Korean President Roh.

"Although the official spelling of the President is 'Roh Moo-Hyun,' it is written as 'No Moo-Hyun' on the web site of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, which was updated in May," said Sohn Bong-suk of the Millenium Democratic Party.

"It was misspelled in last year's world fact book, which the CIA publishes every year, and still is not corrected."

The proper transliteration of foreign names is a serious challenge for U.S. intelligence, particularly since there is often no single, unique English spelling of non-Western names.

The problem was anticipated 35 years ago by Mel Brooks (the next DCI?) in an episode of the TV show Get Smart that featured a Chinese villain known as "The Claw" because of his prosthetic arm with a hook at the end.

Since The Claw stereotypically pronounced the letter "l" like the letter "r," secret agent Maxwell Smart thought his name was The Craw.

The bad guy helplessly attempted to correct him: "Not The Craw -- The CRAW!"

See "President Roh Becomes President No," published in Chosun Ilbo, South Korea's largest daily newspaper, July 12:


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

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