from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 80
September 10, 2004
ACTING DCI ENDORSES INTELLIGENCE BUDGET DISCLOSURE For the first time, a sitting Director of Central Intelligence has given his conditional endorsement to routine annual disclosure of the size of the national intelligence budget. "If there is a separate appropriation for the foreign intelligence program, the National Foreign Intelligence Program, as distinct from the current arrangement where that appropriation is buried in the larger Defense Department bill, I think it would make some sense to declassify the overall number for the foreign intelligence program," said Acting DCI John E. McLaughlin, testifying before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee on September 8. "I would not go so far as to declassify the numbers for the individual agencies," as the 9/11 Commission unanimously recommended. "But I don't think that declassifying the top line would be a major security threat," Mr. McLaughlin said in response to a question from Senator Joe Lieberman. See:
- ACTING DCI ENDORSES INTELLIGENCE BUDGET DISCLOSURE
- INTELLIGENCE REFORM ACTIVITY
- OPEN SOURCES ON LASER ENRICHMENT IN SOUTH KOREA
- DOCUMENTING ATROCITIES IN DARFUR
- PRESERVE FREE ACCESS TO PATHOGEN GENOMES, PANEL URGES
- A CALL TO PATRIOTIC WHISTLEBLOWING
INTELLIGENCE REFORM ACTIVITYBipartisan legislation was introduced in the Senate this week that would implement nearly all of the 41 recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. A summary of the 280 page bill is available here:
OPEN SOURCES ON LASER ENRICHMENT IN SOUTH KOREASouth Korea's acknowledgment that it conducted experiments involving the laser enrichment of uranium four years ago (and earlier experiments with plutonium) came as an unwelcome surprise, particularly since these appeared to be a violation of the country's obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. But a considerable amount of information has long been available in the public domain regarding South Korea's interests and capabilities in the field. A survey of that information was produced in 1996 by independent researcher Mark Gorwitz. See "The South Korean Laser Isotope Separation Experience":
DOCUMENTING ATROCITIES IN DARFURThe U.S. State Department has published a new documentary account of atrocities committed in the Darfur region of Sudan. The Secretary of State said this week that the systematic abuses constitute genocide. The new report, entitled "Documenting Atrocities in Darfur," was produced by the Department's intelligence organization, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). It is available here:
PRESERVE FREE ACCESS TO PATHOGEN GENOMES, PANEL URGESUnrestricted access to the genetic makeup of lethal biological agents serves the best interests of science and public health, according to a new report from the National Academy of Sciences, and existing policies should not be modified to limit such access. To see the issue as a choice between security and openness involves "a false dichotomy," the NAS authors wrote. "Openness has enhanced security in the past and is the best way to ensure security in the future." "The committee believes firmly that the policies currently in place for genome data -- immediate release and free access -- are correct because openness is essential to maintain the progress needed to stay ahead of those who would attempt to cause harm." See this September 9 news release:
A CALL TO PATRIOTIC WHISTLEBLOWINGA group of whistleblowers led by Daniel Ellsberg yesterday called on government employees to "expose governmental wrong-doing, lies and coverups" by leaking documents, including classified documents, that reveal such misconduct. (The call for leaks excludes several narrow categories of classified information such as the names of intelligence officers under cover that are protected by statute.) The initiative "aims to change the norms and practices that sustain the cult of secrecy, and to de-legitimize silence that costs lives." See:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
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