from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 90
October 14, 2004


Last month, the U.S. government quietly acknowledged and described a CIA covert action program in Bolivia during the Johnson Administration.

The acknowledgment came in the form of an "editorial note" that was published in the latest volume of the official State Department series Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1964-1968, on South and Central America and Mexico. That volume also described the CIA's clandestine role in the 1964 election in Chile.

A contemporary CIA document cited in the "editorial note" described the program as follows:

The editorial note was approved for publication by an interagency High Level Panel that reviews historical covert actions for possible acknowledgment in the FRUS series.

"That editorial note is the text of the statement approved by all three [High Level Panel member] agencies--State, CIA, NSC--to acknowledge the covert action," one official explained to Secrecy News.

Remarkably, the editorial note provided budget figures for the CIA program in Bolivia, which peaked at $545,342 in fiscal year 1964.

This is surprising since the CIA has consistently refused to declassify such figures on its own. Even today the Agency argues in federal court, with legal support from the Justice Department Office of Information and Privacy, that such historical budget information must be withheld from disclosure. But there it is.

See the High Level Panel editorial note on CIA covert action in Bolivia, published in late September, here:


The final report of the Iraq Survey Group (the Duelfer report) documenting the search for prohibited weapons in Iraq was published October 6 by the Central Intelligence Agency on its web site.

But the CIA edition of the document was posted in an awkward format -- three monstrous files of 50 to 75 Megabytes each -- that practically guarantees the report will go unread by all but a committed few.

Now a much more digestible html version of the report is available from here:


Imposing the discipline of democracy on intelligence and security services is a continuing challenge even in societies that have a longstanding commitment to democratic governance. It is vastly more difficult in emerging and aspiring democracies.

The prospects for intelligence reform in several Africa countries are surveyed in a new publication of the Global Facilitation Network for Security Sector Reform in the United Kingdom.

See "Providing Security for People: Enhancing Security Through Police, Justice, and Intelligence Reform in Africa," edited by Chris Ferguson and Jeffrey O Isima, September 2004:


A new report of the Congressional Research Service "reviews allegations of Saudi involvement in terrorist financing together with Saudi rebuttals, discusses the question of Saudi support for religious charities and schools (madrasas) abroad, discusses recent steps taken by Saudi Arabia to counter terrorist financing (many in conjunction with the United States), and suggests some implications of recent Saudi actions for the war on terrorism."

See "Saudi Arabia: Terrorist Financing Issues," October 4, 2004:


An updated overview of U.S. space-related activities is provided by the CRS in "U.S. Space Programs: Civilian, Military and Commercial," September 28, 2004:


Another new CRS report considers the legality of postponing elections for federal office.

"Because of the fear of possible terrorist attacks which could be directed at election facilities or voters in the States just prior to or during the elections in a presidential election year, attention has been directed at the possibility/authority to postpone, cancel or reschedule an election for federal office."

"The United States Constitution does not provide in express language any current authority for a federal official or institution to 'postpone' an election for federal office," the CRS notes. But that is the beginning of the discussion, not the end.

See "Postponement and Rescheduling of Elections to Federal Office," October 4, 2004:

CRS policy prohibits direct public access to reports like these.


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

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