from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 99
November 10, 2004


A new Army doctrinal publication sets forth the principles of U.S. military action in counterinsurgency operations.

It begins with a definition of terms and builds up to a detailed treatment of intelligence, information operations and security matters.

"An insurgency is organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through use of subversion and armed conflict."

"Counterinsurgency is those military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency. It is an offensive approach involving all elements of national power...."

The new Army field manual is unclassified. It is intended for use in education and training; it is not an operational plan.

Nevertheless, the manual is not approved for public release. The Army has blocked public access through military web sites.

But a copy was obtained by, which first reported its development in August, and which courteously shared a copy with Secrecy News.

See "Counterinsurgency Operations," FMI 3-07.22, US Army, October 2004 (182 pages, 3 MB PDF file):


The 9/11 Commission unanimously concluded that there was too much secrecy in U.S. intelligence. Accordingly, as one of its 41 recommendations, the Commission called for declassification of the intelligence budget "to combat the secrecy and complexity we have described."

Now that's not going to happen. The bipartisan Commission recommendation on budget disclosure, though endorsed by a majority of the Senate (and even by then-Acting DCI John McLaughlin), has been blocked by the Bush Administration, aided by House Republicans. Far from combating inappropriate secrecy, the Administration seems determined to bolster it.

Under the circumstances, Americans concerned with open, accountable government need whatever new sources of reliable information they can muster. Fortunately, such information is easier to come by than ever before.

For those interested in defense policy, sells primary source documents gathered by its team of Pentagon reporters. A free weekly publication, The Insider, alerts readers to new acquisitions, many of which (like the Counterinsurgency manual above) have not been publicly released, and which are available for purchase following a free initial trial period. For the current issue see:

A new Coalition of Journalists for Open Government has been established "to provide timely information on freedom of information issues and on what journalism organizations are doing to foster greater transparency in government." See their web site here:

A partial list of other organizations and web sites concerned with secrecy-related issues may be found here:


A new study from the Defense Science Board on "Strategic Communication" considers how the United States could more effectively "communicate with and thereby influence worldwide audiences."

"There is consensus... that U.S. public diplomacy is in crisis," says the DSB study, which recommends a series of steps that could be taken to address the situation.

The report presents implicit criticism of the Bush Administration, albeit in homeopathic proportions.

Thus it notes that "Good strategic communications cannot build support for policies viewed unfavorably by large populations. Nor can the most carefully crafted messages, themes, and words persuade when the messenger lacks credibility and underlying message authority."

Further, "Words in tone and substance should avoid offence where possible; messages should seek to reduce, not increase, perceptions of arrogance, opportunism, and double standards."

See "Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication," September 2004 (111 pages, 1.8 MB PDF file):


The Bush Administration's policy of cutting taxes while launching a war in Iraq is extraordinary, but is it unprecedented? Not quite.

"It seems hard to believe," wrote historian Otto Friedrich in a history of Berlin in the 1920s, "but the incredible fact is that Imperial Germany's conservative finance officials never levied a single mark in extra taxes to pay the gigantic costs of World War I."

"The German government planned, apparently, to recover its expenses out of the reparations that the enemy would have to pay once Hindenburg and Ludendorff had captured Paris."

But as it turned out, it was France that ended up demanding reparations from Germany, with fateful consequences, not the other way around. (O. Friedrich, "Before the Deluge," 1995 edition, p. 60).

One recalls the illusory assurances of the Bush Administration that the rebuilding of Iraq would cost American taxpayers a grand total of $1.7 billion.

"You're not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is gonna be done for $1.7 billion?" asked an incredulous Ted Koppel in a 2003 ABC News Nightline interview with Andrew Natsios, then-administrator of the Agency for International Development (AID).

"Well, in terms of the American taxpayers' contribution, I do, this is it for the US," Mr. Natsios replied.

"The rest of the rebuilding of Iraq will be done by other countries who have already made pledges, Britain, Germany, Norway, Japan, Canada, and Iraqi oil revenues, eventually in several years, when it's up and running and there's a new government that's been democratically elected, will finish the job with their own revenues. They're going to get in $20 billion a year in oil revenues. But the American part of this will be 1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this."

The transcript of this April 23, 2003 Nightline interview was quietly removed from the AID web site last year (as reported by the Washington Post on 12/18/03). But a copy is preserved here (thanks to BY):


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

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