from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2005, Issue No. 10
January 27, 2005


For more than a month, the Pentagon failed to respond to inquiries from the Senate Committee that has lead responsibility for recent intelligence reform legislation regarding the scope of newly expanded military human intelligence operations, two Senators said yesterday.

The new Defense Department human intelligence activity in the form of "strategic support teams," which was formally acknowledged by the Pentagon this week (SN, 01/26/05), may be at odds with the intelligence reform agenda defined in legislation enacted last year, according to Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT).

"As authors of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004," they wrote, "we are concerned that this [new Defense HUMINT] capability could undermine Congress's vision for intelligence reform as embodied in this new law."

In a January 26 letter, the Senators posed several probing questions seeking to clarify the nature of the Pentagon activity and its relation to existing intelligence organizations.

Remarkably, they noted that their prior efforts to obtain such information from the Defense Department had been unsuccessful.

"Staff of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs have attempted for more than a month to secure information from the Department on these matters, which have now received widespread media attention."

"We write because we know that you understand the importance of Congressional oversight of Executive Branch actions as well as Congress's responsibility to ensure that its laws are faithfully executed," they added. See the text of their letter here:


The Congressional Research Service does not permit direct public access to the following new CRS publications. So we will.

"Lasers Aimed at Aircraft Cockpits: Background and Possible Options to Address the Threat to Aviation Safety and Security," January 26, 2005:

"Pakistan's Nuclear Proliferation Activities and the Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission: U.S. Policy Constraints and Options," January 25, 2005:

"North Korea: A Chronology of Events, October 2002-December 2004," January 24, 2005:


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

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