Secrecy and Security News
Newer News: October 2009
- Will the Supreme Court Expose the Torture Photos? by Nick Baumann, Mother Jones, September 28. "Obama's DOJ has battled to withhold images of detainee abuse. But the court could soon trigger their release."
- The Case of the Missing Torture Documents by Nick Baumann, Mother Jones, September 28. "Classified Bush-era documents on the administration's controversial interrogation and rendition programs are missing, according to a recent court filing submitted by the Obama Justice Department. But a Justice Department spokeswoman says the documents may not actually be gone; they may never have existed—even though Bush administration records say that they do."
- After Years of Secrecy, a Glimpse Into the Numbers of Civilians Dead in Iraq by James Glanz, New York Times, September 25. "As sectarian violence drove the number of civilian deaths in Iraq to thousands per month in 2006 and 2007, many Iraqi ministries, morgues and hospitals were under government order not to release the embarrassing figures, and the prime minister’s office generally disputed the ones that did leak out."
- Talking Transparency Isn't the Same as Seeing It Through by Dana Milbank, Washington Post, September 24. "President Obama campaigned on a promise to restore transparency to government. But now the time has come to renew the USA Patriot Act, the bete noire of civil libertarians. When the Obama administration's point man on the legislation came to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, he sounded very much like his predecessors in the Bush administration."
- Outsourcing some services could be risky by Alice Lipowicz, Federal Computer Week, September 24. "Outsourcing and classification seem to be primal instincts in many government agencies. Sometimes those steps are no doubt appropriate, but other times they are not. And in every case, they make public oversight and accountability more difficult, if not impossible."
- Attorney General Establishes New State Secrets Policies and Procedures, news release, September 23. "Attorney General Eric Holder today issued a memorandum instituting new Department of Justice policies and procedures in order to ensure greater accountability in the government’s assertion of the state secrets privilege in litigation."
- Redacted: WaPo's Unprecedented Deal with the Pentagon by Clint Hendler, Columbia Journalism Review, September 22. "The Post was forthright that the document they released was not the exact version that Woodward originally obtained."
- DTIC Online Access Controlled Launched, Defense Technical Information Center news release, September 21. "To use the new DTIC Online Access Controlled you must register at www.dtic.mil."
- Intelligence Oversight Bill Faces Obstacles by Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post, September 18. "The Senate has approved intelligence oversight legislation, deferring discussion of rules for interrogation and detention of terrorism suspects that have derailed previous proposals."
- Secretive spending on U.S. intelligence disclosed by Adam Entous, Reuters, September 15. "Intelligence activities across the U.S. government and military cost a total of $75 billion a year, the nation's top intelligence official disclosed on Tuesday, revealing publicly for the first time an overall number long shrouded in secrecy."
- Intelligence Chief Reveals Obscure Budget Figure by Spencer Ackerman, Washington Independent, September 15. "To add some clarity and context to Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair's disclosure this morning that the U.S. intelligence budget is $75 billion, it’s helpful to distinguish between two budget lines: the national intelligence program and the military intelligence program."
- Bush-Era Official's Appointment to Declassification Panel Draws Fire by Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post, September 11. "The newest member of a panel that advises the president on declassification policy is a former top intelligence official who oversaw some of the Bush administration's most controversial counterterrorism programs."
- ‘Leading architect’ of Bush surveillance quietly appointed to declassification board by John Byrne, Raw Story, September 11. "The man who helped oversee President George W. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program now has a new job: a membership on the Public Interest Declassification Board."
- Pakistani Scientist Cites Help to Iran by R. Jeffrey Smith, Washington Post, September 9. "A translation of his remarks -- describing covert purchases by Iran of equipment through Pakistan's 'reliable' suppliers in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates -- was prepared by the Director of National Intelligence's Open Source Center and posted Tuesday on Secrecy News, a blog of the Federation of American Scientists."
- Anti-secrecy groups unhappy with Obama by Eli Lake, Washington Times, September 9. "Advocates for more open government who had hoped that the Obama administration would be less secretive than its predecessor say it is continuing to use executive privilege to block lawsuits over allegations of past abuses in the fight against terrorism."
- Complaint about Peruvian spy no longer `secret' by Juan Tamayo, Miami Herald, September 9. "A CIA whistle-blower complained in 2001 that the agency may have broken U.S. laws by failing to pursue allegations that Peruvian spy master Vladimiro Montesinos trafficked in drugs and laundered money, according to the complaint."
- Former DCIA Michael Hayden Appointed to Public Interest Declassification Board, Congressional Record, September 8. "On behalf of the majority leader, pursuant to Public Law 106-567, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001, to serve as a member of the Public Interest Declassification Board: Gen. Michael V. Hayden of Virginia."
- Report gives Obama administration mixed review on secrecy practices by Aliya Sternstein, NextGov, September 8. "An annual report card that measures the level of secrecy in the White House describes a mixed performance by President Obama in upholding his promise of unprecedented transparency."
- BIS Requests Comments on Foreign Policy-Based Export Controls, Federal Register, September 8. "The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is reviewing the foreign policy-based export controls in the Export Administration Regulations to determine whether they should be modified, rescinded or extended. To help make these determinations, BIS is seeking comments on how existing foreign policy-based export controls have affected exporters and the general public."
- Administration Seeks to Keep Terror Watch-List Data Secret by Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post, September 6. "The Obama administration wants to maintain the secrecy of terrorist watch-list information it routinely shares with federal, state and local agencies, a move that rights groups say would make it difficult for people who have been improperly included on such lists to challenge the government."
- Statement from the President on the First Time Disclosure Policy for White House Visitor Logs, September 4. "As another indication of his commitment to an open and transparent government, the President announced today that for the first time in history, records of White House visitors will be released."
- National Security Advisor Declines Request for Further Public Comment on Draft Recommendations, letter from Gen. James L. Jones, September 2. "I believe that we have an historic opportunity to refine the existing Order now and to begin planning a classification system of the future that promotes innovation and deals more effectively with the challenge of classified digital data."
- How to Keep Secrets by Clint Hendler, columbia Journalism Review, September 2. "The biggest question facing stakeholders in the classification system—journalists, historians, and government and military officials—is what the Obama administration will do to reform a rickety framework, reduce costs and backlogs, foster broader access to historical records, and promote sharing of important intelligence information between analysts working in many government entities."
- Afghanistan Envoys Neutral on Election by Steven Erlanger, New York Times, September 3. "A report by the Congressional Research Service, posted online this week by Secrecy News, a publication of the Federation of American Scientists, says that the Department of Defense had 68,197 contractors in Afghanistan as of March, outnumbering military service members at the time by nearly 16,000."
- State Department’s Lax Contractor Oversight an Enduring Problem by Spencer Ackerman, The Washington Independent, September 2. "It remains one of the great ironies of the past eight years of war: while the government’s use of private security contractors has garnered no end of criticism, few realize that the highest-profile blunders and abuses have come from companies that work not for the Pentagon, but for the State Department."
- Contractors Outnumber U.S. Troops in Afghanistan by James Glanz, New York Times, September 2. "Civilian contractors working for the Pentagon in Afghanistan not only outnumber the uniformed troops, according to a report by a Congressional research group, but also form the highest ratio of contractors to military personnel recorded in any war in the history of the United States."
- Report Details Misbehavior by Kabul Embassy Guards by Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post, September 2. "A new Congressional Research Service report said that as of March, the Defense Department had more contract personnel than troops in Afghanistan. "
- US use of private contractors in war hits record high by Peter Grier, Christian Science Monitor, September 1. "In Afghanistan, the US military is relying on private contractors to an extent unprecedented in American history."
Older News: August 2009