from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
November 2, 2000
WAITING FOR A DECISION ON THE "LEAK" STATUTE
- WAITING FOR A DECISION ON THE "LEAK" STATUTE
- POLYGRAPH TESTING AND THE DOE NATIONAL LABS
- SYMPOSIUM ON GOVERNMENT SECRECY SCHEDULED
Senior Administration officials failed to reach a consensus yesterday concerning the legislation to criminalize disclosures of classified information that is awaiting a Presidential signature or veto by tomorrow.
The status of the issue and some of the confusion over what the bill actually means were described by Walter Pincus in the Washington Post today:
Daniel Ellsberg, the prototypical public interest leaker writing in Salon magazine yesterday, asks "Would Clinton Ban Release of the Pentagon Papers?" Ellsberg urges a veto, but adds: "If the bill is approved by Clinton, I hope that other people will violate the law under the same circumstances that I did." See:
Attorney General Janet Reno defended the leak statute, somewhat anemically, at her weekly press briefing yesterday. Significantly, she admitted that the new law "would not result in a dramatically increased number of prosecutions" because the law did not even address the government’s real problem with leaks, which is "the ability to determine who leaked the information." See:
POLYGRAPH TESTING AND THE DOE NATIONAL LABS
When President Clinton signed the Defense Authorization Act on Monday, he blasted the Congress for surreptitiously inserting language that will impose polygraph tests on thousands of additional personnel in the Department of Energy nuclear weapons complex.
"I am deeply disappointed that the Congress has taken upon itself to set greatly increased polygraph requirements that are unrealistic in scope, impractical in execution, and that would be strongly counterproductive in their impact on our national security," the President stated. See:
SYMPOSIUM ON GOVERNMENT SECRECY SCHEDULED
"Government Secrecy in a New Administration and a New Century" is the topic of a day-long symposium to be held in Washington on Tuesday, December 5.
Speakers and panelists include outgoing White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, former Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey, Newsweek Managing Editor Evan Thomas, Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz, and more.
The event is jointly sponsored by the federal Information Security Oversight Office and the nonprofit James Madison Project. A brochure and registration form (300k in PDF format) may be downloaded here:
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