from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2003, Issue No. 91
October 22, 2003
DOE INTELLIGENCE BUDGET DATA SUPPRESSED, RESTORED
- DOE INTELLIGENCE BUDGET DATA SUPPRESSED, RESTORED
- DOJ IG ASKED TO INVESTIGATE CENSORSHIP OF REPORT
- MISSILE PROLIFERATION IN SOUTH ASIA
- GARWIN RECEIVES NATIONAL MEDAL OF SCIENCE
Unlike most other U.S. intelligence agencies, the Department of Energy Office of Intelligence requests and receives its budget appropriation each year on an unclassified basis. But now the government has moved to block public access to DOE intelligence budget information.
For years, DOE intelligence spending was described in budget documents that were posted on the DOE web site. Until recently, for example, the DOE budget request for FY 2004 intelligence spending was available on this page, as the third item listed under "Other Defense Activities":
Now this information on intelligence spending has been deleted. According to a note included by the DOE webmaster in the html coding of this page, the portions on intelligence were removed on "7/28/03 per J. Campbell request."
Similar excisions of intelligence budget information have been made to all previous budget documents on the DOE web site dating back to 1999, all with the same internal annotation.
A DOE official told Secrecy News that "J. Campbell" referred to James Campbell, the Department's acting chief financial officer. He said that Mr. Campbell had ordered the documents removed last summer at the request of the DOE Office of Intelligence which wanted to review them for possible "sensitivity." A call to the Office of Intelligence was referred to an official at the Office of General Counsel who was not available.
The past publication of DOE intelligence spending was not due to an accident or a "leak." It was a routine, standard practice extending back more than a decade. No plausible security rationale has been offered for changing this practice. Two DOE classification experts confirmed that the spending data is unclassified.
Therefore all of the deleted material is being republished on the FAS web site here:
DOE intelligence spending surfaced as an issue in an FAS Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking declassification of the 2002 intelligence budget total.
Earlier this year, the Central Intelligence Agency erroneously told a federal court that "the entire intelligence appropriations process is structured to ensure the secrecy of intelligence-related expenditures." To refute this claim, FAS cited the unclassified DOE intelligence appropriation. Shortly afterward, the intelligence budget data was removed from the DOE web site.
In constructing the argument for declassification of the budget total, FAS has benefitted from the expert assistance of John Pike of GlobalSecurity.org and A. Bryan Siebert, former director of the DOE Office of Declassification. The lawsuit remains pending.
DOJ IG ASKED TO INVESTIGATE CENSORSHIP OF REPORT
The Justice Department is routinely asked to investigate unauthorized disclosures ("leaks") of classified information. But now the Department is being asked to investigate what may be an unauthorized and possibly illegal withholding of information from public disclosure.
Last week, the Justice Department released a heavily censored version of a 2002 study it commissioned on diversity in its workforce:
Due to an inept redaction process, the censored portions inadvertently became public and the full uncensored report was published by TheMemoryHole.org here:
The withheld material adds some insight into the subject of workplace diversity, but it reveals a lot more about the Justice Department's indiscriminate information policies.
Large sections of the censored material do not appear to qualify for withholding under the Freedom of Information Act. They are factual in nature and not, as the cover page of the document would have it, exempt as "deliberative" information that may be withheld under the FOIA's exemption 5.
"The redactions are unbelievable," said researcher Michael Ravnitzky. "The document is redacted to such an extent that it demonstrates a reckless disregard of existing DOJ instructions, standard agency procedures and court decisions."
The Federation of American Scientists wrote to the Justice Department Inspector General today to request an investigation of the censorship of this document.
"The unintended disclosure of the full text of this report suggests that Department officials are routinely withholding information in bad faith, or that they are acting in ignorance of the binding disclosure requirements of the Freedom of Information Act," the FAS letter said. See:
"The arbitrary withholding of information from the public is a terribly corrosive practice that undermines confidence in government," the letter stated.
MISSILE PROLIFERATION IN SOUTH ASIA
The policy implications of missile proliferation in South Asia -- India and Pakistan -- are the subject of a new report from the Congressional Research Service.
See "Missile Proliferation and the Strategic Balance in South Asia" by Andrew Feickert and K. Alan Kronstadt, October 17, 2003:
GARWIN RECEIVES NATIONAL MEDAL OF SCIENCE
President Bush awarded the National Medal of Science to Richard L. Garwin and seven other scientists, the National Science Foundation announced in a press release today:
Garwin was recognized for his numerous and diverse contributions to science and technology over several decades.
Dick Garwin is a longtime sponsor, supporter and board member of the Federation of American Scientists and a friend to Secrecy News. Dozens of his publications on arms control and national security are available at the FAS Garwin Archive here:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
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