from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2005, Issue No. 3
January 10, 2005
THE USE OF PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVES The Bush Administration has issued dozens of National Security Presidential Directives (NSPDs) but the content and even the subject matter of most of these instruments of presidential authority are unknown. In itself, this is not a new phenomenon. In 1992, the General Accounting Office (GAO) attempted to conduct a review of presidential directives in the previous Bush Administration but was denied the access that congressional investigators sought. "Without access to detailed information about NSDs [national security directives, as they were then known], it is impossible to satisfactorily determine how many NSDs issued make and implement U.S. policy and what those policies are," the GAO reported to Congress. See "The Use of Presidential Directives to Make and Implement U.S. Policy," GAO Report NSIAD-92-72, January 1992:
- THE USE OF PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVES
- IRAQI INSECURITY
- CAN DEFECTORS SUE THE CIA?
- NEW FOIA RULINGS
- NEW FROM CRS
IRAQI INSECURITYThere are 20,000 to 30,000 armed insurgents in Iraq, according to the director of Iraq's National Intelligence Service, and they are passively supported by an estimated 200,000 Iraqi sympathizers. See this interview with NIS director Major General Muhammad Abdallah al-Shahwani, published in Al Sharq al Awsat on January 5, and translated by the CIA's Foreign Broadcast Information Service:
CAN DEFECTORS SUE THE CIA?On January 11, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case known as Tenet v. Doe, which revolves around the question of whether individuals who spied for the U.S. in the expectation of certain benefits can sue the Central Intelligence Agency for breach of contract. An 1875 ruling in a case known as Totten v. U.S. suggests they cannot. But a federal appeals court ruled in 2003 that a lawsuit brought by two defectors from a former East Bloc country could proceed. "We should not precipitously close the courthouse doors to colorable claims of the denial of constitutional rights," according to that 2003 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The CIA petitioned the Supreme Court to review that decision, and the Court agreed to do so. See "Spy vs. CIA: It's a shot in the dark" by Bill Adair, St. Petersburg Times, January 10:
NEW FOIA RULINGSRecent judicial rulings in Freedom of Information Act cases are listed and annotated in a new collection from the Justice Department Office of Information and Privacy. Courts ruled for the government and against the requester in many but not all cases. See "New FOIA Decisions, October - December 2004":
NEW FROM CRSSome new or newly updated reports of the Congressional Research Service obtained by Secrecy News include the following: "Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004: National Standards for Drivers' Licenses, Social Security Cards, and Birth Certificates," January 6, 2005:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
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