from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 10
January 29, 2007
Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/
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- FY 2007 INTELLIGENCE AUTHORIZATION BILL ADVANCES
- SPECIAL FORCES FREE FALL OPERATIONS
- ARMY CIVIL AFFAIRS OPERATIONS
- VARIOUS RESOURCES
FY 2007 INTELLIGENCE AUTHORIZATION BILL ADVANCES
After two years without an annual intelligence authorization and more than three months into Fiscal Year 2007, the FY 2007 intelligence authorization bill (S. 372) has been reintroduced in the Senate and reported out of the Senate Intelligence Committee. See the January 24 Committee report here:
"This is a critically important piece of national security legislation, and the fact that our intelligence agencies have operated without authorizing legislation for two years represents an unfortunate failure of Congressional oversight," wrote Senators Ron Wyden and Russ Feingold, who noted that they nevertheless had concerns about some of its provisions.Among its positive features, the Senate bill would require disclosure of the amounts requested, authorized and appropriated for the National Intelligence Program (Section 107). It would further mandate consideration of disclosure of the agency budgets of each of the 16 elements of the intelligence community, as recommended by the 9-11 Commission. Declassification of the intelligence budget is the sine qua non for establishing a sensible national security classification system. Some other provisions of the Senate bill are controversial, and should require referral of the bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee for further deliberation, argued Kate Martin and Brittany Benowitz of the Center for National Security Studies in a January 11, 2007 assessment. The bill, they wrote, "would permit the Intelligence Community to access vast troves of personal information on Americans collected by the FBI or other agencies while limiting application of the Privacy Act to that information (section 310); it would limit application of the Privacy Act to records maintained by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (section 416); it would exempt enormous numbers of files of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from even the search and review requirements of the FOIA (section 411); [and] it would permit NSA and CIA protective personnel to make warrantless arrests for offenses not committed in their presence (section 424 and 432)." Last week the bill was referred to the Senate Armed Services Committee for a ten-day period.
SPECIAL FORCES FREE FALL OPERATIONS
The safe performance of parachute entries into hostile territory by Special Forces personnel is addressed in a U.S. Army manual.Military free-fall (MFF) parachute operations "are used when enemy air defense systems, terrain restrictions, or politically sensitive environments prevent low altitude penetration or when mission needs require a clandestine insertion." "This field manual presents a series of concise, proven techniques and guidelines that are essential to safe, successful MFF operations." See "Special Forces Military Free-Fall Operations," Field Manual FM 3-05.211, April 2005 (295 pages, 14 MB):
The unclassified Special Forces manual has not been approved for public release, but a copy was obtained by Secrecy News.Before posting the document on the Federation of American Scientists web site, we turned to M, a friendly parachutist who is attuned to national security classification concerns, and asked whether there was any reason not to do so. "I reviewed the manual carefully and consulted with a couple of people and I didn't see anything that would suggest that any portion of the report requires special protection," he said.
ARMY CIVIL AFFAIRS OPERATIONS
"Civil Affairs" has recently been elevated to a branch of the U.S. Army by order of Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey on January 12, 2007.
The role of civil affairs is to support "the interaction of military forces with the civilian populace [in or around the battlefield] to facilitate military operations and consolidate operational objectives."According to an Army manual on civil affairs operations (pdf), "A supportive civilian population can provide resources and information that facilitate friendly operations. It can also provide a positive climate for the military and diplomatic activity a nation pursues to achieve foreign policy objectives." Conversely, "A hostile civilian population threatens the immediate operations of deployed friendly forces and can often undermine public support at home for the policy objectives of the United States and its allies. When executed properly, civil-military operations can reduce friction between the civilian population and the military force." The Army manual has not been approved for public release, but a copy was obtained by Secrecy News. See "Civil Affairs Operations," U.S. Army Field Manual FM 3-05.40, September 2006 (184 pages, 4 MB PDF).
In the latest ruling in the prosecution of two former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee for allegedly mishandling classified information, Judge T.S. Ellis III said that press leaks regarding the case did not constitute a violation of court rules because the leaks apparently derived from law enforcement sources and not from a sealed grand jury proceeding. On January 26, he rejected a defense motion for a hearing on the leaks. See:
Legal aspects of the conflicts between freedom of the press and national security secrecy are freshly examined in a study by University of Chicago Professor Geoffrey R. Stone and colleagues for the First Amendment Center. See "Government Secrecy vs. Freedom of the Press," December 2006:
And some recent scraps from the Congressional Research Service include "Unmanned Vehicles for U.S. Naval Forces: Background and Issues for Congress," updated October 25, 2006:
and "Privatization and the Federal Government: An Introduction," December 28, 2006:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
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