from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 29
March 15, 2007
Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/
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- DOCUMENT DENIED: DHS BOOSTS COOPERATION WITH RUSSIAN INTEL
- HOUSE ADOPTS OPEN GOVT BILLS
- AP: MORE THAN A MILLION PAGES REMOVED FROM ARCHIVES
- NEW ARMY REGULATION REDEFINES LEADERSHIP
DOCUMENT DENIED: DHS BOOSTS COOPERATION WITH RUSSIAN INTEL
Two new U.S. Secret Service agents are to be stationed in Moscow this year, in accordance with a secret memorandum of understanding between the Department of Homeland Security and Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), that country's foreign intelligence agency. (Correction: The FSB focuses primarily on internal security. Russia's principal foreign intelligence agency is the Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki or SVR.)The four-page memorandum of understanding was signed in November 2006 by DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and the FSB Director. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Federation of American Scientists, DHS denied the release of any portion of the document, citing FOIA exemption (7)(E) which protects law enforcement information.
The denial is being appealed. DHS officials have independently disclosed some of the contents of the memorandum.Information about the document was first reported last December by Russia's Tass News Agency. The DHS-FSB memorandum "envisages the exchange of information between the two sides on border control and related matters," according to a Tass report. DHS Acting Assistant Secretary Paul Rosenzweig described the agreement in a December 20, 2006 briefing. "One of the products of [the new memorandum] is that either already or within the new year there will be two new Secret Service agents stationed in Moscow. [The Secret Service is now a DHS component -- SN] That's a return to a post that has been vacant for quite some time which we're very pleased about. There remain several other DHS people there already." "With Russia in particular, there's been some very strong positive movement in the past six months, as reflected by the signing of this agreement," Mr. Rosenzweig said.
HOUSE ADOPTS OPEN GOVT BILLS
The House of Representatives yesterday adopted a slate of open government bills by large, veto-proof majorities in the face of sharp opposition from the Bush White House."Today, Congress took an important step towards restoring openness and transparency in government," said Rep. Henry Waxman, who expeditiously moved the bills through his Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. "Over the past six years, the Bush Administration has done everything it can to operate in secret, to avoid public scrutiny, and to limit congressional oversight," Rep. Waxman said. "I am pleased that Congress is reversing this course by passing four critically important good government bills with strong bipartisan support." The vote coincided with Sunshine Week, a national campaign by media organizations and others to promote values of openness and accountability. The House debate on amendments to the Freedom of Information Act, adopted by a vote of 308-117, is here:
The White House statement of opposition is here:
The debate on provisions to strengthen whistleblower protections (adopted 331-94) is here:
The White House opposition is here:
The House debate on amendments to the Presidential Records Act which, among other things, would nullify President Bush's executive order on the subject (adopted 333-93) is here:
And the White House statement of opposition is here:
A fourth bill adopted by the House would require increased disclosure of donors to presidential libraries.
AP: MORE THAN A MILLION PAGES REMOVED FROM ARCHIVES
More than 1 million pages of historical government records have been removed from public access at the National Archives on asserted security grounds since September 2001, according to an Associated Press investigation.Some of the records are more than 100 years old. See "AP: 1M archived pages removed post-9/11" by Frank Bass and Randy Herschaft, Associated Press, March 14:
To illustrate the sometimes questionable nature of the document withdrawals, the Associated Press has posted an interactive "quiz" for readers (thanks to resourceshelf.com):
NEW ARMY REGULATION REDEFINES LEADERSHIP
A new U.S. Army regulation "updates the definition of leadership and introduces the concept of the Pentathlete."The regulation identifies various aspects and levels of leadership, describes the warrior ethos and its place in Army culture, and discusses the responsibility of leaders and how they are trained. Pentathletes in this context "are multi-skilled, innovative, adaptive, and situationally aware professionals who demonstrate character in everything that they do, are experts in the profession of arms, personify the warrior ethos in all aspects from war fighting to statesmanship to enterprise management, and boldly confront uncertainty and solve complex problems." See "Army Leadership," Army Regulation AR 600-100, March 8, 2007:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
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