from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
April 26, 2001


The European Parliament reached agreement yesterday on a new Regulation governing public access to European Union (EU) documents that is said to offer an unprecedented degree of transparency. It provides EU citizens for the first time with a formal right of access to official documents.

The move is "a roaring rip in the veil of secrecy," said Graham Watson, the chairman of the Parliament's citizens' rights committee. See "EU Strikes New Deal on Freedom of Information" by Ian Black in the London Guardian:

Some advocates were disappointed by the move. Statewatch, a London-based civil liberties organization, criticized several provisions of the new Regulation as ambiguous and termed others "unacceptable." Members of the Green Party voted against the measure as inadequate.

Other freedom of information proponents welcomed the agreement as a marked improvement over previous proposals and a promising foundation for further development.

The text of the new code of access, which is expected to be ratified by the full Parliament next week, can be found on Statewatch's web site, along with critical commentary, here:


The continuing controversy over use of the polygraph as a security measure was ventilated at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 25.

The prepared statements of supporters and critics are posted here:

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy is "sharpening up our policies" on polygraph testing, said Gen. John A. Gordon of the National Nuclear Security Administration at a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday. "I expect to come back to the Congress and ask for some perfections in the [polygraph] legislation that exists out there."


The question of whether espionage could or should be constrained by international agreement, discussed in Secrecy News on April 17, is explored further by Fiona Morgan in Salon Magazine today. See "Does the U.S. Spy Too Much?":


The National Intelligence Daily, mentioned in Secrecy News of April 23, was not known by that name until 1973. The precursor publication, some issues of which are now subject to a request for declassification, was called the Central Intelligence Bulletin. (Thanks to W. Burr.)


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