from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2003, Issue No. 20
March 6, 2003


U.S. military intelligence has lately assumed new prominence with the establishment of an Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, expanding roles and missions, and growing budgets. Now, rather unexpectedly, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is asserting itself in a different way by publishing collections of declassified documents on the history of the 40 year old agency.

"As DIA enters its fourth decade of preeminence in Defense intelligence support, we have an obligation to DIA employees, the public, and historians to unveil the previously classified materials on the origins and accomplishments of this Agency," wrote Vice Admiral Lowell E. Jacoby, the DIA Director, in the preface to a handsome new volume entitled "At the Creation: 1961-1965."

"The 104 specially selected documents tell our early story from 1961 to 1965," Adm. Jacoby wrote. "In the near future, we will publish additional volumes covering the years from 1965 to the present."

"At the Creation," a 486 page collection edited by Deane J. Allen and Brian G. Shellum and published by the DIA History Office, reproduces facsimiles of original documents, or carbon copies thereof, and encompasses the agency's creation, the establishment of its internal directorates, and assorted administrative policies.

Opening the thing at random, Secrecy News was pleased to discover a 1962 Pentagon memorandum recommending "that the total dollars as well as the total number of positions for DIA... be considered as unclassified information."

Realistically, the new volume will be read only by a small subset of intelligence historians and former employees. Others are likely to find it boring or incomprehensible. Accordingly, it has been produced in a limited edition and will not be sold through the Government Printing Office. Copies may be available through DIA Freedom of Information Act channels.


"Old patterns of conflict in the Middle East can be broken, if all concerned will let go of bitterness, hatred, and violence, and get on with the serious work of economic development, and political reform, and reconciliation," said President Bush in a February 26 speech. "America will seize every opportunity in pursuit of peace. And the end of the present regime in Iraq would create such an opportunity."

It is far from self-evident how a U.S. war to topple Saddam Hussein could lead in some sequential way, as the President suggested, to "two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security."

But one gesture toward political reform, proffered by the Palestinian Authority, is a new draft Constitution for a future State of Palestine.

The text of the new draft Constitution, published in Al-Ayyam on February 17 and translated, rather stiffly, by the CIA's Foreign Broadcast Information Service, may be found here:

The new draft drew criticism from the Hamas terrorist group as well as the Israeli government. A Hamas official told the Palestine Chronicle that a Constitution was premature as long as there was no Palestinian state, and that the whole initiative was an undue concession to the Bush Administration "roadmap." An Israeli official objected to some of the historical references in the document and questioned some procedural aspects in a March 4 article by Aluf Benn in Haaretz.


The State Department has recently posted on its web site the full text of the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) volume on the Near East, 1961-1962, which documents official views of various aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict in those years, U.S. policy towards Iran and Nasser's Egypt, Israel's nascent nuclear program, and related topics.

"We have been assured categorically at the highest level of the Israeli Government that Israel has no plans for the production of atomic weapons," according to a declassified 1961 State Department memo included in the volume. The evolution of Israel's nuclear weapons program was traced in Avner Cohen's book "Israel and the Bomb" (Columbia University Press, 1998).

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, vol. XVII, Near East, 1961-1962, was published in hard copy in 1994. It may now be found here:


"Dozens of new rules -- on the books and under development -- govern who can come into the United States to work on scientific projects, who can work with dangerous organisms or sensitive technologies, how that work will be carried out and how widely the results can be reported.... Many fear the security crackdown will backfire, hampering studies that are critical to thwarting terrorists."

See "Security concerns imperil research" by Glennda Chui, San Jose Mercury News, March 3:

A petition asking the Supreme Court to revisit a 1953 ruling on state secrets, alleging that it had been based on false government information (SNews, 03/04/03), "was so unusual that the staff at the Supreme Court clerk's office didn't know what to do with it when it was filed last week - and returned it," according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Attorney Wilson M. Brown III said the petition would be refiled this week.

See "Unearthed military secret brings new life to old case" by L. Stuart Ditzen, Philadelphia Inquirer, March 5:

Rep. Chris Shays, chairman of a House national security subcommittee, is pursuing the question of "whether Bush administration officials passed classified information to journalist Bob Woodward for 'Bush at War,' his latest best-selling book." See "Shays queries Woodward leaks" by Jonathan E. Kaplan, The Hill, March 6:

"What is the procedure for declassifying [Russian] documents that are part of the country's history?" See "FSB Declassifies Over 100 Documents" by Alexandra Samarina, Moscow News, March 5:

The Department of Homeland Security once held out the promise of transcending the divisions that undermined the U.S. intelligence community's counterterrorism posture. But it didn't work out that way.

The bureaucratic collision between the new Department and the old intelligence bureaucracy is scrutinized by Laura Rozen in "Intelligence Deficient," The American Prospect, March 6:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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