from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 81
September 13, 2004


Last week the White House announced the names of five persons who will be appointed to a new Public Interest Declassification Board.

The Public Interest Declassification Board was actually created in statute four years ago to promote public access to national security information and to advise the government on declassification policies and priorities.

But because its members were never named, the Board has remained dormant.

Most of the individuals chosen by the White House to advance the public interest in declassification are former intelligence community officials.

They include L. Britt Snider, former CIA Inspector General; Martin Faga, former director of the National Reconnaissance Office; Steven Garfinkel, the former director of the Information Security Oversight Office; Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, former General Counsel of the National Security Agency; and Richard N. Smith, historian and co-author with Bob and Elizabeth Dole of their joint autobiography.

The remaining members of the nine-person Board must be named by the House and Senate leadership. It is not known whether or when that may be done.

The Public Interest Declassification Board was the only surviving element of the legislative reform package recommended in 1997 by the Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy, chaired by the late Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan. The Board was established in the Fiscal Year 2001 Intelligence Authorization Act. See:

If successfully constituted, the Board would overlap with, and may preempt, a similar proposal offered lately by Senators Trent Lott and Ron Wyden to created an Independent National Security Classification Board (S. 2672).


Potential terrorist attacks against agricultural targets are the subject of a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

"Agroterrorism is a subset of bioterrorism, and is defined as the deliberate introduction of an animal or plant disease with the goal of generating fear, causing economic losses, and/or undermining stability," the CRS explains. "Attacks against agriculture are not new, and have been conducted or considered by both nation-states and substate organizations throughout history."

See "Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness," August 13, 2004 (courtesy of the Center for Democracy and Technology):

CRS policy prohibits direct public access to products like this one. This policy tends to shield errors in CRS reports from discovery.


The Advanced Research and Development Agency (ARDA) is soliciting proposals for research to meet U.S. intelligence needs in information technology and other fields.

ARDA "is an intelligence community organization whose mission is to sponsor high-risk, high-payoff research designed to leverage leading edge technology to solve some of the most critical problems facing the Intelligence Community (IC)," according to the solicitation.

Particular areas of interest include data mining, advanced capabilities for intelligence analysis, video analysis and content extraction, and nanoelectronics for high performance computing.

See a copy of the August 31, 2004 ARDA solicitation here:


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

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