from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 83
September 23, 2004


Porter J. Goss, who was confirmed by the Senate yesterday to be the next Director of Central Intelligence, told Senators Monday that declassification had become "easier" as a result of legislation that he helped pass. But that isn't true.

At a September 20 confirmation hearing, Senator Ron Wyden pressed Rep. Goss to identify "one or two concrete examples" where he had demonstrated leadership to bring about intelligence reform.

Mr. Goss cited a bill sponsored by the late Senator Moynihan that he helped to advance.

"We did pass a bill, bicameral, bipartisan -- a first step. It wasn't as much as either of us wanted, but it was a good step, and it is the law, and it has made it easier now in the declassification process," he said.

In fact, however, that law, known as the Public Interest Declassification Act, has not been implemented even though it was enacted in 2000. Consequently, it has made nothing "easier."

Last week, Sen. Chuck Hagel asked Mr. Goss whether he favored disclosure of the intelligence budget. Goss replied that he did not and he explained why.

Budget secrecy "served us well... when we were in a bipolar standoff with the Soviet Union," Mr. Goss said. "I'm not sure what the future holds... I think the day may come when we find ourselves in another sort of bipolar situation."

This peculiar statement appears to concede that budget secrecy serves no legitimate purpose today. See:

Mr. Goss was confirmed by the Senate on September 22 by a vote of 77-17. See the transcript of the deliberations on the Senate floor here:


Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) is yet another specimen in the growing menagerie of government restrictions on unclassified information.

CUI is a Department of Defense information control category.

According to the Pentagon, CUI "includes, but is not limited to (!), 'For Official Use Only' information; 'Sensitive But Unclassified' (formerly 'Limited Official Use') information; 'DEA Sensitive Information'; 'DOD Unclassified Controlled Nuclear Information'; 'Sensitive Information', as defined in the Computer Security Act of 1987; and information contained in technical documents."

See this DoD PowerPoint briefing on "controlled unclassified information" (thanks to RT):

The Government Accountability Office will review the panoply of controls on unclassified information used by the Department of Homeland Security, the Washington Times reported on September 22.


The numerous and diverse armed groups that are violently opposing U.S. forces in Iraq are itemized and categorized in a September 19 news article published in Baghdad.

"After the fall of Baghdad into the hands of the Anglo-American occupation on 9 April 2003, as a natural reaction, several sectors of Iraqi society confronted the occupation. Resistance cells were formed, the majority of which were of Islamic Sunni and pan-Arab tendencies. These cells started in the shape of scattered groups, without a unifying bond to bind them together."

"These groups and small cells started to grow gradually, until they matured to some extent and acquired a clear personality that had its own political and military weight. Then they started to pursue combining themselves into larger groups."

See "Who Kills Hostages in Iraq?" by Samir Haddad and Mazin Ghazi in the Iraqi newspaper Al-Zawra, September 19 (translated by the CIA's Foreign Broadcast Information Service):


The legality of interrogation techniques used by U.S. military intelligence personnel in Iraq is the subject of a recent report from the Congressional Research Service.

"This report outlines the provisions of the Conventions as they apply to prisoners of war and to civilians, and the minimum level of protection offered by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions."

"The report discusses and analyzes some of the various interrogation techniques approved or considered for use during interrogations of prisoners at Abu Ghraib."

The CRS does not permit direct public access to its products. But see "Lawfulness of Interrogation Techniques Under the Geneva Conventions," September 8, 2004, here:


Another new Congressional Research Service report deemed unfit for public consumption is:

"Risk Management and Critical Infrastructure Protection: Assessing, Integrating, and Managing Threats, Vulnerabilities and Consequences," September 2:


The challenge of meeting the foreign language needs of U.S. national security and other government agencies is explored at some length in yet another Congressional Research Service report.

"There is a widespread consensus that requirements for foreign language qualified personnel are not currently being met," the CRS notes.

Firing competent translators who expose agency malfeasance doesn't help.

See "Requirements for Linguists in Government Agencies," Congressional Research Service, September 2:


Liechtenstein ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) on 21 September 2004, bringing the total number of Treaty ratifications to 116.

The United States, which has not ruled out the resumption of nuclear explosive testing, opposes the Treaty.

The Liechtenstein breakthrough was announced in this September 22 news release from the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission:


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

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