from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 49
May 9, 2007

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U.S. intelligence recently undertook a "significant" covert action without notifying Congress, as required by law, the House Intelligence Committee disclosed in a new report on the 2008 intelligence authorization bill.

"The Committee was dismayed at a recent incident wherein the Intelligence Community failed to inform the Congress of a significant covert action activity. This failure to notify Congress constitutes a violation of the National Security Act of 1947."

"Despite agency explanations that the failure was inadvertent, the Committee is deeply troubled over the fact that such an oversight could occur, whether intentionally or inadvertently."

"The Committee firmly believes that scrupulous transparency between the Intelligence Community and this Committee is an absolute necessity on matters related to covert action."

In response to this lapse, the Committee adopted a provision in its authorization bill that would require the CIA Inspector General to audit each covert action program at least once every three years.

The pending bill is "the single largest intelligence authorization bill ever written by the Committee," according to a May 2 news release.

The new intelligence authorization report describes new reporting requirements on the role of contractors in U.S. intelligence, Member concerns regarding intelligence policy in Iraq and domestic surveillance, defects in intelligence acquisition programs, and the evolution of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

"The recent 100-day agenda released by the DNI contained a great deal of bureaucratic verbiage but failed to articulate a clear and compelling plan for addressing chronic problems plaguing the Intelligence Community, such as deficiencies in foreign language capability, lack of diversity, information-sharing impediments, overclassification, and the lack of common security clearance practices," the report said.

The bill does not include changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act sought by the Administration.

"Before the Committee will support any change to existing law, it is essential that the President provide some measure of assurance that were he to sign a bill modifying FISA into law, he would agree to be bound by it," the report stated.

In minority views appended to the report, Republican members criticized the Committee endorsement of an intelligence role in assessing the impact of global warming, and other Committee judgments.

See Report on the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2008, House Report 110-131, May 7:


The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is sponsoring a public conference on open source intelligence in Washington, DC on July 16-17.

"The conference will raise awareness about open source and encourage information sharing among the Intelligence Community and its partners in academia, think tanks, private industry, and with federal, state, local and tribal entities and international partners."

"The two-day conference will host participants from local, national, and international organizations from both the public and private sector."

"The conference is free and open to the public." See:

"There will be free food," added organizer Theresa Sciacchetano seductively.


In an interview with the Associated Press, the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency warned that under certain circumstances the government might seek to restrict the dissemination of commercial satellite imagery.

See "Curbs on satellite photos may be needed" by Katherine Shrader, Associated Press, May 8:

A 2005 satellite image shows what appear to be launchers for the Shaheen 2 medium-range ballistic missile at Pakistan's National Defense Complex near Islamabad. The image is analyzed by Hans Kristensen on the FAS Strategic Security Blog at:


A new publication from the Joint Chiefs of Staff presents military doctrine on joint interdiction operations.

"Interdiction operations are actions to divert, disrupt, delay, or destroy an enemy's surface capabilities before they can be used effectively against friendly forces, or to otherwise achieve objectives."

"In support of law enforcement, interdiction includes activities conducted to divert, disrupt, delay, intercept, board, detain, or destroy, as appropriate, vessels, vehicles, aircraft, people and cargo. Interdiction also can be used to prevent an enemy from achieving a variety of objectives affecting the US populace, economy, or national interests."

See "Joint Interdiction," Joint Publication 3-03, 3 May 2007:


Some recently updated reports from the Congressional Research Service now available on the Federation of American Scientists web site include the following.

"Stem Cell Research: Federal Research Funding and Oversight," updated April 18, 2007:

"Israeli-Arab Negotiations: Background, Conflicts, and U.S. Policy," updated April 10, 2007:

"Nuclear Weapons: Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty," updated April 4, 2007:

"U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues," updated April 3, 2007:


U.S. Army intelligence has published a new field manual on how to structure an opposing force (OPFOR) for U.S. military training purposes.

"As a training tool, the OPFOR must be a challenging, uncooperative sparring partner capable of stressing any or all warfighting functions and mission-essential tasks of the U.S. force," the manual states.

See "Opposing Force Organization Guide," FM 7-100.4, May 2007:

"Put Steven Aftergood in the Brig" is the eye-catching title of what is actually a rather sympathetic blog entry from Commentary Magazine's Gabriel Schoenfeld on the recent dust-up between the Army and the Federation of American Scientists over our practice of publishing certain Army documents.


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

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