from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 50
May 10, 2007

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The presiding judge in the closely-watched prosecution of two former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) charged with unlawfully receiving national defense information has denied a defense motion to dismiss the case on grounds of alleged constitutional violations by the government.

The defense had argued that the case should be dismissed because the government pressured AIPAC, the defendants' former employer, not to pay their legal fees and thereby violated their constitutional rights to due process and the right to counsel.

The alleged interference occurred in 2004 and 2005, when "the government was actively investigating defendants and AIPAC," Judge T.S. Ellis III explained in a new memorandum opinion.

According to the defendants' account, "prosecutors implicitly or explicitly threatened AIPAC with criminal charges, and/or threatened further intense scrutiny of AIPAC in the event the government perceived AIPAC's cooperation as unsatisfactory." To demonstrate its "cooperation," AIPAC subsequently fired the defendants and ceased to pay their legal fees. The organization was not charged in the indictment.

The court essentially validated the defense account. "Defendants have adequately shown a wrongful [government] interference with their contractual relations with AIPAC" (p. 16).

The government's policy (under the so-called "Thompson Memorandum") of pressuring employers to withhold legal fees to support their employees "is unquestionably obnoxious and is fraught with the risk of constitutional harm in specific cases," Judge Ellis wrote (p. 26).

But in this case, the practice did not prejudice the defendants, he said, since they nevertheless managed to assemble an extremely capable defense team.

"A mountain of evidence convincingly demonstrates that defense counsel's zealous, thorough, and effective representation of defendants has not been adversely affected by the loss of AIPAC's fee payments," he wrote in his May 8 opinion.

The motion to dismiss was therefore denied.

The AIPAC trial, previously scheduled for June 4, has been postponed. A closed hearing is scheduled for June 7.


One new feature of the intelligence budgeting process is the mandatory public disclosure of "earmarks" -- funds that are specifically requested by an individual member of Congress and designated for a particular program.

The disclosures shed at least a few photons worth of new light on the deliberately obscure intelligence budget.

More than two dozen earmarks, from the $500,000 for a "Behavior Pattern Training Recognition Program" requested by Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ) to the $23 million for the National Drug Intelligence Center requested by Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), are itemized in the printed (or PDF) version of the House Intelligence Committee report on the FY 2008 Intelligence Authorization Act (at pp. 50-51):


"Arms Control and Nonproliferation Technologies" (ACNT) was the name of a now-defunct Department of Energy journal that sought to inform policy makers about the capacities and limitations of arms control-related technologies.

At its best, ACNT provided a foundation for clear thinking about arms control and an intelligible introduction to the technologies involved.

It has been referenced in various studies performed by the National Academy of Sciences and others, but has become hard to find.

The journal ceased publication in 2001, when its budget became a casualty of post-9/11 spending priorities and "suddenly arms control wasn't fashionable any more," a DOE official told Secrecy News.

It was deleted from the website of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (where it was produced) in 2005.

Secrecy News has recovered all extant issues of Arms Control and Nonproliferation Technologies from multiple sources and assembled them in an online archive on the Federation of American Scientists web site here:


In reporting on our unauthorized reproduction of Army publications, as noted yesterday, Gabriel Schoenfeld wrote an article entitled "Put Steven Aftergood in the Brig."

He was way out of line, wrote Robert S. Norris of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"Let's get our prisons straight. A Brig is a ship's or Navy/Marine prison and to my knowledge Aftergood has not angered the Navy to that point yet."

"As for the Army, the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas is a more logical place."

"But since Aftergood is a civilian he is not eligible for incarceration there either."

"As he has done nothing wrong it looks as though he must remain free."


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

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