from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 70
July 11, 2007

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A pending Senate bill would suspend funding for the Office of Vice President next year unless Vice President Cheney agrees to comply with the oversight provisions of the executive order on classification, something he claims he is not obliged to do.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services, included language in the pending appropriations bill to suspend the funding after the Vice President failed to respond to the Senator's June 25 letter urging compliance with the executive order.

A similar measure to cut funding for the Office of Vice President, introduced in the House last month by Rep. Rahm Emanuel, was narrowly defeated on June 28 by a vote of 209-217.

J. William Leonard, the Information Security Oversight Office director whose oversight activities were rebuffed by the Office of Vice President, will testify tomorrow, July 12, at a House Intelligence Subcommittee hearing on classification policy. I will also be among the witnesses at the 1 PM hearing in Rayburn 2216.


The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence endorsed a statutory prohibition that prevents the Department of Defense from granting security clearances to former convicts who have served a year or more in jail, individuals who are mentally incompetent, are drug addicts, or have been dishonorably discharged from the military.

The Pentagon had requested a repeal of that provision, first enacted in 2000, and the request was approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"The [Intelligence] Committee understands DoD's desire to have more flexibility to give clearances to otherwise qualified individuals who are currently barred from receiving or renewing their security clearances."

"Because of the extremely sensitive nature of DoD's military and intelligence activities, however, the Committee is concerned that a blanket repeal of section 986 could lead to unintended compromises or mishandling of classified information. Further, the Committee believes that the waiver authority that is currently provided in section 986 is sufficient to give DoD the flexibility and discretion it needs in handling cases involving convictions or dishonorable discharges."

In a dissenting view (favoring the Pentagon proposal to repeal), Committee Chairman Rockefeller and Senators Wyden and Feingold said they had "no reason to question the adequacy of the security clearance process established under presidential order, nor to question the joint assessment of DoD and the Armed Services Committee that national security can be protected without this one DoD-specific statute."

See the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the FY 2008 Defense Authorization Act, Senate Report 110-125, June 29:

The dispute was first reported in "Ex-convicts and addicts may get DoD clearance" by Elana Schor and Roxana Tiron, The Hill, July 10:

Writing in the Danger Room blog, Sharon Weinberger correctly noted that someone like Scooter Libby (mentioned by me in The Hill article) would not technically be subject to the statutory prohibition since he is not going to spend a year or more in jail.


A federal appeals court yesterday heard oral arguments in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking disclosure of two Vietnam-era editions of the President's Daily Brief.

The Central Intelligence Agency refused to disclose the two PDBs to University of California professor Larry Berman, who filed the lawsuit in cooperation with the lawfirm Davis Wright Tremaine and the National Security Archive.

The July 10 hearing was reported in "Federal Court Skeptical of CIA Bid for Secrecy" by Josh Gerstein, New York Sun, July 11:

An audio recording of the fairly technical court session can be downloaded from this site:

Click on "Audio Files" on the left side of the page and then enter case number 05-16820.

Additional background on the case is here:


Recent Congressional Research Service reports on Navy acquisition programs and related topics include these.

"Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress," updated June 12, 2007:

"Navy DDG-1000 (DD(X)) and CG(X) Ship Acquisition Programs: Oversight Issues and Options for Congress," updated June 11, 2007:

"Navy CG(X) Cruiser Design Options: Background and Oversight Issues for Congress," updated June 13, 2007:

"Navy Attack Submarine Force-Level Goal and Procurement Rate:Background and Issues for Congress," updated June 11, 2007:

"Navy-Marine Corps Amphibious and Maritime Prepositioning Ship Programs: Background and Oversight Issues for Congress," updated June 12, 2007:


Some other recently updated Congressional Research Service reports that have not been made freely available to the public include these.

"China's Currency: Economic Issues and Options for U.S. Trade Policy," updated June 28, 2007:

"Military Airlift: C-17 Aircraft Program," updated June 5, 2007:

"Indonesia: Domestic Politics, Strategic Dynamics, and American Interests," updated June 20, 2007:

"The Global Peace Operations Initiative: Background and Issues for Congress," updated June 11, 2007:

"Conventional Warheads For Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues for Congress," updated June 19, 2007:

"War Powers Resolution: Presidential Compliance," updated June 12, 2007:


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

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