from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2009, Issue No. 16
February 17, 2009

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The Open Source Center (OSC) of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence recently ranked the individuals whom it considers to be the ten most influential political commentators in the British press and profiled them in an OSC publication.

These commentators -- from the BBC, Sky News, the Guardian, and elsewhere -- are "listened to and read by cabinet ministers, business leaders, and fellow journalists. Many of them have close links to senior politicians and have been responsible for breaking stories that set the political agenda," the OSC document said.

The OSC publication, which has not been approved for public release, is marked "for official use only." Furthermore, its "authorized use is for national security purposes of the United States Government only." What the relevant U.S. Government national security purposes of such material might be was not specified.

A copy of the document was obtained by Secrecy News. See "United Kingdom -- Profiles of Influential Political Commentators," OSC Media Aid, October 22, 2008.


The shifting legal framework governing the interrogation of detainees held by the U.S. Government was examined in several newly updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that have not previously been made readily available to the public.

"Interrogation of Detainees: Requirements of the Detainee Treatment Act," updated January 23, 2009:

"U.N. Convention Against Torture (CAT): Overview and Application to Interrogation Techniques," updated January 26, 2009:

"The U.N. Convention Against Torture: Overview of U.S. Implementation Policy Concerning the Removal of Aliens," updated January 21, 2009:

"The War Crimes Act: Current Issues," updated January 22, 2009:

"Renditions: Constraints Imposed by Laws on Torture," updated January 22, 2009:


"Despite President Obama's vow to open government more than ever, the Justice Department is defending Bush administration decisions to keep secret many documents about domestic wiretapping, data collection on travelers and U.S. citizens, and interrogation of suspected terrorists," Michael J. Sniffen reported for the Associated Press. See "Despite Obama Pledge, Justice Defends Bush Secrets," February 16, 2009:

David Sobel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation described several actions taken by his organization to test and challenge the Obama Administration's new disclosure policies. See "EFF to Obama Administration: Time to Make Open Government a Reality," February 12, 2009:

Excessive classification continues to generate intense frustration within the government and to foster suspicion and hostility on the part of allies, according to retired Lt. Gen. John Sattler, the former director of strategic plans for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His remarks were reported in "Sattler: Less Classification, More Communication with Coalition" by Rebekah Gordon, Inside the Navy, February 16, 2009:


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

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