Secrecy News -- 07/22/04 (IF)
saftergood at fas.org
Thu Jul 22 14:24:11 EDT 2004
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 69
July 22, 2004
** 9-11 COMMISSION REPUDIATES INTELLIGENCE BUDGET SECRECY
** PROPOSED INDEPENDENT CLASSIFICATION BOARD GAINS MOMENTUM
** TOPPLING SADDAM: A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT
9-11 COMMISSION REPUDIATES INTELLIGENCE BUDGET SECRECY
The Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks
Upon the United States (the 9-11 Commission), published today,
identified overclassification as a problem requiring attention.
It will take time to read and digest the Report's full contents,
but the recommendation on secrecy immediately stood out:
"Secrecy stifles oversight, accountability, and information
sharing. Unfortunately, all the current organizational
incentives encourage overclassification. This balance should
change; and as a start, open information should be provided
about the overall size of agency intelligence budgets."
(Executive summary, p. 24).
"Recommendation: ...to combat the secrecy and complexity we have
described, the overall amounts of money being appropriated for
national intelligence and to its component agencies should no
longer be kept secret." (Section 13, p. 416).
A copy of the Final Report of the 9-11 Commission is mirrored
PROPOSED INDEPENDENT CLASSIFICATION BOARD GAINS MOMENTUM
More members of Congress stepped up to endorse the proposal for
an Independent National Security Classification Board to review
classification disputes and instigate reforms (SN, 07/16/04).
"The current level of abuse of our classification system is so
egregious as to be laughable," said Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL).
An independent panel "is needed in order to restore integrity and
accountability to the classification and declassification
process," said Rep. Leonard L. Boswell (D-IA), a co-sponsor of
the proposal in the House.
"Controversy lingers over whether government agencies are
over-classifying material in an effort to keep embarrassing
facts from the public," write Rebecca Carr and George Edmonson
in a Cox News Service story.
See "Lawmakers Frustrated By Delays In Declassifying Documents,"
TOPPLING SADDAM: A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT
The relative speed and ease of the first phase of the war in Iraq
are due in part to U.S. military prowess, but also to Iraqi
weakness, according to a critical internal account prepared for
the U.S. Army.
"The shortcomings of Saddam's military played an important role
in limiting the cost of major combat operations in Operation
Iraqi Freedom. Coalition strengths were important contributors,
but so were Iraqi weaknesses."
As a result, there are "important limitations on the Iraq War's
lessons for other defense planning challenges.... The Iraqis'
shortcomings created a permissive environment for Coalition
technology that a more skilled opponent elsewhere might not,"
according to the study Foreword.
The study, which does represent an official U.S. Army
perspective, has not been formally released.
Each page is marked "Distribution Limited: Not to be Released
Outside of the U.S. Army." A copy of was obtained by Secrecy
See "Toppling Saddam: Iraq and American Military Transformation"
by Dr. Stephen Biddle, et al, Strategic Studies Institute,
April 2004 (46 pages, 4.7 MB PDF file):
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the
Federation of American Scientists.
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