Date: Mon, 21 May 2012 11:16:40 -0400
From: Steven Aftergood <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Secrecy News -- 05/21/12
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy Volume 2012, Issue No. 47 May 21,
Secrecy News Blog:
** ARMY UPDATES OVERSIGHT OF "SENSITIVE ACTIVITIES"
** HOUSE VOTES TO REQUIRE LEAK INVESTIGATION ON ISRAEL-IRAN INFO
** PROLIFERATION OF PRECISION STRIKE, AND MORE FROM CRS
ARMY UPDATES OVERSIGHT OF "SENSITIVE ACTIVITIES"
In a directive issued last week, Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh
established a new Army Special Programs Directorate (ASPD) to administer and
oversee special access programs and other "sensitive activities" conducted
by the Army.
"I expect all Army commands, organizations and personnel to be proactive in
affording the ASPD and the other members of my sensitive activities
oversight team... unfettered and continuing access to any and all
information and operational data they deem necessary to accomplish their
oversight missions and functions," Secretary McHugh wrote in the May 14 Army
The new Directorate is the successor organization to the former Technology
Management Office, which performed many of the same functions.
The definition of "sensitive activities" in Army Regulation 380-381
includes: "programs that restrict personnel access [...]; sensitive support
to other Federal agencies; clandestine or covert operational or intelligence
activities; sensitive research, development, acquisition, or contracting
activities; special activities; and other activities excluded from normal
staff review and oversight because of restrictions on access to
The Army regulation indicates that special access programs (SAPs), which are
a subset of sensitive activities, may be used to restrict access to "a
specific technology with potential for weaponization that gives the United
States a significant technical lead or tactical advantage over potential
adversaries"; "extremely sensitive activities conducted in support of
national foreign policy objectives abroad, which are planned and executed so
that the role of the U.S. Government is not apparent or acknowledged
publicly"; "methods used to acquire foreign technology or equipment"; among
other potential categories.
"SAPs are not programs or activities planned and executed with the intent to
influence U.S. political processes, public opinion, policies, or media," the
2004 Army regulation states.
Secretary McHugh stressed that he retained authority and responsibility for
the Army's special programs.
"I reserve the authority to review and take action on matters relating to
our Army's conduct of, or support of, the most sensitive or unusual
activities," he wrote to Army commanders and senior officials in his
directive last week. "I expect you to exercise your judgment as to those
activities that should be forwarded for my approval even when you typically
exercise approval authority for sensitive, but otherwise routine
HOUSE VOTES TO REQUIRE LEAK INVESTIGATION ON ISRAEL-IRAN INFO
The House of Representatives last week adopted an amendment to require the
Attorney General to conduct a criminal investigation into "leaks of
sensitive information involving the military, intelligence, and operational
capabilities of the United States and Israel."
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), who sponsored the amendment to the FY2013 defense
authorization act, cited stories based on leaks concerning a potential
Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities that were published in the New
York Times, the Washington Post, and Foreign Policy.
"Our amendment calls for the Attorney General to investigate these leaks and
bring those responsible to justice," Rep. Price said. "Trust and cooperation
are vital to securing a strong alliance and a future of peace."
No one spoke in opposition to the amendment, which was approved May 18 by a
vote of 379-38.
PROLIFERATION OF PRECISION STRIKE, AND MORE FROM CRS
New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that
Congress has instructed CRS not to release to the public include the
Proliferation of Precision Strike: Issues for Congress, May 14, 2012:
By one official reckoning, there were 35 terrorist incidents in the United
States between 2004 and 2011. See The Domestic Terrorist Threat: Background
and Issues for Congress, May 15, 2012:
It costs $179,750 per hour to operate Air Force One, the President's
official aircraft, according to the latest cost data from the Air Force.
See Presidential Travel: Policy and Costs, May 17, 2012:
How FDA Approves Drugs and Regulates Their Safety and Effectiveness, May 18,
Submission of the President's Budget in Transition Years, May 17, 2012:
Canadian oil sands are 14-20% more greenhouse-gas-intensive than the crude
oil they would replace in U.S. refineries. The effect of the Keystone XL
pipeline would be to increase the U.S. greenhouse gas footprint by 3-21
million metric tons, equal to the greenhouse emissions from 588,000 to 4
million passenger vehicles. See Canadian Oil Sands: Life-Cycle Assessments
of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, May 15, 2012:
Discretionary Spending in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
(ACA), May 18, 2012:
Economic Recovery: Sustaining U.S. Economic Growth in a Post-Crisis Economy,
May 17, 2012:
Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP): Implementation and Status, May 18,
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria: Issues for
Congress and U.S. Contributions from FY2001 to FY2013, May 15, 2012:
Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990, May 17, 2012:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation
of American Scientists.
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