51 Years After The Fact, A National Secret

A federal judge has ruled

Map of Cuba, showing the Bay of Pigs

Map of Cuba, showing the Bay of Pigs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

that the last volume in a CIA history of the Bay of Pigs invasion that was written more than 30 years ago and 51 years after the ill-fated Cuban mission should remain secret.

In an opinion released Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler said Volume V in the CIA’s Official History of the Bay of Pigs was a draft that was “rejected for inclusion in the final publication” and was exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Washington-based National Security Archive, a research institute and library, filed suit last year asking for declassification of all five volumes in the set after its previous FOIA requests were unsuccessful.

Volumes I, II, and IV were released last April. Volume III had actually been declassified in 1998 but researchers remained unaware of the fact until a Villanova university professor found it stashed in a box at the National Archives Kennedy Assassination Records Collection in 2005.

The National Security Archive called Kessler’s decision “a regrettable blow to the right-to-know.”

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A Trillion Dollars on Secrecy Since 2001: Indeed, We Do Have a Spending Problem…on Secrecy

American Civil Liberties Union

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In the years since 9/11 the United States government has spent over a trillion dollars on national security measures that have increased government secrecy exponentially. A new report by the American Civil Liberties Union, “Drastic Measures Required,” illustrates the vast and systemic use of secrecy, including secret agencies, secret committees in Congress, a secret court and even secret laws, to keep government activities away from public scrutiny.

“Our government has reached unparalleled levels of secrecy,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Though this administration’s attempts to be transparent are laudable, the reality has been that it is just as secretive as its predecessor. Congress has the tools to curb this excessive secrecy but it must be more aggressive in using them. It’s time to drastically overhaul the way our government classifies information.”

“Drastic Measures Required” highlights the significant powers Congress holds under the Constitution to stem the tide of government secrecy: the authority to regulate the military and national security activities, as well as the tools to investigate executive branch authorities. The report lays out specific recommendations for Congress to help turn the tide of excessive government secrecy –including reforming the misused state secrets privilege, strengthening congressional oversight of national security programs and enacting legislation to limit and regulate the executive branch’s classification power.

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On Obama’s Decision Not to Release the Osama Photos…

Hamid Mir interviewing Osama bin Laden for Dai...

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I read, then re-read, then re-read that headline, to make sure I didn’t transpose the names like Fox…

Anyway, Obama has made his call: he is not releasing the Bin Laden photos, not voluntarily, anyway. His reasoning is hard to argue with, at first blush.

In explaining his choice not to release the photo, Mr. Obama said that “we don’t need to spike the football.” He said that “given the graphic nature of these photos it would create a national security risk.”

Speculative? Yes. Does the United States government have a less-than-stellar record when it comes to the transparency of certain newsworthy military engagements (see, Lynch, Jessica; also Tillman Pat…)

Anyway, unless he seeks another one-off FOI exemption like he did for the second batch of Abu Ghraib photos, this FOI request might force his hand.
Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20059739-503544.html#ixzz1LPkdbFZG

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