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Secrecy News -- 08/04/09

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  • David P. Dillard
    . Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2009 13:00:36 -0400 From: Steven Aftergood To: saftergood@fas.org Subject: Secrecy News -- 08/04/09 (alt list) SECRECY
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4, 2009
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      Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2009 13:00:36 -0400
      From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood@...>
      To: saftergood@...
      Subject: Secrecy News -- 08/04/09 (alt list)

      from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
      Volume 2009, Issue No. 66
      August 4, 2009

      Secrecy News Blog:




      In the early 1970s, the Nixon Administration plotted to interfere in
      Uruguay's presidential elections in order to block the rise of the leftist
      Frente Amplio coalition. But when the State Department published its
      official history of U.S. relations with Latin America during the Nixon era
      last month, there was no mention of any such activities. Instead, the State
      Department Office of the Historian said that Uruguay-related records could
      not be posted on the Department website because of "space constraints."
      Following repeated inquiries, however, the Historian's Office revised its
      position last week and said it would include Uruguay-related records in its
      Nixon history after all.

      The United States should work "overtly and covertly" to blunt the political
      appeal of the Frente Amplio and to diminish its chances for victory in the
      Uruguayan presidential elections, advised one declassified document from
      1971. Several important documentary records of that turbulent period were
      compiled by the National Security Archive in 2002. See "Nixon: 'Brazil
      Helped Rig the Uruguayan Elections,' 1971" edited by Carlos Osorio:


      Meanwhile, urban guerrillas who were violently challenging the governments
      of several Latin American countries drew the worried attention of U.S.
      intelligence officials. In particular, the Uruguayan Marxist revolutionary
      group known as the Tupamaros, which murdered a U.S. AID official in 1970,
      "has had a spectacular and rapid rise to prominence during the last few
      years," according to a 1971 CIA analysis entitled "The Latin American
      Guerrilla Today."


      But none of this concern over Uruguay could be discerned from the State
      Department's official history of U.S. policy towards the region. A July 10,
      2009 State Department press release announcing the publication of the latest
      online volume of the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) on
      American Republics, 1969-1972, mentioned almost every Latin American country
      except for Uruguay.


      The original Preface of the new FRUS volume made the peculiar assertion
      that: "Due to space constraints, relations with... Uruguay... are not
      covered here."


      This assertion is doubly strange since the new FRUS volume was only
      published online, not in hardcopy, so that "space constraints" are hardly a

      By excluding the rather intense U.S. policy focus on Uruguay, the latest
      FRUS volume was not just practicing bad history, it may also have been
      committing a violation of the law, which requires that FRUS be "thorough,
      accurate, and reliable."

      The State Department did not respond to half a dozen inquiries over a
      two-week period regarding the decision to exclude Uruguay from the official
      history of the region or the nature of the supposed "space constraints."
      The State Department's Historical Advisory Committee did reply that it was
      unfamiliar with the issue.

      But in a brief email message on July 30, FRUS Acting General Editor Dr.
      William B. McAllister wrote: "We have revised the Preface. This should
      clarify the situation." The revised Preface to the new FRUS volume now
      states that a chapter on Uruguay "will be added" following completion of the
      declassification process. The newly revised Table of Contents includes a
      placeholder listing for Uruguay. There is no indication of what records may
      be declassified, or when they might become available.


      Today, the Frente Amplio coalition whose rise alarmed the Nixon
      Administration leads the government of Uruguay.


      In May 2001, CIA officer Franz Boening submitted a memorandum to the Agency
      Inspector General alleging that the CIA's relationship with disgraced
      Peruvian intelligence official Vladimiro Lenin Montesinos may have involved
      violations of U.S. law.

      There is no evidence that the CIA Inspector General ever took any action in
      response to Mr. Boening's memorandum, which was presented as a whistleblower
      complaint. CIA classification officials, however, responded quickly and
      energetically -- to silence him. Information contained in the Boening
      whistleblower complaint is classified, declared CIA information review
      officer Ralph S. DiMaio, and its disclosure "reasonably could be expected to
      cause damage to national security."

      Pursuant to the non-disclosure agreement that Mr. Boening had signed upon
      employment at CIA, Agency officials forbade him from publicly revealing his
      allegations, though he said they were based on published news reports and
      other open sources. And CIA classified most of the substance of his 2001
      complaint, including even (or especially) the name of Montesinos. What
      remained following the redaction process is here:


      With the assistance of attorney Mark S. Zaid, Mr. Boening went to court to
      challenge the Agency's censorship of his allegations as an unlawful act of
      prior restraint. Eight years after submitting the document, he emerged more
      or less victorious, as the CIA withdrew most of its objections, and
      permitted publication of the 2001 whistleblower complaint regarding
      Montesinos with only a few remaining redactions.


      Mr. Boening is still obliged to comply with his Agency nondisclosure
      obligations, advised R. Puhl, the chairman of the CIA Publications Review
      Board, and he must seek a new Agency review if he wishes to make any changes
      at all to the newly authorized text, including any deletions of material.

      "If you add or delete material to or otherwise change the text the Board has
      approved for publication, you must submit these additions, deletions, or
      changes to us before giving them to your publisher or anyone else," Mr. Puhl
      wrote in a February 13, 2009 letter.


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

      See also "Reducing Government Secrecy: Finding What Works" by Steven
      Aftergood, Yale Law and Policy Review, vol. 27, no. 2, Spring 2009:

      The Secrecy News Blog is at:

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      Steven Aftergood
      Project on Government Secrecy
      Federation of American Scientists
      web: www.fas.org/sgp/index.html
      email: saftergood@...
      voice: (202) 454-4691
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