NEWS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
Issue 109, May 2005

Table of Contents


  1. Surprise: Administration Withholding More Information From Public
  2. Defense Doctrine Web Site Goes Dark
  3. Patterns of Global Terrorism in the News
  4. MyPyramid
  5. Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler
  6. Final Word on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction
  7. Reducing Patent Backlog Could Take Years
  8. Cheney Lawsuit Settled; Government Does Not Have to Reveal Participants
  9. Full Report on Overseas Bases Restored to Web
  10. First Online Congressional Hearing?
  11. Deep Throat Unveiled
  12. "Constitution Day" in the News
  13. Say No to New PATRIOT Spying Powers
  14. Librarian's Brush with FBI Shapes Her View of the USA Patriot Act
  15. Future Digital Systems (FDsys) Documents
  16. USGS Web Page Updated


(1) Surprise: Administration Withholding More Information From Public

Executive branch agencies kept more information from the public in 2004 than at any time in the last decade, according to a new report on government classification.

Agencies made about 15.6 million decisions in 2004 to withhold information from the public, which was an increase of 10 percent from the previous year, the Information Security Oversight Office said in its annual report to the president. Classification activity has gradually increased every year since 1996, dropping only once between 2000 and 2001. Statistics in the report date back only to 1996.

The report does not, however, conclude that agencies are improperly rushing to classify information, explaining that heightened classification activity appears to be driven by the ongoing war on terror and military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For the full story by Chris Strohm, GovExec.com Daily Briefing, April 7, 2005, see http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0405/040705c1.htm.

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(2) Defense Doctrine Web Site Goes Dark

A large portion of a major Department of Defense web site was taken offline overnight after unclassified documents on the site became the subject of news stories and public controversy.

The Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) Joint Electronic Library, including hundreds or thousands of doctrinal and other publications, has been replaced by a single page that reads "File Not Found" (http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/).

One of those publications was a draft entitled "Joint Doctrine for Detainee Operations" (JP 3-63) that was circulated by Human Rights Watch and others and that was widely and critically reported in the press today.

Another was a draft "Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations" (JP 3-12), that was spotlighted and cleverly analyzed by Jeffrey Lewis of ArmsControlWonk.com earlier this week.

In response, the Defense Department removed those draft documents, but also many hundreds of others. A DTIC spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

A selection of DoD Joint Publications and other doctrinal documents previously available through DTIC remains available on the FAS web site here: http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/index.html.

Source: Secrecy News, via GOVDOC-L, April 11, 2005.

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(3) Patterns of Global Terrorism in the News

The State Department will stop releasing an annual report on terrorist incidents (Patterns of Global Terrorism) worldwide, saying Monday that a new federal office for counter-terrorism (National Counterterrorism Center) would take over the task of compiling the statistics.

State Department officials explained the change as a technical move. But a longtime U.S. counter-terrorism expert now working outside the government said the decision came amid significant increases in the number of terrorist incidents reported worldwide in 2004 and represents an attempt by the State Department to unload a political problem onto a new government office.

"They didn't want to have to explain to the press why they're 'winning' the war on terror, but the numbers are the highest ever in the 37 years since they've been reporting the data," said Larry C. Johnson, a former CIA and State Department counter- terrorism official. "If terrorist incidents had dropped 50%, do you think they'd be eliminating the report?"

According to Johnson, the number of terrorist attacks classified as "significant incidents" rose from 175 in 2003 to 655 in 2004. Of those, 325 attacks took place in Kashmir, at the center of a dispute between India and Pakistan, while 191 were attacks on foreign citizens in Iraq, including aid workers and U.S. civilians.

The Iraq figure does not include terrorist attacks that harmed only Iraqis, or attacks on U.S. military personnel in Iraq. A "significant incident" is defined by the government as an attack involving individuals from at least two countries in which at least one person is killed, wounded or kidnapped, or in which property damages total more than $10,000.

The State Department has been keeping such statistics since 1968. Last year, the department was embarrassed when it initially reported a steep decline in terrorism, then had to correct the report after Johnson detected the error. The final version showed that the number of people killed or injured in terrorist attacks had more than doubled over the previous year. Bush Administration officials at the time said the error had been statistical and not caused by any political attempt to manipulate the data.

Johnson agreed. "Last year, it was an act of stupidity," he said Monday. "This year it's an act of politics."

Source: Article by Sonni Efron and Paul Richter, Times Staff Writers, Los Angeles Times, April 19, 2005.

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(4) MyPyramid

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today unveiled MyPyramid, a new symbol and interactive food guidance system. “Steps to a Healthier You,” MyPyramid’s central message, supports President Bush’s HealthierUS initiative which is designed to help Americans live longer, better and healthier lives. MyPyramid, which replaces the Food Guide Pyramid introduced in 1992, is part of an overall food guidance system that emphasizes the need for a more individualized approach to improving diet and lifestyle.

“MyPyramid is about the ability of Americans to personalize their approach when choosing a healthier lifestyle that balances nutrition and exercise,” said Johanns. “Many Americans can dramatically improve their overall health by making modest improvements to their diets and by incorporating regular physical activity into their daily lives.”

MyPyramid incorporates recommendations from the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which was released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in January. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide authoritative advice for people two years of age and older about how proper dietary habits can promote health and reduce the risk of major chronic diseases. MyPyramid was developed to carry the messages of the dietary guidelines and to make Americans aware of the vital health benefits of simple and modest improvements in nutrition, physical activity and lifestyle behavior.

The MyPyramid symbol, which is deliberately simple, is meant to encourage consumers to make healthier food choices and to be active every day. Consumers can get more in-depth information from the new Web site, MyPyramid.gov, so that they can make these choices to fit their own needs.

The MyPyramid symbol represents the recommended proportion of foods from each food group and focuses on the importance of making smart food choices in every food group, every day. Physical activity is a new element in the symbol.

MyPyramid illustrates:

The new food guidance system utilizes interactive technology found on MyPyramid.gov. MyPyramid contains interactive activities that make it easy for individuals to key in their age, gender and physical activity level so that they can get a more personalized recommendation on their daily calorie level based on the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It also allows individuals to find general food guidance and suggestions for making smart choices from each food group.

MyPyramid.gov features:

Future enhancements to MyPyramid.gov will include features that make it possible for consumers to make specific food choices by group, look at everyday portions of favorite foods and adjust their choices to meet their daily needs.

A child-friendly version of MyPyramid for teachers and children is being developed. This version of MyPyramid is intended to reach children 6 to 11 years old with targeted messages about the importance of making smart eating and physical activity choices. Additional information about USDA’s MyPyramid is available at MyPyramid.gov. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and consumer brochure are available at http://www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines.

Source: Press Release, April 19, 2005.

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(5) Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler

You never know what kind of rare government document is gathering dust in your vaults. Here's an interesting tidbit describing an OSS document found in the Donovan Nuremberg Trials Collection at Cornell Law Library. The Donovan Nuremberg Trials collection consists of nearly 150 bound volumes of Nuremberg trial transcripts and documents from the personal archives of General William J. Donovan (1883-1959).

In 1943, the Allied forces wanted to understand Hitler's psychological makeup in order to predict, to the extent possible, his behavior as the Allies continued their prosecution of the war and his response to Germany's defeat. The Allies were also seeking to understand the German national psyche to gain an understanding of how to convert them into a "peace-loving nation."

This report was written for the Office of Strategic Services by Dr. Henry A. Murray, pre-war Director of the Harvard Psychological Clinic. Dr. Murray obviously was forced by circumstances to psychoanalyze his subject from a distance. He gathered information from a variety of second-hand sources, such as Hitler's genealogy; school and military records; public reports of events in print and on film; OSS information; Hitler's own writings, Hitler biographers; and "Hitler the Man - Notes for a Case History," an article written by W.H.D. Vernon under Dr. Murray's supervision. From these resources and his "needs theory" of personality, Dr. Murray created a psychological profile that correctly predicted the Nazi leader's suicide in the face of Germany's defeat.

Note: The Office of Strategic Studies was a predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency.

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(6) Final Word on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction

In his final word, the CIA’s top weapons inspector in Iraq said Monday that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction has “gone as far as feasible” and has found nothing, closing an investigation into the purported programs of Saddam Hussein that were used to justify the 2003 invasion.

Of course, they’ve been wrong before … See http://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd/Iraq_Oct_2002.htm.

Courtesy of "CIA: Sorry, Still No WMD In Iraq", Sploid, April 26, 2005.

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(7) Reducing Patent Backlog Could Take Years

Reducing a backlog of hundreds of thousands of pending patent applications could take several years, despite a budget boost that has enabled the Patent and Trademark Office to hire a record number of examiners this year, PTO director Jon Dudas said Monday.

"The current backlog is about 490,000 applications—the highest ever," Dudas said during a Senate Judiciary Intellectual Property Subcommittee hearing on overhauling the patent system.

Dudas said PTO has received a record number of patent applications every year for the past 20 years, but did not begin hiring in record numbers until this year.

Full story: Molly M. Peterson, CongressDaily, via GovExec.com Today, April 27, 2005.

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(8) Cheney Lawsuit Settled; Government Does Not Have to Reveal Participants

"A U.S. appeals court threw out a lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday and ruled that he was free to meet in secret with energy industry lobbyists in 2001 while drawing up the president's energy policy," the Chicago Tribune reports. "The unanimous ruling all but ends a four-year legal battle over Cheney's task force, one that drew in the Supreme Court and Justice Antonin Scalia. It comes as Congress weighs energy legislation that" Bush "says will combine efficiency with environmental protection, and that his critics say is a gift to the energy industry." "Court upholds secrecy for Cheney's energy task force", Chicago Tribune, May 11, 2005.

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(9) Full Report on Overseas Bases Restored to Web

The full text of the report of the Overseas Basing Commission, which was removed from a government web site after the Department of Defense said it contained classified information, is now available on the FAS web site.

The partial version of the report described in Secrecy News yesterday included only 92 of the report's 262 pages, and lacked several of the detailed appendices.

The full 262 page report was obtained from InsideDefense.com. It is available (at the same URL given yesterday) here: http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/dod/obc.pdf.

According to press accounts, one of the disputed passages that led the Pentagon to demand withdrawal of the report from the web was a reference to ongoing negotiations over U.S. bases in Bulgaria and Romania.

"While formal negotiations with either Bulgaria or Romania have not yet been finalized, DOD has funded a small portion of the costs to build facilities at these locations," the Commission report stated on page M5. A footnote indicates that "exact funding data is classified" and did not reveal such data, but the Pentagon reportedly opposed any mention of the matter.

Official data on deployment of U.S. military personnel around the world, including Bulgaria and Romania, may be found on a Defense Department web site here: http://www.dior.whs.mil/mmid/military/miltop.htm.

Source: Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News, May 20, 2005, published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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(10) First Online Congressional Hearing?

"Welcome to a major innovation in the United States House of Representatives: the first Online Congressional Hearing – using technology to allow expert witnesses, affected Americans and Members of Congress to discuss a high priority issue without the delay, expense and time restrictions of a traditional hearing.

By employing email and the Internet, we can hold a hearing at any time, on any subject; we can invite the most well-informed participants regardless of their ability to travel or the congressional schedule. The Online Congressional Hearing is an important information gathering innovation that will allow more Americans, and the news media, to participate in the public debate on high priority issues facing Americans."

For more information, see http://edworkforce.house.gov/democrats/unitedhearing.html.

Source: GOVDOC-L, May 25, 2005.

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(11) Deep Throat Unveiled

Some of you may be too young to remember Watergate, so indulge the old timers....

The Washington Post confirmed that W. Mark Felt, a former number-two official at the FBI, was "Deep Throat," the secretive source who provided information that helped unravel the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s and contributed to the resignation of president Richard M. Nixon.

The confirmation came from Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the two Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate story, and their former top editor, Benjamin C. Bradlee. The three spoke after Felt's family and Vanity Fair magazine identified the 91-year-old Felt, now a retiree in California, as the long-anonymous source who provided crucial guidance for some of the newspaper's groundbreaking Watergate stories.

Source: "Washington Post Confirms Felt Was 'Deep Throat'", William Branigin and David Von Drehle, Washington Post, May 31, 2005.

For more information, take a look at article that will appear in the July 2005 issue of Vanity Fair.

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(12) "Constitution Day" in the News

In an effort to comply with a statutory provision inserted in the final federal spending bill for FY 2005, on 24 May 2005, the Department of Education (ED) issued guidelines that directs all educational institutions -- colleges ("institutions of higher education") as well as elementary and secondary schools ("local educational agencies") -- that receive federal dollars, to offer students instruction on the U.S. Constitution every 17 September. The guidelines appeared in the 24 May edition of the Federal Register (see vol. 70, No. 99 p. 29727).

The guidelines stop short of requiring that a specific curriculum be taught; rather, they give educational institutions considerable latitude in compliance. For example, institutions may hold a campus-wide assembly, others may opt to merely distribute information in classes. Compliance will be on the "honor-system" as there are no plans to monitor compliance, and according to department officials, "it is too soon to speculate" what might happen if an institution did not comply with the requirement.

The guidelines state that should 17 September fall on a weekend or holiday, the Constitution Day event is to be held "during the preceding or following week."

Some academics and conservative groups remain concerned the Constitution teaching mandate establishes a dangerous precedent for Congress in setting curriculum requirements. According to Becky Timmons, director of government relations at the American Council on Education, "our members find it [the provision] intrusive". Conservative groups, while they seek to advance patriotism and better American history curriculum, nevertheless, also criticized the provision citing the same concern.

For further information, contact Alex Stein, U.S. Department of Education at (202) 895-9085 or at Alex.Stein@ed.gov.

Source: Bruce Craig, NCH Washington Update, Vol. 11, No. 25, June 2, 2005.

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(13) Say No to New PATRIOT Spying Powers

The Senate Intelligence Committee is currently considering a draft bill that would not only renew the USA PATRIOT Act's worst provisions, but would also expand the government's power to secretly demand the private records of people who aren't suspected of any crime - without a judge's approval.

The Justice Department already has dangerously broad subpoena powers under the USA PATRIOT Act. PATRIOT Section 215 allows intelligence investigators to demand all kinds of private records about citizens who aren't suspected of spying or terrorism. PATRIOT Section 505, meanwhile, expanded the government's ability to use "National Security Letters" to secretly obtain data on private online and financial activities without court oversight or probable cause.

The new bill not only makes these highly controversial provisions permanent, it marries the worst aspects of the two, allowing new "administrative subpoenas" in national security cases that would let the government secretly demand all types of records without a judge's permission.

The Justice Department tried to get this super-charged subpoena power inserted into PATRIOT back in 2001. But even in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Congress refused to allow this kind of unchecked surveillance power.

If you are a resident of Kansas, Utah, Ohio, Missouri, Maine, Nebraska, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, Michigan, California, Oregon, Indiana, Maryland, or New Jersey, your senator is on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Contact them and let them know how you feel!

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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(14) Librarian's Brush with FBI Shapes Her View of the USA Patriot Act

It was a moment that librarians had been dreading.

On June 8, 2004, an FBI agent stopped at the Deming branch of the Whatcom County Library System in northwest Washington and requested a list of the people who had borrowed a biography of Osama bin Laden. We said no.

We did not take this step lightly. First, our attorney called the local FBI office and asked why the information was important. She was told that one of our patrons had sent the FBI the book after discovering these words written in the margin: "If the things I'm doing is considered a crime, then let history be a witness that I am a criminal. Hostility toward America is a religious duty and we hope to be rewarded by God."

Check out the full article by Joan Airoldi, USA Today, May 17, 2005.

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(15) Future Digital Systems (FDsys) Documents

As discussed at the past two FDLP conferences, the Future Digital System (FDsys) currently under development by GPO will be a world-class information life-cycle management system that will transform GPO into a leadership content management agency. The system will be designed to accept, organize, manage and output authenticated content for any use or purpose and to preserve the content independent of specific hardware or software. For more information, please visit the Office of Innovation and New Technology's website at http://www.gpo.gov/projects/fdsys.htm.

Three documents regarding the FDsys are now electronically available in PDF format:

The Requirements Document (RD) defines preliminary requirements for the FDsys. These requirements will be refined and shaped based on feedback from user, technical, and vendor communities. RD version 1.0 is available at http://www.gpo.gov/projects/pdfs/FDsys_RD_v1.0.pdf.

The initial FDsys Concept of Operations (ConOps) document was released in October 2004. ConOps documents are designed to describe the high-level user requirements of a system, as well as general system capabilities. In order to remain consistent with the FDsys Requirements Document, the FDsys ConOps has been updated to version 2.0 and is available at http://www.gpo.gov/projects/pdfs/FDsys_ConOps_v2.0.pdf.

Completing the initial RD fulfilled Phase 3 of the FDsys project. An executive summary of Phase 3 is available at http://www.gpo.gov/projects/pdfs/Summary_Phase3.pdf. This document also outlines the activities required for future phases of the FDsys project.

Questions and comments are highly encouraged and should be submitted to the Office of Innovation and New Technology at int@gpo.gov by July 2, 2005.

Source: GOVDOC-L, June 2, 2005.

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(16) USGS Web Page Updated

In an effort to make our Web presence more robust and dynamic, the Office of Communications and Geographic Information Office are pleased to announce that we are launching a new USGS Homepage today. We have many exciting stories to tell and this new version brings science and information to the forefront.

As a use of our Web site, we wanted to call your attention to the following new features which we hope you will find useful.

  • Science in Your State - Serves as a gateway to USGS state-based information. While we are starting with this template, we plan to work with folks in the disciplines and regions to add additional information and broaden the scope of this effort.

  • Latest Publications - This feature is being dynamically driven directly from the USGS Pubs Warehouse as new publications are added.

  • Science Features - Provides an opportunity to feature projects, programs and activities and allow visitors to delve deeper into our science.

  • Real-Time Information - Provides easy access to information on earthquakes, water resources and volcanoes.

  • Geographic Information Systems - Allows greater access to some of our most prominent geospatial information and data.

  • Frequently Asked Questions - Is a dynamically driven from the FAQ database maintained by the Natural Sciences Network.

  • Fact of the Day - Provides an opportunity for visitors to learn fun facts about the USGS, earth and biological sciences.

  • About USGS - We have reorganized information featured in the previous About USGS, making it easier to learn more about who we are, what we do and how we are organized.

  • Science Topics - Provides visitors an alternative way to browse our many USGS science programs and activities. Users also have the option of using the traditional discipline avenue.

  • USGS Calendar - Features information about upcoming open houses, public lectures, conferences, tradeshows and other events taking place across the landscape.

  • Partnerships - This page is a temporary placeholder for a much more robust portal featuring information about USGS partnerships.

  • Newsroom - Provides a new look and feel to view the latest press releases and other information that may be of interest to the news media.

    Source: Hui Hua Chua, Michigan State University Libraries, GOVDOC-L, April 14, 2005.

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