NCC WASHINGTON UPDATE, Vol. 6, #43, December 7, 2000
by Bruce Craig <[log in to unmask]> of the National Coordinating Committee for
the Promotion of History

1.     Leak Provision Struck - Moynihan Declassification Bill Passes Senate
2.     Report: Secrecy in Government Symposium
3.     Advisory Committee on the Records of Congress Meets
4.     Appropriations Update: Lame Duck Session Limps On
5.     News Bits and Bytes: Rosa Parks Museum; Hoover Institution Library

On November 4, President Clinton vetoed the Intelligence Authorization Act of
2001 (H.R. 4932) because of the inclusion of Section 304, "Prohibition on
Unauthorized Disclosure of Classified Information" - the so-called "Leak
Statute" (See NCC WASHINGTON UPDATE, Vol. 6, #39, November 9, 2000).  In an
effort to get another version of the appropriation bill passed, on November
13, the House of Representatives removed the controversial statute that the
President stated that if enacted, would "chill legitimate activities that are
at the heart of a democracy" and passed a revised bill (See NCC WASHINGTON
UPDATE, Vol. 6, #40, November 17, 2000).  Shortly thereafter, various members
of the intelligence community approached Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL),
Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and suggested a
substitute leak measure. Shelby threaten to strike the Moynihan
declassification board provision when the Senate took up the bill if the
retiring New York Senator and his colleagues did not agree to the new leak
language. (See NCC WASHINGTON UPDATE, Vol. 6, #41, November 22, 2000).

Last week, Congressional staff and representatives of various groups
interested in advancing government declassification and openness met to
discuss the possible future of the Intelligence authorization bill.  Talks
focused on the proposed leak statute and the Moynihan declassification board
bill provisions.  The general consensus was that language in the draft Senate
bill that included the revised leak provision was still objectionable and
that it would be better to see the Moynihan provision not enacted this
session than to see an objectionable leak provision pass Congress.

Fortunately, on December 6, by unanimous consent, the Senate passed a version
of the Intelligence Authorization Act (H.R. 5630) that included the Moynihan
declassification board provision but not the leak statute.  The Senate did,
however, amend the bill by striking a section relating to contracting
authorities for the National Reconnaissance Office. Consequently, since bills
passed by the two houses of Congress must be identical to be enacted, the
Senate passed bill must now pass the House in order to become law.  House
consideration of the Senate bill now appears to be a scheduling issue, but
Capitol Hill insiders report "its doable." Since the Moynihan provision is in
both the House and Senate passed bills, enactment of the declassification
board seems more likely now than it did several weeks ago.

On December 5, over 250 people attended a one-day symposium entitled,
"Government Secrecy in a New Administration and a New Century." Sponsored by
the National Archive's Information Security Oversight Office and the James
Madison Project, the conference focused on secrecy and security
classification programs in the federal government.

The scheduled opening plenary speaker, White House Chief of Staff, John D.
Podesta, was unable to attend, but morning sessions did include presentations
by Representative Bob Barr (R-GA); John R. Tunheim, U.S. District Judge and
former Chairman of the U.S. Assassinations Records Review Board; Evan Thomas,
biographer of Robert Kennedy and Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek
magazine; Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, Professor of History at Georgetown
University; and R. James Woolsey, former Director of the CIA.

Most of the presentations echoed a similar theme - the need for structural
and legal reforms in the government's classification and declassification
programs. Journalist Evan Thomas pointed out that secrecy "tends to give rise
to conspiracy theories" and stated his belief that the public assumes secret
records contain much more "dirt than they than the records ever reveal." R.
James Woolsey stated his view that the passage of time alone should not be
the guiding principle for declassification decisions as there are "not just
direct but indirect risks" that regardless of the passage of time could
detrimentally impact agency sources and methods.

While the expectation of some attendees was that the symposium would be more
forward looking and focus on suggestions for a new administration, except for
one question posed to panel members at the end of the day, most of the
speakers did not specifically address this issue.  Judge Tunheim's
presentation, however, was an exception: He gave concrete suggestions for
legislative reform for records review and declassification boards. Dr. Nancy
Bernkopf Tucker also summarized reasons that she felt needed to be advanced
in order to bring reform in a new administration: the high cost of
classification programs verses lower cost declassification programs, the
inability of historians to write accurate history when only fragmentary
evidence (if that) is released, and that the "culture of secrecy" tends to
undermine governmental accountability.

The afternoon session was devoted to a panel comprised of prominent experts
who answered a number of pre-prepared questions posed by moderator Steven
Garfinkle, Director of the Information Security Oversight Office.  Each
presenter expressed diverse and sometimes controversial views on governmental
secrecy.  The session prompted lively discussion on several topics including
the controversial "Leak Statute" in the Intelligence Authorizations Act of
2000, declassification standards, the impact of partisanship on legislation,
and the Lee espionage case. All the speakers - Steven Aftergood of the
Federation of American Scientists, Professor Kenneth E. deGraffenreid of the
Institute of World Politics, Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz, Professor
Anna Nelson of the American University, Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, former
General Counsel for both the CIA and the National Security Agency, and Mark
Zaid, Executive Director of the James Madison Project - all distinguished
themselves in their candor, suggestions, and comments.

On December 4, the Advisory Committee on the Records of Congress met for
about an hour and a half to attend to various agenda items pending before
that body.  After opening remarks by Secretary of the Senate, Gary Sisco
(Chair), and Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, Jeff Trandahl
(Vice-Chair), Archivist of the United States, John Carlin, addressed the
group.  Carlin stated that progress was being made with the electronic
records project and he reported on the status of the Archives I renovation.
He stated that while the bulk of the $88 million appropriated for the
renovation is in the Treasury Department Appropriation bill for FY 2001 which
has yet to be enacted (Congress' failure to pass NARA's appropriation bill
has put the awarding of various renovation contracts on hold), Carlin stated
that some $12-13 million that was appropriated last year for "planning and
retrofitting offices" was being spent.

The Committee then heard an update report on the progress being made on the
350,000 square-foot Capitol Visitor Center.  NARA's Mike Gillette described
the forthcoming "blockbuster" 20,000 square-foot exhibit that will tell the
story of Congress through its documentary record.

The principal order of business for the Committee was to approve the final
revised draft of the "Third Report of the Advisory Committee on the Records
of Congress."  After some discussion and the addition of a few minor
revisions and technical corrections, the report was unanimously adopted by
the Committee. The expectation is that the report will be posted on the NARA
web-page in the near future and should be available in hard copy form in six
to eight weeks.

During the discussion of the Third Report, however, concern was expressed by
several members over the language relating to the "Century of Lawmaking for a
New Nation" project of the Library of Congress. This program brings together
online the records and acts of Congress from the "Journals of the Continental
Congress" through "The Congressional Globe" which ceased publication in 1873
when the Government Printing Office assumed publication of the proceedings of
Congress and the "Congressional Record" officially began.  Originally, the
on-line collection was to integrate additional documents and items from other
collections and develop a searchable text component, but some of these
aspects of the originally envisioned on-line collections project may not come
to fruition. Concern by the advisory body focused on the apparent decision
within the Library to scale-back the searchable text component. The Committee
agreed to write a letter to the Librarian of Congress, James Billington,
expressing the group's strong support for the "Century of Lawmaking" project
and urging the Librarian to find the funds to continue the project as
originally designed.

Shortly before lawmakers returned from their three-week time-out before
continuing their lame-duck session, President Clinton stated that passage of
the $40 billion education budget should be Congress's first priority.  On
December 4, President Clinton and congressional leaders met for 90 minutes
but made no decisions on how best to address the remaining Labor, Health and
Human Services and Education bill and three other budget measures and several
outstanding policy matters that face the lame-duck Congress. Insiders
described the meeting as "cordial" but "no decisions were made." However, all
sides agreed to see the legislative session wrapped up by the end of this
week. On December 6, a second meeting took place, and again little progress
was made.

Reportedly, in the first meeting, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) stated
he will "fight strongly" for a Continuing Resolution that would last through
October 1, 2001.  If DeLay's plan for "level funding" is adopted by Congress
one-quarter of the federal budget would experience cuts.  Most Hill analysts
consider that such an action would be "devastating" for certain federal
agencies. Representative Jim Kolbe (R-Arizona) who chairs the Treasury
Department appropriations committee (which oversees the National Archive's
budget) stated bluntly, "it's not going to happen." During the December 6
meeting, in order to get things moving again, President Clinton indicated
that he was willing to scale back his requests in the already agreed to
Department of Education appropriation by as much as $2 billion - no specifics
of where the cuts would come from were detailed. Discussions are expected to
continue through the week.

Item #1 - Rosa Parks Museum: Troy State University, Montgomery has dedicated
a $10 million library and interactive museum named for Civil Rights pioneer
Rosa Parks. Forty-five years ago Ms. Parks refused to give her seat up to a
white passenger when directed to by a Montgomery bus driver and was arrested.
 Her action prompted a 381-day boycott of Montgomery buses and eventually
lead to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that forced integration of the city's
transportation system. The new museum, erected near to the spot where Ms.
Parks defied authorities, provides a glimpse of life under segregation.
Displays include a bus that was in service in Montgomery at the time of
Park's arrest.

Item #2 - Hoover Library: The Chronicle of Higher Education reports
("Stanford U. Weighs a Plan to Fold Hoover Library Into Campus System"; Dec
6, 2000) that Stanford University has announced plans to merge its Hoover
Institution Library holdings into the campus wide system in September 2001,
thus raising concern among researchers as to the future of the 1.6
million-volume collection and its old-fashioned card catalogue which
researchers consider an invaluable tool. Collecting of archival and special
materials would continue by the Hoover Institution. Persons interested in
making their views known may write: Dr. John Etchemendy, Office of the
Provost, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305; Email address:
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