[govinfo] GovInfo News 1-12-07

  • From: "Patrice McDermott" <pmcdermott@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "e-gov@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <e-gov@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "FOI-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" <FOI-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2007 14:48:02 -0500

- Leak Probes Stymied, FBI Memos Show
- Peacock Says He's Backing Off On EPA Library Closures - Congress Says "Show 
-Top 10 Court Web Site Awards Announced for 2006
- Senator Collins Introduces Resolution Reaffirming Constitutional Protections 
of Sealed Mail

Patrice McDermott, Director
202-332-OPEN (6736)


BY JOSH GERSTEIN - Staff Reporter of the Sun
January 10, 2007

URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/46407
A lack of cooperation from one or more intelligence agencies led the FBI to 
abandon several recent criminal investigations into leaks of classified 
information to the press, records obtained by The New York Sun indicate.

In January 2005, a top FBI official asked the Justice Department to close three 
pending leak inquiries because the "victim agency" repeatedly refused to assist 
the probes. The FBI's contact at the agency "has been uncooperative with the 
investigating field office and on numerous occasions failed to return phone 
calls or provide the case agent with requested documents pertinent to the 
investigation," the memo said, adding that the agency "cancelled personnel 
interviews, security briefings and meetings at the last minute and failed to 
reschedule for another time."

"None of the cases can proceed without the cooperation of the substantive unit 
at the victim agency, therefore the FBI considers all logical leads covered," 
the FBI official wrote. Within days or weeks, the cases were closed.

The memo, which was among more than 300 pages of leak investigation files 
released to the Sun this week under the Freedom of Information Act, was heavily 
redacted by the FBI, which removed the name of the writer, the identity of the 
intelligence agency involved, and nearly all details about the alleged leaks.

The documents provide a rare window into the Bush administration's effort to 
combat leaks of classified information that the administration has said are 
damaging national security in wartime. "At some point in time, it would be 
helpful if we can find somebody inside our government who is leaking materials, 
clearly against the law, that they be held to account," the president said at a 
press conference last month. "Perhaps the best way to make sure people don't 
leak classified documents is that there be a consequence for doing so."

However the records suggest that reticence on the part of intelligence agencies 
sometimes contributes to the futility of leak probes, and that, at least when 
it comes to leak investigations, the much-vaunted full cooperation between the 
FBI and other intelligence agencies after September 11 has yet to come to 
fruition. "It turns out you never can find the leaker," Mr. Bush lamented.

Read the documents here.

SEJ WatchDog TipSheet
Publication date: Jan. 10, 2007
After failing to convince many in a Dec. 11 press call that EPA library 
closures were merely a digital upgrade, Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock 
assured some members of Congress a week later that the closures were being put 
on hold until Congress had a chance to review them.
That left the matter unresolved - as Congress has yet to pass the budget cut on 
which Peacock is purportedly basing the library closures. EPA's headquarters 
library is already closed. The Government Accountability Office is conducting 
an investigation into the library closures.
Meanwhile, a newly published background paper by the Congressional Research 
Service seems to back up the contention of closure critics who say the agency 
has no real plan for preserving unique and valuable documents, making documents 
available to users in the meantime, or accounting for the alleged savings.
"Oberstar Succeeds in Preserving EPA Library Access," Business North (Oberstar 
press release reprint), Dec. 26, 2006.
"Restructuring EPA's Libraries: Background and Issues for Congress," 
Congressional Research Service, Order Code RS22533, Updated January 3, 2007, by 
David M. Bearden and Robert Esworthy.
SEJ WatchDog TipSheet
Publication date: Jan. 10, 2007

Racing to head off media disclosures of massive safety and security lapses at 
chemical plants and in hazmat transportation, the Department of Homeland 
Security (DHS) in December swept much of the information up in a regulatory 
effort to keep it in the dark.
Two things happened.
First, DHS hastily issued a proposed rule Dec. 15, 2006, purporting to tighten 
security around shipments of hazardous materials via rail. The proposed rule, 
Congressional critics said, would not do enough to protect densely populated 
urban areas from release of toxic gases like chlorine, which is carried in 
strings of unattended tanker cars which are often left unguarded at sidings. 
Many cities want such shipments rerouted around cities - but DHS and the 
railroads have refused. The proposed rule would make secret many kinds of 
information - most visible to the naked eye in any railyard - not only about 
rail hazmat vulnerabilities, but also about failures of the companies and the 
DHS to correct them. The deadline for comments on the proposal is February 20, 
Second, DHS on Dec. 22, 2006, proposed regulations implementing a chemical 
security bill passed by Congress in 2006. The notice of proposed rulemaking was 
published in the Dec. 28 Federal Register. The proposed regulations would 
prohibit disclosure of vulnerability analyses and security plans for chemical 
facilities, along with a wide range of other information - including 
practically anything the Homeland Security Secretary wanted to stamp secret. 
The deadline for comments on that proposal is February 7, 2007.
DHS Release of Dec. 15, 2006.
DHS Release of Dec. 22, 2006.
"Proposed Rule: Rail Transportation Security," Transportation Security 
Administration (DHS), Federal Register, Dec. 21, 2006, pages 76851-76888.
"Proposed Rule: Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards," Department of 
Homeland Security, Federal Register, December 28, 2006, pages 78275-78332.
The Justice Served 2006 Top 10 Court Website Award winners 
(http://justiceserved.com/top10sites.cfm )
(Thanks to Sabrina Pacifici bspacific.com)

Collins calls on White House to clarify postal reform signing statement

January 10, 2007
Washington, DC -

Senator Susan Collins today introduced a bipartisan resolution reaffirming that 
both federal law and the Constitution protect sealed domestic mail from being 
searched.  The resolution is in response to a signing statement that the White 
House issued in conjunction with the signing of the Collins/Carper postal 
reform legislation.

In a speech before the U.S. Senate, Senator Collins explained that following 
the singing of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, the White House 
issued a statement that resulted in confusion about the Administration's 
commitment to abide by the basic privacy protections afforded sealed domestic 

Senator Collins said, "I want to be perfectly clear: Nothing in the Postal 
Reform Act, nor the President's signing statement alters the privacy and civil 
liberties protections provided to a person who sends or receives sealed mail.  
Mail sealed against inspection is entitled to the strongest possible 
protections against physical searches.  With only very limited exceptions, the 
government needs a court-issued warrant before it can search mail."

Last week, Senator Collins called on the White House to clarify its intent with 
the recent bill signing statement.



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