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organizations in the United States, and not a word of it got into public.
Mrs. SCHROEDER. So it would be fair to characterize it that no one is aware of any documentation of secrecy being broken on that type of thing?
Mr. BRINKLEY. None that I know of, Congresswoman.
Mr. JOYCE. That is my understanding.
Mrs. SCHROEDER. My next question concerns the security of the newspeople. I guess what I want to know is what do you demand from the military when you are going in. Suppose you had been notified ahead of time, and they were going to let you in, and assuming you kept the secret. What would you demand? Would you demand extra ships or planes for your cameras? Do they do it at their expense or your expense? What do you require?
It almost sounds like a day care operation from the way they are trying to characterize it. Is that what it is? Do you require special troops to protect you?
Mr. BRINKLEY. The only services we, in these circumstances, require of the military are those we are physically or otherwise unable to provide for ourselves. Everything possible is done at our expense, not theirs.
When, in the case of Grenada, there is no commercial air service and no boats are available, the only way to get there is with military help. If they want to charge us for it, fine. We are happy to pay it. We are looking for no handouts.
Mrs. SCHROEDER. Mr. Joyce, would you pay the bill if they charge you?
Mr. JOYCE. Of course we would. Indeed, we pay our share of Air Force One when the press uses Air Force One.
We had literally minutes away from Grenada a sizable contingent of our people on Barbados. We would have
Mrs. SCHROEDER. And they paid to get there on their own?
Mr. JOYCE. Yes, they did.
If the military had been unable to fly them in, we, with a charter airplane, would have taken them in. We would have taken them in by boat. We have reporters who would have paddled to get there. Mrs. SCHROEDER. Would you have made them stop and put phones in for you on Grenada?
Mr. JOYCE. Phones? If they can do that, fine. I don't think we need to place the burden on the military to provide facilities for us. We ought to be in the business of providing our own facilities.
Mrs. SCHROEDER. Has anybody in the press ever sued the military for not providing adequate protection? Do they ask to be protected personally? Is it like secret service?
Mr. BRINKLEY. No way. No one in the press has ever sued the military. I have never heard of such a thing.
Mr. JOYCE. No.
Mrs. SCHROEDER. So actually asking for personal security is not something you do? You figure you were there
Mr. CHANCELLOR. Congresswoman, you sign a waiver when you go into a combat zone if you are going in with the troops of any government, and this is standard operating procedure all over the world, and, indeed, on just about every police press pass that reporters carry it says somewhere on there that you absolve that
police department from any responsibility for injuries you may have while you are behind their lines, and that applies to the military, and it applies in every combat situation.
We waive our rights automatically, and they are taken up by our own news organizations.
Mr. JOYCE. Each of us represents news organizations who have lost people in battle, and the military has never had that kind of a problem.
Mrs. SCHROEDER. You as the corporation carry life insurance or whatever?
Mr. JOYCE. We do, indeed.
Mrs. SCHROEDER. And so that is how you pick it up?
Mr. JOYCE. And we carry special casualty insurance for people who do that line of work.
Mrs. SCHROEDER. And lastly on the Government action question that a prior Congressman asked about, there are some things we could do about the prior restraint things and the lie detector things, I think, that we could pass in the House, probably not in re Grenada itself, but
Mr. ABRAMS. Yes, Congresswoman, I think there are lots of things you could do. You could emulate what the Senate did and have a rider on the appropriations bill, and that would have some real immediate, genuine, and lasting effect.
Mrs. SCHROEDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. Does the gentleman from Kentucky have any questions?
I wish to acknowledge his presence.
I have just one question of Mr. Abrams; that is, we have heard a great deal this morning about the experience, information problem. Can you relate this in terms of a larger experience and whether or not you see this as any part of the pattern or should we see it only as an isolated event?
Mr. ABRAMS. I have two observations, Congressman. First, I think we have to recognize the uniqueness of this country in terms of our dedication to an open society and to information being made available to the public generally. Not only are we different from the states that don't share our dedication to a free society, but we are different from Western European states in the degree of our dedication to first amendment principles, to use the shorthand word.
That being said, I do see this as part of a broader pattern of behavior. It is my view that in a series of events in recent years-an article that I wrote in the New York Times did deal with the Reagan administration-that when you look at the totality of behavior with respect to the changes in the classification system, changes which were proposed for the Freedom of Information Act, and the new secrecy agreement, and the use of the McCarranWalter Act, and a variety of other things, that there has been a change, in my view, in governmental action, and that there has been a new mindset about this which is different in quality and nature than has existed before.
We have had administrations before which have, in my view at least, misused the McCarran Act, and in my view at least, proposed legislation inconsistent with the first amendment, but I don't recall
one which has so consistently acted in a fashion inconsistent wi the public right to information and which has a policy which or can talk about in so many areas which are inconsistent with th right and with that need.
And so I do, for myself, view the episode with respect to Grenad as part of a larger discernible pattern of behavior and thinking. Mr. KASTENMEIER. Thank you, Mr. Abrams. I want to thank th panel and the committee
Mr. MORRISON. Mr. Chairman, would the chairman yield for jus a question to the chairman?
Mr. KASTENMEIER. Yes.
Mr. MORRISON. I think that the information from this panel ha been very helpful, but I am concerned that at the moment on ou schedule we don't have appearances by anyone in the administra tion, particularly the Secretary of Defense or others, who made the decisions about the Grenada coverage, and frankly, I find what we hear from the news organizations to be quite persuasive on the point that persuades me that there are a lot of questions that ought to be directed back at the Secretary of Defense and others, and I would hope we might include that in short order.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. The gentleman's inquiry is very timely. I would like to take that matter up with my colleagues, Mr. Moorhead and others, and if we can agree on other witnesses on this and other subjects who would perhaps present a different perspective, that would be fine.
Mr. MORRISON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. We will work with the minority on that.
I would like to thank you, Mr. Joyce, Mr. Chancellor, Mr. Brinkley, and Mr. Abrams, for your contributions today. The committee is indebted to you.
Thank you very much.
We have one other panel today. Originally we had hoped for three panels. We had hoped that Mr. Harrison E. Salisbury could come, however, he was not able to be here.
We do have two individuals, Mr. Ralph W. McGehee, who is the author of a book entitled "Deadly Deceits"; and Mr. James Bamford, author of "The Puzzle Palace."
Mr. Bamford holds a law degree and is a writer and lecturer. Both have had extensive experience with national security agencies; in Mr. Bamford's case, the National Security Agency, and in Mr. McGehee's case, the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr. McGehee has challenged the classification censorship system in a suit which was recently decided by the court of appeals for the district circuit in favor of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Both of these gentlemen have personal experience with Government policies, and we are pleased to have them here.
Mr. Bamford, would you proceed with your statement?
TESTIMONY OF JAMES BAMFORD, AUTHOR OF "THE PUZZLE PALACE"; AND RALPH W. McGEHEE, FORMER CIA OFFICER, AUTHOR OF "DEADLY DECEITS"
Mr. BAMFORD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I welcome your invitation to address the committee today on the issue of Government restrictions on access to information and, in particular, on how these restrictions have affected the publication of my recent book on the National Security Agency, "The Puzzle Palace."
"The Puzzle Palace" may be the only book in history to have been totally unclassified as it was being written, yet top secret by the time it was published. And the reason for this "Alice in Wonderland" situation is the little known yet potentially sinister policy of reclassification.
The recent actions which the NSA took, which I shall discuss below, are best understood when one considers the Agency's historical obsession with secrecy. Unlike the CIA, which was formed openly through Congress with the passage of the National Security Act of 1947, the NSA was formed in total secrecy by a seven-page Presidential memorandum signed by Harry Truman in 1952 and which even today is still top secret.
For much of NSA's first decade, its very name and its very existence was considered classified information. It was only revealed in 1958 as a result of a spy scandal.
Shortly after the NSA became publicly known, NSA officials succeeded in slipping through Congress an extraordinary provision which permits the Agency to nearly deny its own existence and today makes it virtually immune from the Freedom of Information Act.
This little known subsection of an obscure NSA employment authorization bill, Public Law 86-36, provides:
Nothing in this act or any other law shall be construed to require the disclosure of the organization or any function of the National Security Agency, or any infor mation with respect to the activities thereof or of the names, tities, salaries, or number of the persons employed by such agency.
Just to briefly give you a description of the actions that the NSA took, in terms of my book, first of all, I had never worked for NSA. I am an independent writer. I basically a writer with a law degree who does research.
The first action that the NSA took, took place when I was doing research for the book. I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Justice Department for some documents dealing with illegal NSA activities. This was under the Carter administration that I requested the material.
The material, after a 10-month review, was released to me, yet 2 years later, once the Reagan administration came into office, they demanded that I give these very same documents back to the Gov
I refused to give the documents back to the Government and, as a result, had several meetings in Washington and Boston with NSA and Justice Department officials. At one point they threatened to use the espionage statute against me if I continued to refuse to return the documents.
Again, these were documents that the previous administration saw fit, after 10 months of review, to release.
I continued to refuse to give the documents back to the Government and used the documents in my book. The end result was that the Reagan administration changed the law. The law originally
said once a document had been declassified it can't be reclassified Well, the Reagan administration, in April of 1982, changed the law to say once a document has been declassified it can be reclassified Mr. SAWYER. Mr. Chairman, could I just interrupt for a question? Mr. KASTENMEIER. Yes; sure.
Mr. SAWYER. When you say the Reagan administration changed the law, how did they change the law?
Mr. BAMFORD. I am sorry. They actually changed the Executive order. They didn't change the law. They changed the Executive order.
Mr. SAWYER. Thank you. I yield back.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. Fine.
Mr. BAMFORD. The second instance took place actually after the book came out. What happened was that the NSA had never had a chance to review the book beforehand, since I never was under any obligation to submit the book to NSA for review.
Well, once they obtained a copy of the book they used the footnotes in the back of the book, and they went to one of the libraries which I had used extensively for documents. It was the George C. Marshall Research Library in Virginia.
They went down to the library and, again using the footnotes in my book, they began pulling off documents and papers that I had quoted from, from the library, from actually the shelves of the library, and began stamping those documents secret and ordering that the documents be locked into a vault.
Again, this was the first time the Government had ever done something of this nature, and it was done under the theory of reclassification.
The incident at the George C. Marshall Library was rather bizarre, since the information that they were pulling off the shelves and stamping secret was already quoted in more than 150,000 copies of my book, and it was material that had for almost two or three decades remained unclassified on the library shelves.
Just to conclude, I think that one of the most frightening aspects of the Reagan administration's war on words is the policy of reclassification. It would be total anarchy for historians and scholars who frequently spend years doing their research that if one administration would be permitted to recall history by forcing these people to return materials released by a previous administration. About 350 years ago, Cardinal de Richelieu declared the principle under which the Reagan administration today is operating, and that is, "Secrecy is the first essential in the affairs of state." I think that is a sad commentary.
[The complete statement follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JAMES BAMFORD
Mr. Chairman, I welcome your invitation to address the committee today on the issue of government restrictions on access to information and, in particular, how these restrictions have affected the publication of my recent book on the National Security Agency, The Puzzle Palace.
The Puzzle Palace may be the only book in history to have been totally unclassified as it was being written, yet top secret by the time it was published. The reason for this Alice-in-Wonderland situation is the little known yet potentially sinister policy of reclassification.