Thursday, July 29, 2010

Secrets? What Secrets....

From Secrecy News:


The release of some 90,000 classified records on the Afghanistan War by Wikileaks is the largest single unauthorized disclosure of currently classified records that has ever taken place, and it naturally raises many questions about information security, the politics of disclosure, and the possible impact on the future conduct of the war in Afghanistan.

But among those questions is this: Can the national security classification system be fixed before it breaks down altogether in a frenzy of uncontrolled leaks, renewed barriers against information dissemination, and a growing loss of confidence in the integrity of the system?

That the classification system needs fixing is beyond any doubt.

"I agree with you, sir," Gen. James R. Clapper, Jr., told Sen. Ron Wyden at his DNI confirmation hearing last week, "we do overclassify."

That makes it more or less unanimous. What has always been less clear is just what to do about the problem.

In what may be the last opportunity to systematically correct classification policy and to place it on a sound footing, the Obama Administration has ordered all classifying agencies to perform a Fundamental Classification Guidance Review. The purpose of the Review is to evaluate current classification policies based on "the broadest possible range of perspectives" and to eliminate obsolete or unnecessary classification requirements. Executive Order 13526, section 1.9 directed that such reviews must be completed within the next two years.

"There is an executive order that we, the [intelligence] community, are in the process of gearing up on how to respond to this, because this is going to be a more systematized process, and a lot more discipline to it," Gen. Clapper said.

"Having been involved in this, I will tell you my general philosophy is that we can be a lot more liberal, I think, about declassifying, and we should be," Gen. Clapper said.

It is unclear at this point whether the Fundamental Review will be faithfully implemented by executive branch agencies, whether it will have the intended effect of sharply reducing the scope of the national security classification system, or whether the system itself is already beyond repair.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

ComicCon Is Up & Running....

Well, ComicCon is rolling. Doors opened at the Convention Center at 6:30PM this evening.

So Skip, the doorman who has been there for 20 years is suddenly asked about what to do when one of the ComicCon folks says, "There's a sea gull in the lobby!"

Not much can be done since the ceiling of the lobby is 2 stories high and thus the sea gull can and will fly around until he finds a way out.

Attendees, who drive into San Diego, can park at Qualcomm stadium in Mission Valley and ride one of the red trolleys non-stop to the Conv Ctr. The problem for the locals will be trying to get across the tracks downtown between trolleys. Apparently the Padres may be playing at Petco Park downtown...across from the Conv Ctr...sometime within the next three days. Fans are gonna have fun trying to find parking. Be good if they take the trolleys too.

Me, I'm gonna enjoy Seaport Village which is a decent distance down Harbor Drive from the Conv Ctr. Was there this afternoon. When I left, to drive down Pacific Hwy, the first cross street was Harbor Drive. Nothing but a solid mass of cars heading toward the Conv Ctr. Ah me. Having ComicCon in town is always intersting.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Read This Book In Feb, 2011....

Harriet A. Washington was kind enough to email me a photo of her book jacket, but I can't figure a way to get it over here. In any case, the title is "Deadly Monopolies", and here are quotes from some of the reviews:

Harriet A. Washington has unearthed an enormous amount of shocking information and shaped it into a riveting, carefully documented book.'
—The New York Times

'Medical Apartheid is fascinating and compelling. ...The book’s analysis challenges the reader to question established paradigms in the history of medicine.'
—Marius Turda, Oxford Brookes University, Social History of Medicine

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans
from Colonial Times to the Present

Winner, National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, PEN/Oakland Award, BCALA Nonfiction Award, Gustavus Meyers Award

Also, she says, "Deadly Monopolies will be published in February 2011, and I posted an essay on HuffPo that dicusses a few of the topics it addresses. I thought you might be interested, so here's the link.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Military Contractors Outnumber Military....

From Secrecy News:


The Department of Defense has more contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan than it has uniformed military personnel, another newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service reminds us.

"The Department of Defense increasingly relies upon contractors to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has resulted in a DOD workforce that has 19% more contractor personnel (207,600) than uniformed personnel (175,000)," said the CRS report -- which forms a timely counterpoint to this week's Washington Post "Top Secret America" series on the tremendous expansion of the intelligence bureaucracy, including the increased and often unchecked reliance on contractors.

The explosive growth in reliance on contractors naturally entails new difficulties in management and oversight. "Some analysts believe that poor contract management has also played a role in abuses and crimes committed by certain contractors against local nationals, which may have undermined U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan," the CRS said.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Westboro Baptists vs Navy SEALs....& ComicCon..

From Tom Blair's column in the San Diego Union-Tribune paper this morning:

"Last item in Tom Blair's column this morning...
: The Westboro Baptist Church, famed for picketing the funerals of American soldiers, will picket Comic-Con here on Thursday. The controversial church, headed by Fred Phelps , accuses conventioneers of worshipping comic book idols. Says the Westboro website: “If these people would spend even some of the energy they spend on these comic books, reading the Bible, well no high hopes here.” Batman and the Green Lantern garner most of Phelps’ wrath"

So now everybody wants me to make sure the Navy SEALs...their base is just a couple of
miles away...know. And the Camp Pendleton Marines...just about 25 miles up the coast, as well. Thursday may be those assholes' waterloo.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Conv Ctr Tour Plus ComicCon Plus Secret Services.

The powers that be gathered at the San Diego Conv Ctr this morning to tour the place. The idea was to help them decide whether to expand its size, and thus keep ComicCon holding their conferences there. Right now, ComicCon has become such a large size that there is simply not enough space to hold all they'd like to do. We shall see.

My opinion is that expanding the Conv Ctr is the smart thing to do. A better choice than building the proposed new library downtown near Petco ballpark. And if the Chargers need a new stadium, let Spanos build it. We're still losing money on Qualcom.


Additionally, there are two books that I consider must-reads. The first is fiction and entitled "Crashers". Normally, when a passenger jet crashes, there are pictures of the crash site in the MSM. Later, the media might have pictures of the sections of the jet all laid out nicely in a large hanger. "Crashers" deals with the activity that occurs between those two events. Lemme tell you, I had no idea of what goes on. Absolutely a hair-standing novel and when I tell you that you won't be able to put it down, I mean exactly what I say. One absolutely terrific piece of work.

The second book is a non-fiction, entitled "In The President's Secret Service" by Ron Kessler. Talk about shock value! I was astounded by the difference between our presidents' public and private behaviors. And no, I'm not gonna give examples. This is a book that seriously needs to be read. It doesn't cut any of those guys any slack. The Secret Service knows all, I kid you not...and in this book, tells all.
More, you'd best read it BEFORE the next presidential election.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Special Forces & Green Berets New Book ....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly...


Cornell MFA and former University of Chicago mathematics scholar Catherine Chung's FORGOTTEN COUNTRY, the story of a Korean American woman sent by her terminally ill father to find her missing sister, leading to a larger journey that forces her to confront her family's tragic history and to understand the consequences of the truth coming to light under the weight of national, cultural, and personal traditions of silence, to Megan Lynch at Riverhead, at auction, by Maria Massie at Lippincott Massie McQuilkin (NA).

Madeline Miller's IN THE ARMOR OF ACHILLES, yielding a tender love story and a chronicle of the Trojan War; narrated by Patroclus, best friend and lover of the Greek hero, Achilles, these childhood friends suddenly face the rising tide of war when Helen is captured by Troy; following him to the distant battlefields, Patroclus is willing to sacrifice anything to prolong the mortal life of his immortal love, to Lee Boudreaux at Ecco, at auction, for publication Summer 2012, by Julie Barer at Barer Literary, and to Alexandra Pringle at Bloomsbury UK, by Caspian Dennis for Barer Literary.


Two-time Agatha Award winner and NYT bestselling author Jacqueline Winspear's 9th and 10th novels in the series featuring psychologist and investigator MAISIE DOBBS, again to Jennifer Barth at Harper, in a major deal, by Amy Rennert at the Amy Rennert Agency.


Three new FBI thrillers by No. 1 NYT bestselling author Catherine Coulter, featuring her lead characters Lacey Sherlock and Dillon Savich, to Ivan Held at Putnam, for publication once a year, by Robert Gottlieb at Trident Media Group (NA).

David Jack Bell's CEMETERY GIRL, in which a couple who seemingly has it all, loses almost everything when their twelve-year-old daughter disappears without a trace, and then, four years later, is found and returned to them, but refuses to talk about where she was, what happened to her -- and why, to Danielle Perez at NAL, in a two-book deal, by Laney Katz Becker at Markson Thoma (World English).


Jodi Meadows's trilogy, beginning with ERIN INCARNATE, about the only girl who is new in a world where everyone is perpetually reincarnated, and her quest to discover why she was born, and what happened to the person she replaced, to Sarah Shumway at Katherine Tegen Books, at auction, by Lauren MacLeod at The Strothman Agency (World English).


Houston Chronicle business columnist Loren Steffy's untitled book on BP, tracing how the current disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is only a part of a larger pattern of corporate cost-cutting and image-making that has compromised safety across BP's operations for years, to Mary Glenn at McGraw-Hill, by Matthew Carnicelli at Trident Media Group (World).

Huffington Post blogger and CEO Steve Rosenbaum's CURATION NATION: How to Profit in the New World of User-Generated Content, illuminating one of today's hottest business trends -- curation: the art of discovering, sorting, and giving context to the explosion of content on the web in order to make it relevant to one's consumer, to Leila Porteous at McGraw-Hill Professional, by John Wright at John Wright Literary Associates.


Tony Schwalm's THE GUERRILLA FACTORY, a narrative of the author's experiences in the U.S. Army's legendary training crucible, the Q Course at Fort Bragg, which produces elite Special Forces operators, also known as Green Berets, and his tour of duty as its commander, to Dominick Anfuso at Free Press, for publication in 2012, by Jim Hornfischer at Hornfischer Literary Management (World). board president Eli Pariser's DONT BE EVIL: Filter Bubbles, Click Signals, And Why It Matters That the Net Knows Your Name, on the unprecedented rise of personalization on the web, revealing what it's doing to us, where it's going, how it will increasingly restrict the news we consume and curb innovation, and why we can - and must - change course, to Ann Godoff and Laura Stickney at Penguin Press, at auction, for publication in May 2011, by Elyse Cheney at Elyse Cheney Agency (NA).

Author of the newsmaking Rolling Stone article The Runaway General, journalist Michael Hastings' untitled book, promising "an unprecedented behind-the-scenes account of America's longest war," with an unfiltered look at the war, and the soldiers, diplomats and politicians who are waging it, to Geoff Shandler at Little, Brown, by Scott Moyers at The Wylie Agency.

Oceanographer and MacArthur fellow Carl Safina's BLOWOUT, on the environmental consequences of the BP disaster, to John Glusman of Crown, by Jean Naggar of the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency (World English).


Co-host of the Emmy-winning TV show "The Doctors" Dr. Lisa Masterson, PAPER DOLLHOUSE, tracing her path from an unconventional childhood with a larger-than-life, "flim-flam the rich, fund your dreams" mother to the firing lines of medical school, her charity in Africa, and co-hosting a hit TV series while remaining first and foremost a doctor, to Janice Goldklang at Globe Pequot, for publication in May 2011, by BJ Robbins at BJ Robbins Literary Agency (World English).


Friday, July 09, 2010

SecDef Lays Down the Law For Media....

From Secrecy News:


"I have grown increasingly concerned that we have become too lax, disorganized, and, in some cases, flat-out sloppy in the way we engage with the press," said Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, explaining why he had issued new guidance to regulate Pentagon interactions with the news media.

The new guidance (pdf), issued on July 2, requires advance notification and coordination with DoD Public Affairs before a Department official can speak to the media on a story that may have any "national or international implications."

In the absence of such controls, Gates said at a July 8 press briefing, "personal views have been published as official government positions, and information has gone out that was inaccurate, incomplete or lacking in proper context. Reports and other documents, including on sensitive subjects, are routinely provided to the press and other elements in this town before I or the White House know anything about them. Even more worrisome, highly classified and sensitive information has been divulged without authorization or accountability."

"My hope and expectation is that this new guidance will improve the quality of press engagement by ensuring that the people the media talk to can speak with accuracy and authority. This should not infringe or impede the flow of accurate and timely information to you or to the public. That is not my intent, nor will I tolerate it."

Despite the Secretary's assurance, however, it seems practically certain that the new guidance will significantly impede the flow of information to the press and will complicate the already difficult task of probing beneath the official surface of events.

The Gates memorandum seems to reflect a view of the press as a conduit for "official government positions" that are "authorized" and placed "in proper context." But everyone knows that the most interesting and important news stories often begin with unofficial and unauthorized statements that are lacking in context and may even be inaccurate. It is the reporter's job to validate them, assess their significance, place them in context and communicate them, and if the results appear "before I or the White House know anything about them," so much the better.

That is what the Washington Post did in its series on neglect of veterans' health at Walter Reed Hospital, and that is what USA Today did in its reporting on the casualties resulting from delayed acquisition of MRAP armored vehicles.

Secretary Gates knows this, and he acknowledged the importance of those particular stories. "The reality is, stories in the press, and you've heard me say this before -- whether it was the stories on the treatment of outpatient wounded warriors at Walter Reed in the Washington Post or stories about MRAPs in USA Today -- have been a spur to action for me in various areas," he said.

But the key point is that those stories did not emerge from authorized interviews or official accounts. They had to be pieced together from partial, incomplete and unauthorized sources. That's one of the things that made them great.

"If everybody's following the spirit and the letter of the memo," an astute but unidentified reporter asked Secretary Gates, "are you confident that stories like stories about the MRAP and the Walter Reed problems would emerge the way they did?"

"Actually, I am," Secretary Gates said at yesterday's press briefing, "and it's largely because of my confidence in the persistence and the skills of the people sitting in front of me." But now that persistence and those skills will also be needed to penetrate the new barriers that the Gates memo has created.

If the Pentagon genuinely valued groundbreaking news stories that could serve as a corrective "spur to action," then it would inquire into the specific conditions of access and disclosure that makes such stories possible, and it would then seek to foster those conditions more broadly throughout the Department. The new DoD guidance on interaction with the media is a step in the opposite direction.

The July 2 Gates memo (which was first reported by the New York Times) also declared categorically that "Leaking of classified information is against the law, cannot be tolerated, and will, when proven, lead to the prosecution of those found to be engaged in such activity."

On July 5, Pfc. Bradley E. Manning was charged (pdf) with the unauthorized transfer and disclosure of classified records, including the classified video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that was posted online in April of this year by the WikiLeaks web site.

Secretary Gates said that he was not familiar with the underlying investigation of the Manning case or whether it constituted a serious breach, and that he had not determined whether remedial security measures were needed.


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Inscribe DADT On That Rock....

AN IDEA WHO’S TIME HAS COME (again and again and again)


Keith Taylor

The volatile "Don’t ask/Don’t Tell" rule, shortened to DADT, was tailor-made for a guy who loves to foist his opinions off on an unsuspecting public. DADT was enacted in 1993. By 2003 I had written a dozen articles about it for Navy Times. One sardonic piece suggested the term be inscribed on a rock at the entrance to our military academies.

Make a rule that problems should be solved by ignoring them? What a fine example of leadership for our future admirals and generals!

And as you’d expect I got all sorts of letters, pro and con. One former master chief boatswain’s mate opined that gays were much smarter than “the rest of us.” He even suggested that I might be gay because I was so smart. I answered that he was at least partly right.

My favorite response came from Professor Eric Lane of Hofstra University on Long Island. It was an invitation to join a panel of distinguished guests in a seminar looking back at the ten years of DADT. Twas a heady experience, hobnobbing with the chancellor of MIT, several distinguished professors of law, and military people from four countries.

I was asked to share my experiences in the Navy during my 23 years of service as both an enlisted man and an officer. C-SPAN taped it and aired it six times.

I started by saying “When I joined back in 1947, there were no gays in the Navy. The chief petty officers told us they were they were queers. The officers used the word "homosexuals."

But even after DADT was decreed, things went on as before. Military policy was simply hidden behind a bunch of silly words. Nearly two decades after its implementation DADT is still the law, and ten percent of our young men an women must still hide who they are if they want to serve their country.

But with the exception of the 541 members of Congress many minds have been changed since 1993. According to polls, about half the enlisted members have no objection to serving with gays. Integration is supported by the Commander in Chief, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Even congress is being swayed. The House voted to do away with it. The Senate Armed Services Committee approved sending an amendment on to the entire Senate. Now it finally looks as if Congress will take my advice and do away with what I once called the dumbest law in our nation’s history.

Still, dumb or not, DADT is opposed when it suits a congress person to oppose it. John McCain, in a fight to keep his Senate seat in Arizona, once approved the idea of allowing gays to serve openly. He now promises a filibuster to keep the Senate from voting on the provision. He said, “I think it’s going to be really very harmful to the morale and effectiveness of our military.”

That ranks right up there with a sardonic joke I first heard in boot camp: There will be no liberty until morale improves.

In any case, it won’t take effect until it passes one more bugaboo -- A compromise holding off implementation until it is studied some more. This after 17 years of scrutiny, a period when some 13,000 Americans, including at least 1000 in critical occupations skills were booted out of our Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Ironically some who were booted were hired back as civilians to do the same job. Some linguists of esoteric languages said piss on it and left it to the straights to figure out what the millions of Farsi, Arabic, Urdu, and other unread esoteric messages collected by NSA meant.

I have a suggestion. Let’s look at the results in best laboratory of all: Experience. While we have been dallying with, and often abusing DADT, other outfits here and around the world have either continued hiring gays or opened the door for them to serve openly. That would include the NSA, FBI, CIA, Congress, virtually all state and city police forces, and all the original 25 NATO members except two: USA and Turkey. Little of the disaster predicted took place.

As always when a politician digs in to face up to the overwhelming evidence, he resorts to jingoism. Refusing to follow the crowd and do what works for them evokes the bloviation "We are the greatest country on the face of the earth."

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to keep it that way by treating all our citizens fairly?

//Keith Taylor is long retired from the Navy after serving 23 years as an enlisted man and an officer. He can be reached at

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Fiction To Memoirs...New Books On The Way...

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Chrisopher Buehlman's THOSE ACROSS THE RIVER, set in 1935 about a World War I veteran facing the battle of his life when he moves south with his lover to a dying cotton town and is targeted in a gruesome murder spree by a band of depraved werewolves squatting on a dilapidated plantation that belonged to his notorious Civil War General great grandfather, to Tom Colgan at Berkley, in a very nice deal, in a pre-empt, for publication in Summer 2011, by Stephanie Lehmann at the Elaine Koster Agency (World English).

Rosie Dastgir's A SMALL FORTUNE, which explores the loves, struggles, and tensions in the lives of a Pakistani family, from rural Pakistan to urban England, with a fond but wry eye, pitched as reminiscent of Monica Ali or -- in the book's humor and lightness of touch -- Marina Lewycka, to Sarah McGrath at Riverhead, in a pre-empt, by Zoe Pagnamenta at the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency (NA).


Julia Heaberlin's PLAYING DEAD, about a woman who receives a letter indicating that she may have been kidnapped as a baby and her whole life is a lie, and LIE STILL, about a rape victim whose past catches up to her as she becomes involved in a mystery in an exclusive Texas town, to Kate Miciak at Random House, in a very nice deal, by Pam Ahearn at Ahearn Agency (world).


Liz Moore's HEFT, a dual narrative about a deeply lonely 500-plus recluse and a seventeen year-old orphaned baseball phenom and the phone call that brought their two worlds together, pitched as in the vein of Elizabeth McCracken's The Giant's House and Peter Hedges's What's Eating Gilbert Grape, to Jill Bialosky at Norton, in a very nice deal, by Seth Fishman at Sterling Lord Literistic.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Matt Richtel's next two neuro-thrillers about the collision of cutting-edge brain research and high-technology, to Carl Lennertz at Harper, by Laurie Liss at Sterling Lord Literistic (World).


Adam Rex's heavily illustrated trilogy, COLD CEREAL, in which the unlikeliest heroes - a boy who may be part changeling, twins involved in a bizarre secret experiment, and a clurichaun (NOT leprechaun) in a red tracksuit - try to save the world from an evil cereal company, whose ultimate goal is world domination, to Donna Bray at Balzer and Bray, by Steven Malk at Writers House.


Boston Globe deputy managing features editor Doug Most's THE RACE UNDERGROUND, about the competition between Boston and New York City to build the first subway in America, to Michael Flamini at St. Martin's, at auction, by Lane Zachary for Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency (NA).

Author of NYT bestseller The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, Jeffrey Toobin's THE OATH: THE SECRET STRUGGLE FOR THE SUPREME COURT, looking at the Court's "new personalities and new tensions" and the "battle between a conservative Court and a liberal President," to Phyllis Grann at Doubleday, for publication in 2012, by Esther Newberg at ICM.


Victor Villasenor's BEYOND RAIN OF GOLD, the follow-up to the NYT bestseller RAIN OF GOLD, a true-life One Hundred Years of Solitude for the 21st Century, focusing on the author's family history over many generations, including the author's experiences in writing the original bestseller, as a microcosm for the struggles of indigenous people throughout the world and how their plight and collective wisdom are reflected in the events predicted for 2012 and the world thereafter, to Reid Tracy at Hay House, for English and Spanish in the US, by William Gladstone at Waterside Productions.

New York Post reporter Susannah Cahalan's BRAIN ON FIRE, a terrifying, though ultimately triumphant first-person narrative of her inexplicable physical and mental breakdown and a medical mystery unraveled by a brilliant neurologist and specialist in the exploding field of autoimmune disease, to Hilary Redmon at Free Press, in a pre-empt, for publication in Fall 2012, by Larry Weissman at Larry Weissman Literary (world).

Film and TV actor Barbara Eden's JEANNIE OUT OF THE BOTTLE, a memoir of her colorful life and a remarkable Hollywood career spanning more than 50 years, including her own personal tragedies: the birth of a still-born son; her relationship with her verbally abusive, cocaine-addicted second husband; and the accidental heroin-induced death of her 35-year-old son just months before his wedding, written with Wendy Leigh, to Tina Constable at Crown Archetype, with Sydny Miner editing, for publication in spring 2011, by Dan Strone at Trident Media Group (NA).

Soleil Moon Frye (aka Punky Brewster)'s first book HAPPY CHAOS, a combination memoir/manual, with stories from from own unconventional childhood growing up in the limelight as a child star, and thematically linked anecdotes from her experiences as a parent of two young daughters, to Carrie Thornton at Dutton, for publication in summer 2011, by Andy McNicol at William Morris Endeavor.


Rowan Jacobsen's A SHADOW ON THE GULF: The Endangered Soul of Our Last Great Estuary, with the Deepwater Horizon disaster as its focal point, a narrative of the rich natural history of the Gulf of Mexico and the unique human culture of its coasts, as both collide with the unmanageable mega-engineering of today's oil economy, to Kathy Belden at Bloomsbury, for publication in April 2011, by Russell Galen at Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency (world).


We Share Our Intel Programs....

From Secrecy News:


The Obama White House has threatened to veto a pending intelligence bill if it includes a provision that would authorize the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to perform audits of intelligence programs at the request of Congress. But a Department of Defense Directive issued last week explicitly allows for GAO access to highly classified special access programs, including intelligence programs, under certain conditions.

The newly revised DoD Directive 5205.07 (pdf) on special access programs (SAPs) states that: "General [sic] Accountability Office (GAO) personnel shall be granted SAP access if: a. The Director, DoD SAPCO [SAP Central Office], concurs after consultation with the chair and ranking minority member of a defense or intelligence committee [and] b. The GAO nominee has the appropriate security clearance level."

In other words, the Pentagon's new directive permits what the Obama Administration is stubbornly striving to prevent, namely a role for the GAO in intelligence oversight.

DoD special access programs are the most tightly secured of all the Pentagon's classified programs. They include activities within three classified domains: intelligence, acquisition, and operations.

The previous version of the same DoD Directive (pdf) on special access programs, which was issued in 2006 and revised in 2008, made no mention of the GAO. However, a 2009 DoD Instruction (pdf) stated that classified DoD information on intelligence and counterintelligence "may be furnished to GAO representatives having a legitimate need to know." ("DoD Should Not 'Categorically" Deny GAO Access to Intelligence," Secrecy News, February 4, 2009.)

As an historical matter, GAO has long had access to classified DoD programs of the highest sensitivity, and has produced numerous reports on special access programs, including many in unclassified form. But the CIA and other non-DoD intelligence agencies have resisted GAO oversight.

"In practice, defense [intelligence] agencies do not adopt the 'hard line' CIA approach but generally seek to cooperate with GAO representatives," the late Stanley Moskowitz of the CIA wrote in a 1994 memorandum for the Director of Central Intelligence.

Most recently, the Senate Intelligence Committee reportedly said it would yield to the White House and would renounce any right to use the GAO in its oversight activities. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected that concession, and she has been insisting that a role for GAO in intelligence oversight must be recognized by the Administration. To a significant extent, considering the dominance of defense intelligence agencies within the intelligence community, one could say that it now has been so recognized. Only the details remain to be negotiated.


Saturday, July 03, 2010

Deepwater Horizon Among Coming Books...

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Screenwriter of FANBOYS Ernie Cline's READY PLAYER ONE, pitched as Charlie & the Chocolate Factory set in the world of massive multiplayer gaming, TRON, and Hot Tub Time Machine, to Julian Pavia and Tina Pohlman at Crown, at auction, by Yfat Reiss Gendell at Foundry Literary + Media (NA).
At the same time, film rights optioned to Warner Bros. and Donald DeLine, at auction, with Cline co-producing and writing the screenplay.

Peter Troy's THE ODYSSEY OF ETHAN MCOWEN, opening in mid-nineteenth century Ireland during the Famine when a man sails to America, later joins the famous Fighting 69th Civil War brigade, and falls in love with a Spanish society girl turned abolitionist, before their stories entwine with the perilous journeys of two slaves, a seamstress in Virginia and a freedom-seeking carpenter and poet from South Carolina, and all four lives come together in upstate New York at the war's end, to Alison Callahan at Doubleday, by Marly Rusoff of Marly Rusoff & Associates (NA).


NYT bestselling author Cindy Woodsmall's next five Amish-themed novels, two stand-alone titles and a three-book series called AMISH THREADS, to Shannon Marchese at Waterbrook Multnomah, by Steve Laube at the Steve Laube Agency (world).


AuthorBuzz founder and The Reincarnationist author M.J. Rose's THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES, a suspense novel that's the next in her Reincarnationist series, to Sarah Durand at Atria (and reuniting Rose with Judith Curr, her original publisher), in a three-book deal, for publication beginning in spring 2011, by Dan Conaway at Writers House (NA).


Ann Patchett's Conradian-inspired work set in the Amazonian jungle juxtaposing two female physicians whose separate quests lead them to hitherto unimaginable discoveries on both a personal and global scale, to Jonathan Burnham at Harper, for publication in 2011, by Lisa Bankoff at ICM (NA).

The Bug author Ellen Ullman's BY BLOOD, featuring an unnamed professor who rents an office in the bowels of 1970s San Francisco following his disgraced departure from academia; he begins eavesdropping on the therapy sessions of a young woman in the office next door, and as the story of her mysterious adoption leads back to Nazi Germany, his curiosity degenerates into obsession, to Sean McDonald at Farrar, Straus, by Jay Mandel of William Morris Endeavor.



James Beard Award-winning and Emmy Award-winning TV food personality Ming Tsai's SIMPLY MING ONE-POT MEALS: Quick, Healthy & Affordable Recipes, co-authored with Arthur Boehm, 80 recipes with an Asian twist -- every ingredient can be found at your local market, every recipe will track its salt and fat intakes, calories, and allergens (keeping it healthful), every dish will cost under $20, and you'll only have to use one vessel in which to cook, to Anja Schmidt of Kyle Books, for publication in November 2010,


The first book-length account of recent oil spill, DEEPWATER HORIZON: The Oil Disaster, Its Aftermath, and Our Future, by the executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Peter Lehner, writing with Bob Deans, former head of the White House Correspondents Association, to John Oakes of OR Books, for publication September 20, 2010.


Tony Hendra and son Nick Hendra's book on basketball and life, documenting, exploring and celebrating the thrills, setbacks, excitement, tedium, hopes, dreams, stark realities, emotional highs and lows, timeless human truths, hilarious predicaments, and weird, touching or insane characters they have encountered during a journey which began in earnest six years ago and whose outcome is still unknown, to Patrick Mulligan and Bill Shinker at Gotham, for publication in Spring 2012, by James Fitzgerald at the James Fitzgerald Agency (world).

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's WHILE I WAS GROWING UP, her experiences and those of her family during and immediately after World War II, drawing on her own memories, her parents' written reflections, interviews with contemporaries, and other primary source materials, giving a child's view of the time and also an adult's broader perspective, to Tim Duggan at Harper, by Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly (world).


Sally Koslow's THE WANDER YEARS: A Mother's Display of Public Reflection, pitched in the spirit of I Feel Badly About My Neck, it combines interviews, personal observation, and social science, on the modern phenomenon of "adultescents" (kids who return to the nest after college until who knows when) from the point of view of their beleaguered parents, to Clare Ferraro and Carolyn Carlson at Viking, at auction, by Christy Fletcher at Fletcher & Company (NA).


Sports Illustrated journalist David Epstein's THE SPORTS GENOME, exploring what genetics reveals about athletic performance, and questioning the correlation between effort and excellence, to David Moldawer at Current, at auction, by Scott Waxman at Waxman Literary Agency (NA).