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CIA Paramilitary Ops and Special Forces

The use of CIA paramilitary forces post-September 11 alongside U.S. military Special Operations Forces (SOF) poses some new operational, legal, policy and oversight challenges, according to a recent Army student research paper.

Much of the difficulty stems from the fact that SOF are regular military personnel subject to the laws of war while CIA paramilitary forces operate outside of an accepted legal framework.

"In a combat operation where CIA and SOF forces are tightly integrated, the result could be that, if captured, the SOF soldiers are afforded Geneva Convention protections while the CIA operatives are not; further, CIA operatives might even be considered by the enemy to be unlawful combatants," writes Army Col. Kathryn Stone.

"Close cooperation and intermingling between the CIA and SOF is fraught with danger given their respective cultures, operational modes, sources of information, and oversight structures."

See "
'All Necessary Means' -- Employing CIA Operatives in a Warfighting Role Alongside Special Operations Forces" by Col. Kathryn Stone, U.S. Army War College, April 2003. -- By Stephen Aftergood for Secrecy News

Future of Naval Research Lab in Question

December 2, 2003 -- Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has achieved a long list of milestones in defense technology over the past eighty years, having developed the first U.S. radar, the world's first intelligence satellite, prototypes of the Global Positioning System, and a lot more.

But now the viability of NRL is threatened, scientists say, by a quiet Navy move to transfer authority over the Lab from civilian to military control, which they say is likely to stifle innovation and scientific freedom.

"NRL belongs to the Navy Secretariat, and as such, it is the only installation not controlled by the service's uniformed officers," according to a review of the situation by an anonymous analyst who opposes the military takeover.

Such civilian control "was [inventor] Thomas Edison's intention from the day he urged the Navy [in 1920] to create NRL."

But now the Lab faces imminent consolidation under the newly established Commander, Navy Installations (CNI), prompting fears that its days as a world class research facility are numbered.

"More than facility management is being centralized at CNI. Power is being amassed there, at the expense of Navy civilian control," the analyst warned in a recent paper that is circulating among concerned scientists.

"Thomas Edison would be spinning in his grave if he knew the present course of Navy RDT&E," the analyst wrote.

The fate of NRL is of interest to scientists and technologists far outside the U.S. Navy.

"NRL is important to all of us -- to defense industry and to science," said Charles Townes, Nobel laureate and inventor of the laser (and an FAS sponsor) in 1998.

The issue is explored by the anonymous critic, in detail and at length, in "Labs Miserables: The Impending Assimilation of the Naval Research Laboratory and the Threat to Navy Transformation," November 17, 2003 (1.2 MB PDF file):

Coincidentally, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently observed that research and development is one of the things "you don't want to centralize excessively."

"The worst thing you could do is if you're in the research and development business is to get everyone in the same town in the same building going to lunch together and they all begin to think alike.  That's the last thing you want," Rumsfeld said, speaking at Osan Air Base in Korea on November 18. -- Secrecy News

Page Contents:
  • CIA Paramilitary Ops and Special Forces
  • The Thinning of the Army
  • Ex-G.I.'s tell of Vietnam brutality
  • Future of Naval Research Lab in Question
  • Everything Secret Degenerates: Security Clearances and Ex Cons
  • Make Robots, Not War
  • New Technology and Contracts
  • US warns German Utility on Libya contract
  • 2nd Sight Magazine Related Links Index

"An international military presence is sometimes necessary to support the return to civil peace and to consolidate institutions." ~ French President Jacques Chirac

Everything Secret Degenerates

December 2, 2003 -- The FBI's use of murderers as informants in Boston beginning in the 1960s was explored in a blistering report from the House Committee on Government Reform, which also criticized the Bush Administration for impeding its investigation.

Because of the FBI's indiscriminate reliance on known killers, "men died in prison -- and spent their lives in prison -- for crimes they did not commit," the House Committee report found.

"A number of men were murdered because they came to the government with information incriminating informants. Government officials also became corrupted."

Yet "throughout the Committee's investigation, it encountered an institutional reluctance to accept oversight."

"The Committee's investigation was delayed for months by President Bush's assertion of executive privilege over a number of key documents.  While the Committee was ultimately able to obtain access to the documents it needed, the President's privilege claim was regrettable and unnecessary," the report said.

See "Everything Secret Degenerates: The FBI's Use of Murderers as Informants," published by the House Committee on Government Reform, November 21, 2003: http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2003_rpt/index.html#fbi

Security Clearances and Ex Cons

It might seem reasonable to presume that a person who has been convicted of a crime and sentenced to more than a year in jail would be ineligible to be granted a security clearance.

Yet when such a presumption is turned into a statutory prohibition, unintended consequences follow.

The so-called Smith Amendment, which was enacted in the FY2001 defense authorization act, bars certain convicted criminals from ever holding a security clearance, even decades after incarceration.

And it is now wreaking havoc in the national security workforce, according to attorney Sheldon I. Cohen, a specialist in security clearance practice and procedures.

"The Smith Amendment has caused individuals who have served their country faithfully and meritoriously to lose their clearances and their jobs twenty to thirty years after having paid their debt to society for committing minor crimes," he wrote.

"The effect on the national defense has been far more serious," he added.  "People in critical positions whose skills and knowledge are virtually irreplaceable are being forced out even though they have had a clearance for many years. It is jeopardizing our submarine and aircraft industries where every craftsman, welder and electrician must have a clearance."

"Instead of strengthening our national defense, the Smith Amendment has put it at risk."

Mr. Cohen urged concerned parties to press for repeal.  See his "Smith Amendment Alert!"

Make Robots, Not War

In The Village Voice, Erik Baard tells the tale of anti-war scientists who refuse to get paid for killer ideas; George Smith uncovers dark doings at DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

New Technology and Contracts

Air Filter Technology Developed for NASA Released to Public

The SARS epidemic may officially be declared under control for now -- there are still about 200 infected world-wide, and the CDC believes it may be a seasonal problem -- but, many are still concerned about the transmission of pathogens via air circulation aboard commercial air flights and in public buildings, especially hospitals. Nanotechnology has yielded results.

Read excerpts from the US Global Aerospace, Inc. company release and more information archived at 2nd Sight Research.

Resource: Nanotechnology Now Newsletter #24

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