Web Site Posts Secret CIA Briefing Papers

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Web Site Posts Secret CIA Briefing Papers By Vernon Loeb and Doug Struck Washington Post Staff Writers Sunday, July 23, 2000; Page A02

A secret CIA overview of the U.S. intelligence community prepared for visiting Japanese intelligence officials has been posted on an Internet site frequented by activists opposed to government secrecy, prompting security concerns among intelligence officials and their overseers on Capitol Hill.

The CIA briefing, containing some sensitive information about budget trends and so-called "hard" intelligence target countries, appeared a week ago on Cryptome, an Internet site (http://jya.com/crypto.htm) maintained by John Young.

Young is a New York City architect who started posting government documents on encryption and intelligence issues six years ago.

He said he posted the secret CIA document, together with lists naming hundreds of agents from Japan's Public Security Investigation Agency, after receiving the documents from a source in Japan.

CIA officials have not asked Young to remove the briefing from the Web site, but he said two FBI agents called him on Thursday and forwarded a request from the Japanese Ministry of Justice that the lists be removed. Young refused, saying publication of the lists contributed to public awareness of how government agencies function.

Young said he posts documents that interest him and lets others figure out whether they are authentic or sensitive. "Our little site got started by letting people tell us," he said.

Young said the source who provided him the CIA briefing materials did so under a pseudonym.

One senior intelligence official said that official visitors from Japan's Public Security Investigation Agency were authorized to receive the secret briefing at CIA headquarters in June 1998. "But public disclosure of that information is troubling," the official said. "In terms of the information [contained in the briefing], it is not insignificant. We're always concerned when classified information is disclosed publicly."

Written briefing materials--presented by Charles E. Allen, the assistant director of central intelligence for collection--state that executive boards had been created to review plans for penetrating five "hard target" countries--Iran, China, North Korea, Cuba and Russia. The countries are singled out for focus under Presidential Decision Directive 35, an order issued by President Clinton establishing national intelligence priorities.

Allen's calling card--including his home telephone number, his secure satellite telephone number and two e-mail addresses--is also part of the briefing materials.

The briefing materials also contain closely guarded budget and personnel figures, stating that from fiscal 1991 to fiscal 1999, the National Foreign Intelligence Program, encompassing all civilian and military foreign intelligence activity, lost 20,559 employees. Despite those losses, the documents say, personnel costs grew from $4.7 billion to $5.4 billion. Had no personnel cuts been made, the briefing materials add, personnel costs would have been $1.4 billion higher in fiscal 1999.

The intelligence community's total budget, encompassing 13 agencies and dominated by spending for satellites and other major technical systems, is thought to be around $30 billion.

"I was very disturbed to learn that there may be a classified CIA document posted on the Internet," said Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. "The committee has spoken to Mr. Allen and will continue to examine whether any classified information has been disclosed, and if so, by whom."

Ichiro Shinjo, head of the General Affairs Department of Japan's Public Security Investigation Agency, said the Japanese government believes that a PSIA employee who resigned under pressure in December 1998 is the source of the briefing materials. The employee, who was prosecuted and put on probation, has since posted rosters and other documents from the PSIA on Web sites under his own name, Shinjo said.

In fact, Hironari Noda recently published a book titled "CIA Spy Training: An Experience of One Agent of the PSIA." On the cover of the book is a picture of a CIA "Certificate of Training" presented to "Hironari Noda, for completion of the intelligence analysis course in June 1998."

The document posted on Young's Web site is entitled an "Intelligence Community Overview for Japanese Visitors" from the PSIA.

It is dated June 22, 1998


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), July 23, 2000

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