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June 16, 2008

State Department can't take the heat?

Great_seal_2Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists runs a very informative blog on secrecy and classification issues, Secrecy News. We get his e-mails almost daily, and always find something worthwhile there - news and tidbits about anything and everything having to do with secrecy, classification and de-classification of "secrets," and goings-on in the U.S. intelligence community.

But Aftergood, it seems, has been kicked off a maiing list for the State Department history publication known as the Foreign Relations of the United States.

FRUS, as its often known in short-hand, is the official documentary record of U.S. foreign policy-making. When they are released, the volumes are closely scrutinized by historians, journalists and others for revelation about controverisal periods in modern U.S. history - the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Nixon Administration's dealings with Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet, to name just a couple.

Aftergood's infraction? He's pointed out what he says are errors in several recent volumes, including one involving a 1973 conversation between Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Chinese Premier Chou En-lai.

Aftergood has requested a reinstatement, writing to the State Department's Historian's Office (HO):

"I know that a sizable fraction of my Secrecy News mailing list (which now exceeds 13,500 self-selected subscribers) has an interest in FRUS publications. Many of those subscribers are unlikely to be part of other existing networks of academics and historians through which news of FRUS is disseminated. ... I would also willingly publish any criticism of my own writing that HO personnel or HAC [Historical Advisory Committee] members felt was warranted."

No word yet on the ouctome of the appeal, Aftergood told us in an email Friday.


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No soup for you!

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"Nukes & Spooks" is written by McClatchy correspondents Jonathan S. Landay (national security and intelligence), Warren P. Strobel (foreign affairs and the State Department), and Nancy Youssef (Pentagon).

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Landay, Youssef and Strobel.

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