Time: Fri Dec 05 02:02:40 1997
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: "D-Notice" under British Official Secrets Act
Bcc: sls, friends

>In *Above Top Secret* (ISBN:  0-688-09202-0), author Timothy Good
>describes a British government mechanism known as a "D-Notice":
>  A  D-Notice  is  a  formal  letter  of  request  circulated
>  confidentially to newspaper  editors,  warning them that an
>  item of news, which may be protected  under  the  [British]
>  Official   Secrets   Act,   is   regarded  by  the  defense
>  authorities as a  secret  affecting  national security.  It
>  has no legal authority and can only be regarded as a letter
>  of advice or request, but it warns that "whether or not any
>  legal sanction would attach  to  the  act  of  publication,
>  publication  is  considered  to be contrary to the national
>  interest."
>  ...since a D-Notice warns  an  editor that publication of a
>  given news item may violate the [Official Secrets] Act, the
>  effect is similar to censorship.
>Does  the United States have some sort of similar mechanism?  Has
>the  U.S.  government  ever  contacted  prominent  news  outlets,
>suggesting that pursuit  of  a  particular  story could adversely
>affect national security?  At least one instance comes  to  mind:
>ABC  News  had reportedly been set to air a story on how the U.S.
>government seems to  have  had  prior  knowledge  that the Murrah
>Building in Oklahoma City was about to be bombed.  The story  was
>pulled  at  the  last minute, however, reportedly due to concerns
>that its airing might  greatly  weaken  and  even topple the U.S.
>In "The Secret Report and  the  Death Warrant" (CN 9.02), Sherman
>H. Skolnick describes how the late Vincent  Foster  was  employed
>for  years  by  the  National Security Agency (NSA), and may have
>been doing some "freelance" work on the side:
>  The report goes  on  to  show  that  since the early 1980s,
>  Foster  held  the  equivalent rank of Military General with
>  the   super-secret   satellite   spying  and  code-cracking
>  operation of the U.S., the National Security Agency  [NSA].
>  Foster  continued  this  work for the few months before his
>  death  in  the  Clinton  White  House.  Travelling for NSA,
>  hundreds of thousands of miles, Foster was the  master-mind
>  of an NSA Project that tracked wire transfers between banks
>  worldwide -- trillions of  dollars  per  day, of banks both
>  friend  and  foe.   Because   of   being  on  top  of  this
>  enterprise,  Foster  never  believed  that  project   might
>  someday find his  purported  foreign  secret coded accounts
>  that  could  finger him as having violated various American
>  espionage laws.
>Skolnick's allegations are  corroborated  in  a classic series of
>reports by J. Orlin Grabbe, "Allegations Regarding Vince  Foster,
>the NSA, and Banking  Transactions  Spying."  [1] Further support
>for claims that Vince Foster  was  a  high-ranking  NSA  official
>appear  in a story in the May 15, 1996 Washington Times newspaper
>("Spy  Agency  Holds  Large  File  On  Foster,"  by  Bill Gertz.)
>Referring to revelations contained in the April 24, 1996 issue of
>Strategic Investment newsletter,  the  Washington  Times  article
>reports  that  "secret  documents  held  by the electronic spying
>agency [NSA] indicate Mr. Foster's  death was a matter of 'highly
>sensitive national security.'"
>There's that word:  "national security."  Was  Foster's  death  a
>"national  security"  matter and, for that reason, were prominent
>news outlets in the  U.S.  given  some version of the "D-Notice?"
>That would explain why most mainstream journalists here have been
>so  remarkably  blind   regarding   inconsistencies   surrounding
>Foster's  supposed "suicide."  Furthermore, given that Foster was
>a high-ranking NSA employee and had apparently violated his trust
>by engaging  in  espionage,  it  ought  to  be considered whether
>Foster had been secretly sentenced  to  death  by  some  sort  of
>secret  tribunal.   A  clue  to  this possibility is found in Dr.
>Stanton    Friedman's    book,    *Top    Secret/Majic*    (ISBN:
>1-56924-741-2).   Friedman  writes  about  mere  =civilians=  and
>the  possible  extreme  penalty  they   can  be  subject  to  for
>violations of "national security":
>  Civilians  unfortunate  enough  to  be  caught  up  in  the
>  security web were made to sign  silence  agreements  ending
>  with  the  phrase  "upon  penalty  of death" according to a
>  witness who very  quietly  spoke  to  me  about  it after a
>  lecture.
>If a civilian can potentially  be  secretly  found  "guilty"  and
>sentenced  to  death,  then  the same fate could definitely await
>high-ranking NSA officials who violate  their trust and engage in
>But why, if Foster had been secretly sentenced to death, was  the
>sentence  executed  so  sloppily?   Surely  NSA could have done a
>neater job of terminating the  errant Foster.  Widely reported as
>a deep-level cohort of Foster was Hillary Rodham Clinton.  If Ms.
>Clinton had been involved in Foster's alleged espionage,  then  a
>poorly executed termination of Foster might have been designed to
>embarrass  the  First  Lady,  weaken  her  influence, and thereby
>incidentally punish her as well.
>--------------------------<< Notes >>----------------------------

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