Center for American Progress

Ensuring Congressional Access to National Security Information
Press Advisory

Ensuring Congressional Access to National Security Information

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  On Friday, March 30, 2007, the Center for American Progress and for will host an address by The Honorable Jane Harman (D-CA), Chair of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information-Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment and former Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, who will discuss the importance of national security information to Congress and current efforts by the Administration to resist providing it.

Following Rep. Harman’s remarks, a distinguished panel of experts will examine the means by which Congress obtains and makes use of national security information in performing its oversight and investigative functions.

Featured Speaker:
Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA)

Featured Panelists:
Steven Aftergood, Senior Research Analyst and Director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists
Eleanor Hill, former Staff Director of the Joint Congressional Inquiry on the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and former Inspector General of the Department of Defense
Eric Lichtblau, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter on federal law enforcement and national security issues for the New York Times
Suzanne Spaulding, former Democratic Staff Director for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and former Assistant General Counsel for the Central Intelligence Agency

Moderated by:
Mark Agrast, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

March 30, 2007, 12:30pm 2:00pm
Lunch will be served at noon.


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Congresswoman Jane Harman is a leading congressional expert on terrorism, homeland security, and foreign affairs. Now in her seventh term, Rep. Harman was first elected in 1992 to represent California’s 36th Congressional district in Los Angeles’ South Bay.

In 2006, Rep. Harman completed eight years of service on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence—the final four as Ranking Member—where she played a lead role in the creation and passage of the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004. She was a familiar voice and frequent Administration critic on Iraq post-war policy and the need for a legal framework for post 9/11 policy on detentions, interrogations, and the government’s surveillance of American citizens. In the 110th Congress, Harman remains a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee and is Chair of its Intelligence, Information-Sharing & Terrorism Risk Assessment Subcommittee. She also serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Prior to her election to Congress, Rep. Harman worked as an attorney, served as deputy secretary to the Cabinet in the Carter White House, and served as special counsel to the Department of Defense. She began her career on Capitol Hill as chief counsel and staff director for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights.

Steven Aftergood is a senior research analyst at the Federation of American Scientists. He directs the FAS Project on Government Secrecy, which works to reduce the scope of government secrecy and to promote reform of official secrecy practices.

He writes Secrecy News, an email newsletter (and blog) which reports on new developments in secrecy policy for more than 10,000 subscribers in media, government, and among the general public.

In 1997, Mr. Aftergood was the plaintiff in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency which led to the declassification and publication of the total intelligence budget ($26.6 billion in 1997) for the first time in fifty years. In 2006, he won a FOIA lawsuit against the National Reconnaissance Office for release of unclassified budget records.

Mr. Aftergood is an electrical engineer by training (B.Sc., UCLA, 1977) and has published research in solid state physics. He joined the FAS staff in 1989. He has authored or co-authored papers and essays in Scientific American, Science, New Scientist, Journal of Geophysical Research, Journal of the Electrochemical Society, and Issues in Science and Technology on topics including space nuclear power, atmospheric effects of launch vehicles, and government information policy. From 1992-1998, he served on the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the National Research Council.

For his work on confronting government secrecy, Mr. Aftergood has received the James Madison Award from the American Library Association (2006), the Public Access to Government Information Award from the American Association of Law Libraries (2006), and the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award from the Playboy Foundation (2004).

Eleanor Hill returned to King & Spalding as a partner in October 2003 following her service as the Staff Director of the Joint Congressional Inquiry on the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As a member of the firm’s Special Matters/Government Investigations Group, her practice focuses on corporate internal investigations, Congressional and other government investigations, legislative and policy issues, compliance matters, and issues pertaining to homeland security and intelligence.

Prior to her work with the Joint Inquiry, Ms. Hill was a partner at King & Spalding. From 1995 through 1999, she served as Inspector General to the Department of Defense. She served as Chair of the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency, as the co-chair of the Intelligence Community Inspectors General Forum, and as a Member of the Attorney General’s Council on White Collar Crime. She was awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal by Secretary William Perry and the Bronze Palm to the Distinguished Public Service Medal by Secretary William Cohen.

From 1980 through February 1995, Ms. Hill was associated with the United States Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. As the Subcommittee’s Chief Counsel and Staff Director, she led numerous efforts to draft and negotiate legislative proposals in a variety of areas. In 1987, she also served as Liaison Counsel for Senator Sam Nunn on the Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition.

Ms. Hill is also an experienced federal prosecutor and trial lawyer, having served both as an Assistant United States Attorney in Tampa, Florida and as a Special Attorney with the Organized Crime Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Ms. Hill graduated, magna cum laude, from Florida State University and with high honors from the Florida State University College of Law. At Florida State, she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and the Law Review.

Eric Lichtblau covers federal law enforcement and national security issues for the Washington bureau of The New York Times as a reporter for the Times. Lichtblau was the first reporter to break the story of the National Security Agency’s warrantless electronic eavesdropping on millions of American citizens’ phone calls.

For his work on the domestic spying scandal, Lichtblau was the recipient of a Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and is also the 2006 recipient, with Times reporter James Risen, of the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. The Pulitzer jury applauded them “for their carefully sourced stories on secret domestic eavesdropping that stirred a national debate on the boundary line between fighting terrorism and protecting civil liberty.”

Lichtblau has recently uncovered more government monitoring activities. The Swift story, in which counter-terrorism officials accessed the banking transactions of thousands of Americans from an international database, has alarmed many. The government’s departure from typical practice in how they acquire large amounts of sensitive financial data has stirred concerns about legal and privacy issues.

Before coming to the Times, he worked for the The Los Angeles Times for 15 years in both California and Washington, focusing on investigative reporting, legal affairs, and law enforcement. He is currently working on a book on the remaking of federal law enforcement since 9/11.

Lichtblau is also a guest commentator on television, appearing frequently on CNN, CNBC’s Hardball, PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and C-SPAN’s Washington Journal. He also appears regularly on NPR’s All Things Considered. Lichtblau has given speeches for Cornell University, Syracuse University, Mensa, judicial and academic conferences, and other forums.

Suzanne Spaulding is Of Counsel at Bingham McCutchen LLP and Principal of Bingham Consulting Group LLP. She is an authority on national security related issues, including terrorism, homeland security, critical infrastructure protection, cyber security, intelligence, law enforcement, crisis management, and issues related to the threat from chemical, biological, nuclear, or radiological weapons. She works with clients to develop and implement legislative strategies around these and other issues.

She started working on national security issues on Capitol Hill over 20 years ago. More recently, she was the executive director of two congressionally mandated commissions: the National Commission on Terrorism, chaired by Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III, and the Commission to Assess the Organization of the Federal Government to Combat the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, chaired by former CIA Director John Deutch. She has been quoted regularly in media outlets around the country, offering analysis and insight into issues related to national security.

Suzanne served as minority staff director for the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Her previous legislative experience includes serving as deputy staff director and general counsel for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and as legislative director and senior counsel for Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA). She has also worked for Representative Jane Harman (D-CA).

She was assistant general counsel at CIA, including a position as legal adviser to the Nonproliferation Center, and also spent several years in private practice. In 2002, she was appointed by Virginia Governor Mark Warner to the Secure Commonwealth Panel, established after the attacks of September 11 to advise the governor and the legislature regarding preparedness issues in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She received her J.D. and B.A. from the University of Virginia.

Mark Agrast is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he focuses on the Constitution, separation of powers, terrorism and civil liberties, and the rule of law. Prior to joining the Center for American Progress, Agrast was Counsel and Legislative Director to Congressman William D. Delahunt of Massachusetts (1997-2003). He previously served as a top aide to Massachusetts Congressman Gerry E. Studds (1992-97) and practiced international law with the Washington office of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue (1985-91). During his years on Capitol Hill, Agrast played a prominent role in shaping laws on civil and constitutional rights, terrorism and civil liberties, criminal justice, patent and copyright law, antitrust, and other matters within the jurisdiction of the House Committee on the Judiciary. He was also responsible for legal issues within the jurisdiction of the House International Relations Committee, including the implementation of international agreements on human rights, intercountry adoption, and the protection of intellectual property rights.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he received his B.A. summa cum laude from Case Western Reserve University in 1978, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar from 1978-81, and received his J.D. in 1985 from Yale Law School. He is a member of the Supreme Court Bar and is admitted to practice in Ohio and the District of Columbia.

Agrast has been a leader in a number of professional and civic organizations, including the American Bar Association, in which he serves on the 37-member Board of Governors and its Executive Committee. He is a past chair of the ABA Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities and represents the section on the Executive Board of the ABA Center for Human Rights. He was elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation in 2001.