The recent posting of a secret CIA briefing on US intelligence, prepared for Japanese spooks who visited Agency headquarters in 1998, has drawn interest from the FBI, which requested that it be removed.
The briefing reveals confidential information, including the fact that the US has created executive boards to develop plans to 'penetrate' Iran, China, North Korea, Cuba and Russia. Those countries are prioritised for special attention under Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 35, issued by US President Bill Clinton.
The briefing, which also contains data on CIA budgets and personnel trends, was posted by New York City architect John Young at Cryptome.
Young maintains a large archive on intelligence issues. He says he received the briefing via e-mail from an pseudonymous source in Japan.
"We have a standing invitation for anyone who wants to have something published that governments don't want published," Young said in an interview Saturday, adding that he does not vouch for the authenticity of what he publishes. "We put it up and let people tell us if it's a spoof or if it's genuine."
The has CIA declined comment, but an unnamed US intelligence official quoted in the Sunday Washington Post said guests from Japan's national spook agency, the Public Security Investigation Agency (PSIA), received the briefing at CIA headquarters in June of 1998.
"Public disclosure of that information is troubling," the official told the Post. "In terms of the information, it is not insignificant. We're always concerned when classified information is disclosed publicly."
The briefing materials, said to have been presented by Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Collection Charles Allen, estimate the staff working for the National Foreign Intelligence Program to have fallen by more than 20 per cent, or approximately 20,500 employees, under the Clinton Administration. Despite the cutbacks, personnel costs grew from $4.7 billion to $5.4 billion over the same period. The US intelligence apparatus' total budget is thought to be in the neighbourhood of $30 billion.
Young also posted a file obtained from the same pseudonymous source which allegedly reveals over 400 names, dates of birth, and titles of PSIA staff, starting with Director General Hidenao Toyoshima, published under the title, "The Most Incompetent Intelligence Agency in the World."
Young said he was contacted on Thursday by two FBI agents who passed along a request from the Japanese Ministry of Justice that he remove the lists of Japanese agents from his site. Young said he refused, and was told by the FBI to expect the Japanese government to contact him directly.
PSIA General Affairs Chief Ichiro Shinjo is quoted in the Post as saying that his government believes the source of the materials to be a disgruntled PSIA employee who resigned under considerable legal pressure in 1998. The employee has posted documents from the PSIA on Web sites under his own name, Shinjo noted.
Young has identified his source only as "S.K." ®