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The NSA Backs Down!!
r a AM-DeclassifiedCodes 11-26 0287
^Government Reverses Itself, Declassifies Studies On Secret Codes<
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The National Security Agency has reversed
itself and declassified two cryptography texts it previously had
insisted were secret even though they were available in public
The announcement Wednesday came as a result of a lawsuit filed
under the Freedom of Information Act by a Silicon Valley computer
scientist who believes private companies should have more access to
secret code technology.
The analyst, John Gilmore, asked the spy agency to declassify
the 50-year-old studies on encryption _ the science of designing
The U.S. Department of Justice recently had threatened to
prosecute Gilmore under a 1950s espionage law if he distributed
copies of the texts.
In court papers, an NSA official said disclosure of the
information could seriously damage national security. The agency is
in charge of protecting U.S. codes and cracking foreign ones.
Gilmore is a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
of Cambridge, Mass.
The organization believes now-secret encryption technology is
necessary for private companies to make modern computer and
telephone systems secure from tampering.
``Why shouldn't an American citizen be able to go to the library
and teach himself about encryption?'' asked Michael Godwin, a staff
counsel at the foundation.
Gilmore said he found copies of the once-declassified studies,
made secret again by the Reagan administration, in public
libraries. They presently are used as texts in military classes.
He said he plans to distribute 20 or 30 copies to other
libraries. The studies are about 1,000 pages long.