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NSA Requests Delay in CPSR Clipper Lawsuit

Tidbits: NSA has classified an `entire Federal program in substantial
part' surrounding Clipper. Also, CPSR filed similar suit over NSA
secrecy & classification of DES.

Note: This is a standard NSA tactic, evasion by delay. They don't
respond to FOIA requests in the legislated time frame (1-2 weeks) using
the same delay technique. Maybe if we send nasty email to the laywers
all will be well =)


From: Dave Banisar <[email protected]>
Organization: CPSR, Washington Office
 Subject: NSA Asks For One Year Delay in Clipper Case
  NSA Seeks Delay in Clipper Case
     The National Security Agency (NSA) has asked a federal court
for a one-year delay in a lawsuit challenging the secrecy of the
government's "Clipper Chip" encryption proposal.  The suit was
filed by Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR)
on May 28 and seeks the disclosure of all information concerning
the controversial plan.
     In an affidavit submitted to the United States District Court
for the District of Columbia on August 9, NSA Director of Policy
Michael A. Smith states that
     NSA's search for records responsive to [CPSR's] request
     is under way, but is not yet complete.  Because the
     Clipper Chip program is a significant one involving the
     participation of organizations in four of NSA's five
     Directorates and the Director's staff, the volume of
     responsive documents is likely to be quite large.
     Moreover, because the Clipper Chip program is highly
     complex and technical and is, in substantial part,
     classified for national security purposes, the review
     process cannot be accomplished quickly.
     CPSR called for the disclosure of all relevant information
and full public debate on the proposal on April 16, the day it was
announced.  While NSA has insisted from the outset that the
"Skipjack" encryption algorithm, which underlies the Clipper
proposal, must remain secret, the Smith affidavit contains the
first suggestion that the entire federal program is classified "in
substantial part."  In the interest of obtaining timely judicial
review of the agency's broad classification claim, CPSR intends to
oppose NSA's request for delay in the court proceedings.
     In another case involving government cryptography policy,
CPSR has challenged NSA's classification of information concerning
the development of the Digital Signature Standard (DSS).  The
court is currently considering the issue and a decision is
expected soon.
     CPSR is a national public-interest alliance of computer
industry professionals dedicated to examining the impact of
technology on society.  CPSR has 21 chapters in the U.S. and
maintains offices in Palo Alto, California, and Washington, DC.
For additional information on CPSR, call (415) 322-3778 or
e-mail <[email protected]>.