Aliens among us

More than a quarter of a century after filing a lawsuit to obtain federal documents about UFOs, a public interest group that believes this planet is in contact with aliens has learned why the government chose to withhold information -- and it's nothing earth-shattering.

In the early 1980s, the Arizona-based organization Citizens Against UFO Secrecy filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act against the National Security Agency for access to UFO-related records.

This month, a separate FOIA request from researcher Michael Ravnitzky uncovered a top-secret affidavit NSA filed in that lawsuit to justify withholding information.

The reason for all the hush-hush has more to do with overseas intelligence than outer space intelligence.

Most of the records were communications intelligence reports that "are the product of intercept operations directed against foreign government-controlled communications systems within their territorial boundaries," said Eugene Yeates, chief of NSA's Office of Policy, in his 1980 affidavit.

"I certify that disclosure of past and present foreign intelligence communications activities of NSA revealed in the records the plaintiff seeks would endanger highly valuable sources of foreign intelligence," the affidavit states.

That's their story, and they're sticking to it.

Preserving a hip-hop legacy

A lawmaker has introduced legislation that would protect all records related to the life and death of rapper Tupac Shakur in the National Archives.

The Tupac Amaru Shakur Records Collection Act of 2005, introduced Nov. 2 by Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), states that all government records "related to the life and death of Tupac Amaru Shakur should be preserved for historical and governmental purposes." Shakur was shot near the Las Vegas Strip in 1996 at the height of his controversial hip-hop and acting career.

The bill has no co-sponsors yet.

Aussies take D.C.

A high-ranking Australian official visited Washington, D.C., last week to see for herself how federal procurement works.

Sharman Stone, parliamentary secretary to Australia's minister of finance and administration, was not here to sightsee. Instead, she wanted to look at how the U.S. government awards contracts.

That's why she visited officials at the General Services Administration, Defense Department, Office of Management and Budget and Government Accountability Office.

It looks like officials from Down Under also need some guidance from policy-makers and watchdog folks because Stone stopped to visit Rep. Todd Platts (R-Pa.). Platts is chairman of the House Government Reform Committee's Government Management, Finance and Accountability Subcommittee.

It sounds like procurement problems are a global issue.

CSC is a winner

The Labor Department has awarded a New Freedom Initiative award to Computer Sciences Corp. The award recognizes individuals, nonprofit organizations and businesses that are committed to employing people with disabilities. CSC currently has more than 800 employees with disabilities, including 81 who were hired in the past year.

Find a link to more information about the award and recipients on Download's Data Call at download.

Meanwhile, CSC officials are fighting persistent rumors, exacerbated by press reports, that Lockheed Martin is preparing to buy the company, or at least its federal sector.

Sources tell us that CSC executives met with some employees last week and advised them to keep their eyes on the ball and not worry about things until they need to.

Got a tip? Send it to [email protected].


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