14 December 2000

This responds to a message at: http://cryptome.org/cia-2619-rc.htm#afj

The Crowley list: http://cryptome.org/cia-2619.htm

From: NameBase@cs.com
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000 16:33:23 EST
Subject: My AFIO letter
To: jya@pipeline.com

Dear John Young:

The anonymous freelance journalist who is trying to suggest that
Cryptome is obligated to remedy this "Crowley list" situation is
very much off the mark.

Whether or not you call yourself a journalist, this is not the
issue. There are no real standards, legal or ethical, that are
observed in U.S. journalism today. If there were, we wouldn't
need a site such as Cryptome, that covers stories that well-paid
journalists are instructed to avoid.

Cryptome's only obligation is toward the fullest possible
disclosure regarding the source of the information it receives.

You have met this obligation with respect to the Crowley list.
As soon as it was suggested that it was misrepresented by the
person who provided it, Cryptome posted the evidence for all to
see and evaluate.

It is unreasonable for anyone to expect more than this from you,
whether you choose to call yourself a journalist or not. (I rather
prefer your own self-description, that you are not a journalist,
but rather a public forum for those who need one.) In any case,
it's not easy to check out 2,500 names and addresses, and you had
no obligation to do so.

I don't feel that you are legally liable should you continue to
make this list available on your site, as long as those who access
it know what they are getting. However, I'm no Supreme Court judge,
so I don't know anything about these subtle issues of law. I'm sure
of one thing: there are at this moment some people, evil lawyers
included, who are trying to devise strategies and arguments that
will force you to remove the list.

The issue will be this: Now that you know that the list is
essentially the AFIO membership directory list, are you obligated
to remove it, or to seek permission from AFIO before you decide
to keep it on your site? That's the legal formulation.

Let's be clear that in all probability, the list itself is no
longer the issue. In the real world, any legal challenge to
Cryptome by AFIO, or by one or more AFIO members, will only serve
to make the list more interesting and more widely disseminated on
the Internet. But that doesn't change the fact that a legal
precedent in AFIO's favor would be an extremely important first
step in the direction of curtailing Cryptome and sites like it.
The list itself pales in comparison to what's really at stake here.

This has the potential for becoming a replay of something we've
already seen, except that now, instead of Hollywood vs. Napster,
it could be AFIO vs. Cryptome. The former merely involved copyright
vs. free music, while this one involves the public's right to know
about secret agents who are following secret orders issued by the
government the people elected. (Somehow, "government the people
elected" sounds stranger than it used to).

But I happen to feel that you are also in a strong legal position.
Accordingly, I have scanned the correspondence between AFIO and me
on this that occurred nearly four years ago, in case you want to
encourage discussion or start looking for a lawyer. I never received
a reply to my response to Mr. Whipple. In all probability, if you
have legal problems, so does NameBase. We may as well put our cards
on the table and invite them to show their hand.

Daniel Brandt

Attachment: AFIO.ZIP (38 K)

[Attachment: text and images]
March 11, 1997

Mr. David D. Whipple
Association of Former Intelligence Officers
6723 Whittier Ave., Suite 303A
McLean, VA 22101

Dear Mr. Whipple:

I am surprised by your letter of 3 March 1997, in which you request
that PIR discontinue the listing of names from the 1994 AFIO
Directory. I would like confirmation that this is indeed the policy
of AFIO, and clarification of why you feel that we have an
obligation to comply.

In the first place, this is a change of policy for AFIO, and you
provide no evidence that this change has been approved by your
membership or your Board. In Periscope, Winter 1988, page 19, you
describe our database semi-favorably and note that it includes "the
membership rosters of AFIO." The 1987 roster had the same notice in
it as the 1994 roster. From this Periscope endorsement, I concluded
that our use of your directory did not fall within the definition
of the pro forma notice in your directory.

Secondly, a number of AFIO members use NameBase and none has ever
objected. And many journalists use NameBase, some of whom
occasionally want to interview former intelligence officers. Your
complaint is the first we have received since the 1983 directory
was entered. My impression has been that one purpose of AFIO is to
reach out to the media; you yourself spend much time and effort on
this. Am I to assume that AFIO enjoys media exposure, but only on
its own terms? Many of those who work in the same Washington
circles as you support our work. Can you show that any damage
resulted from our listing of your names for the last 14 years, or
are you merely assuming that the potential for such damage exists?

Third, your directory notice does not cover our use of the
directory. We are using the names for informational purposes
pursuant to the public's right to know -- not fund-raising,
political, or commercial purposes. We are a 501(c)(3) public
charity, much like a public library. Since we serve the
journalistic community, we also claim First Amendment protection.
Any information we acquire that we can legally make available for
the purpose of serving the public's right to know, is within the
mandate of our statement of purpose.

Fourth, I believe you are misinformed about copyright law. Material
which crosses our desk gets indexed by us at our discretion. Since
we do our own name indexing of all material, without any scanning
or copying of the index in the back of a book, the Library of
Congress tells us that we own the copyright on our software and our
data. For the 500 copyrighted books in NameBase, as well as for
your directories, we did our usual name index (i.e., an index of
only the names, compiled by us) of the source. No publisher has
ever claimed that it violates their copyright, and I don't believe
it violates yours either.

Finally, you always give your members the option of leaving their
names out of the directory. From this, we conclude that those who
are listed are essentially willing to place their association with
AFIO into the public record. Now you are asking us to purge our
data þ a time-consuming and expensive task. You should instead
explain to your members that once their name is listed in your
directory, you have little or no control over who may become aware
of their association with AFIO. That's a much more reasonable
approach, and one which better serves both the privacy of your
members and the public's right to know.

Please do not construe this letter as a refusal of your request;
I am willing to consider it further once the above points are



Daniel Brandt

cc: Hayden Peake
    Elizabeth Bancroft