from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2002, Issue No. 38
May 1, 2002


One way to develop an appreciation for freedom of the press is to envision what its loss would mean. A new formulation of press restrictions issued by the government of the People's Republic of China is quite useful for this purpose.

The latest PRC "Regulation on Management of Publications" includes a daunting list of items whose publication is prohibited, naturally including those "which leak state secrets [or] endanger national security."

Also verboten are articles that "damage national honor and interests"; "publicize cults and superstitions"; "disrupt public order and undermine social stability"; "endanger social ethics or outstanding national cultural traditions," and much, much more.

"When exercising freedom of the right of publishing, citizens ... must not undermine the interests of the state...," the regulation instructs.

See the December 2001 regulation, newly translated last month by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, here:

A U.S. Department of Justice report to Congress on the need for new measures to combat leaks of classified information to the media was imminent but not yet available on the afternoon of May 1.


"I am worried about a movement to restrict publication that has been proceeding quietly but quickly in Washington," said Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences in a speech at the academy's annual meeting this week.

"Some of the plans being proposed could severely hamper the U.S. research enterprise and decrease national security," he said. "New administrative rules are being seriously considered for unclassified scientific and technological research -- including fundamental, basic research -- that deals with so-called 'critical research technologies.' It is being suggested that every manuscript resulting from work supported by federal funds be cleared by a federal project officer before being published, with serious penalties for violations. Another rule could prevent any foreign national from working on a broad range of projects."

In sum, "The possibility of excessive restrictions on scientific publication, motivated by security concerns, [poses a] clear threat to science today...," Alberts said.

His April 29 speech is linked from here:

The term "critical research technology" mentioned by Dr. Alberts appears in a recent draft DoD directive that is available here:


America depends on its foreign service officers to convey to the world the value of "openness," said Secretary of State Colin Powell in a recent swearing-in ceremony for new State Department personnel.

"Every day, as you do your jobs, people will be watching you... Do you represent openness? ... Do you communicate by your actions, by your voice, by your way of going about your business, that openness that is so characteristic of the American way?"

See Secretary Powell's March 1 speech here:


The Defense Security Service has issued a new "industrial security letter" to advise defense contractors of current policy issues concerning the protection of classified information in industry. See the April 22 publication here:


The Homeland Security Information Sharing Act was mischaracterized in the April 30 issue of Secrecy News. The bill was originally introduced in late February as H.R. 3825. It was reintroduced on April 25 as H.R. 4598 following a change in the definition of "homeland security information."

"Critical Program Information (CPI)" was incorrectly described as a new information control category in the April 25 Secrecy News. It is not new. It has been in use since at least 1997 when it appeared in DoD Directive 5200.39 as a successor to "Essential Program Information, Technologies, and/or Systems (EPITS)."


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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