from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2002, Issue No. 40
May 7, 2002


Proposed new security controls on research funded by the Department of Defense (DoD) have come under fire from within the Department and from concerned scientists in industry and academia.

The proposed measures are so expansive in scope that "they create the possibility for criminal sanctions to be brought against individuals publishing unclassified research," according to an internal DoD critique.

The controls, which are described in draft DoD directives, would erode longstanding distinctions between classified and unclassified information, as well as those between basic research and technology, according to the critique by Donald J. DeYoung of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

"If approved in their present form, the Directives can be expected to have a chilling effect on the defense research conducted by the nation's universities, industrial centers, and military laboratories," Mr. DeYoung wrote.

A copy of his April 2 White Paper on "Proposed Security Controls on Defense Research," obtained by Secrecy News, may be found here:

Defense Department security officials have been taken aback by the mounting controversy over the draft security directives and say it reflects a misapprehension of the directives' content and implications.

Nevertheless, the question of new controls on unclassified research has generated substantial concern among scientists, and is on the agenda of two closed high-level meetings of leaders of scientific organizations this week and next.


"Recently declassified U.S. documents show that despite legal limits and repeated public assurances by government officials, U.S. aid [to Colombia] has blurred the lines between counterdrug and counterinsurgency to the point that the U.S. is on the brink of direct confrontation with the guerrillas and ever deeper involvement in Colombia's seemingly intractable civil conflict," according to a new compilation of documents published by the National Security Archive.

See "Guerrillas, Drugs and Human Rights in U.S.-Colombia Policy, 1988-2002," edited by Michael Evans and published on May 3, here:

Related background information is available in a new Congressional Research Service report entitled "Andean Regional Initiative (ARI): FY2002 Supplemental and FY2003 Assistance for Colombia and Neighbors," dated April 23, here:


Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz spoke last week of the need "to understand the many facets of the Muslim world" and to strengthen the representatives of "Islam's tradition of tolerance and moderation."

The speech, which displayed unexpected breadth and discernment, has nothing to do with secrecy except that it received less public attention than it deserves.

See the text of Wolfowitz's speech, entitled "Bridging the Dangerous Gap between the West and the Muslim World," here:


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

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