from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2002, Issue No. 61
July 10, 2002
INADVERTENT DISCLOSURES OF CLASSIFIED INFO
- INADVERTENT DISCLOSURES OF CLASSIFIED INFO
- HOMELAND SECURITY AND FOIA
- NEW CRS REPORTS ON MISSILE PROLIFERATION, DEFENSE
- INTELLIGENCE OVERSIGHT ABROAD
The Department of Energy yesterday published its latest quarterly report to Congress on classified nuclear weapons information that has been inadvertently disclosed through declassification of historical records.
Out of approximately 2 million pages of publicly available declassified records that were examined between November 2001 and February 2002, DOE reviewers found 239 pages of classified information.
The most common revelation was "nuclear weapon storage locations" from several decades ago, information that is normally of minimal sensitivity. Other documents contained classified data on topics such as "thermonuclear weapon design or function" and "interface between nuclear weapon and delivery system."
An assessment of what damage, if any, might have resulted from the disclosures was not made available. The inadvertently disclosed records were removed from public access.
See the "Sixth Report on Inadvertent Releases of Restricted Data and Formerly Restricted Data under Executive Order 12958 (Deleted Version)," dated February 2002 and released yesterday, here:
HOMELAND SECURITY AND FOIA
The Bush Administration's proposal for a Department of Homeland Security includes an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act for certain critical infrastructure information provided to the Department by private industry. In testimony before a House Subcommittee yesterday, David Sobel of the Electronic Privacy Information Center argued against that idea.
"Rather than seeking ways to hide information, Congress should consider approaches that would make as much information as possible available to the public, consistent with the legitimate interests of the private sector," said Mr. Sobel. "This is particularly critical in the context of the new Department, which will assume an unprecedented range of responsibilities involving public safety."
See his July 9 testimony here:
NEW CRS REPORTS ON MISSILE PROLIFERATION, DEFENSE
Recent releases from the Congressional Research Service concerning missile proliferation, missile defense and related issues include these:
"Cruise Missile Proliferation," by Christopher Bolkcom and Sharon Squassoni, July 3:
"National Missile Defense: Russia's Reaction," by Amy F. Woolf, updated June 14, 2002:
"Nuclear Nonproliferation Issues," by Carl E. Behrens, updated May 10, 2002:
INTELLIGENCE OVERSIGHT ABROAD
The Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) has announced a workshop on "Democratic and Parliamentary Oversight of Intelligence Services" to be held in Geneva, Switzerland on October 3-5, 2002.
"Democratic control is a particularly challenging task when it comes to intelligence agencies," notes the workshop prospectus. "There is a legitimate requirement of secrecy, that is, for restricting details of the operations of intelligence agencies. This imperative for secrecy, however, can be abused and may lead to inefficiency, unauthorised actions, or the misuse or politicisation of intelligence agencies.... This workshop will attempt to examine the many challenges of implementing effective democratic and parliamentary oversight of the intelligence sector."
More information on the workshop will become available through the DCAF web site:
For the first time, a subcommittee of the European Parliament will be granted access to classified information on a regular basis, enabling Parliamentarians to exercise enhanced oversight of European Union secret military and intelligence programs.
See "Parlamentarische Kontrolle fuer EU-Geheimdienste" in the July 8 Der Spiegel here:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
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