from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 22
February 25, 2004
DSB: DOD HOMELAND SECURITY CAPABILITIES "IMMATURE"
- DSB: DOD HOMELAND SECURITY CAPABILITIES "IMMATURE"
- LOS ALAMOS SCIENCE JOURNAL RESTORED TO THE WEB
- DISPUTE OVER 1953 "STATE SECRETS" CASE CONTINUES
- IAEA REPORT ON LIBYA
- SSCI ANNUAL THREAT BRIEFING
- SUPREME COURT WON'T HEAR SECRET 9/11 CASE
- ONE WORLD OR NONE (1946)
"The conceptual thinking and the capabilities required to address the homeland security challenge are still immature," according to a recent Defense Science Board (DSB) study on the evolving role of the Department of Defense in homeland security.
The DSB addressed familiar concerns regarding information sharing, maritime security, infrastructure protection, incident response, and defense intelligence.
Many of the resulting recommendations are dull-edged and practically useless. Thus: "Upgrades are needed in all areas of intelligence collection" and "The analytic component of intelligence needs to be more highly integrated with collection."
But there are interesting and important nuggets scattered randomly throughout the report.
The DSB describes a previously unreported March 2003 memorandum of understanding on information sharing signed by the Director of Central Intelligence, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Attorney General. Among other things it prescribes procedures for a rapid-response 24 hour declassification cycle or "release upon request." (pp. 9-10).
A proposal first presented in Secrecy News for a "security policy laboratory" (SN, 01/10/03) and briefed to DoD consultants a year ago was adopted (without attribution) as a recommendation for "an information-sharing laboratory" that "is capable of testing evolving policies, tools, and techniques for information sharing." (p. 13).
The "Defense Science Board 2003 Summer Study on DoD Roles and Missions in Homeland Security," Volume I, is dated November 2003. It was quietly released last month. A copy is posted here (128 pages, 5.7 MB PDF file):
LOS ALAMOS SCIENCE JOURNAL RESTORED TO THE WEB
The recovery of information that was removed from the web site of Los Alamos National Laboratory continues with the posting of all back issues of Los Alamos Science, the lab's esteemed annual journal, on the Federation of American Scientists web site.
"In this magazine, we hope to provide a forum for scientists and engineers at [Los Alamos] to present their work to each other and to the wider community in a fashion that promotes understanding," according to the journal's inaugural issue in 1980.
Los Alamos Science has covered a daunting array of current topics in science and technology in reasonably accessible form, from nuclear science to supercomputing to "unsolved problems in the science of life." Its accounts of nuclear weapons history are themselves considered primary sources in the field. The special 1987 memorial issue on Stanislaw Ulam represents science at its most cultured and humane.
The deletion of this material was an error that promotes public stupidity, not national security.
Los Alamos Science "was taken off the web after 9-11" explained Joy E. Baker of the journal's editorial staff, as part of a scrub of the entire Lab web site.
"They plan to bring it back," she said on February 23, "but I couldn't hazard a guess when."
How about now?
All issues of Los Alamos Science from 1980 through 2002 are now posted here:
Most of this material was captured by Gregory Walker and Carey Sublette in their Los Alamos document collection (SN, 02/19/04). The remainder was located, ironically enough, on a temporary Los Alamos web page, with articles marked "restricted to LANL." No more.
DISPUTE OVER 1953 "STATE SECRETS" CASE CONTINUES
United States v. Reynolds, the 1953 Supreme Court decision upholding the "state secrets privilege," was founded on false affidavits provided by the Air Force, according to surviving plaintiffs from that case who have filed a new lawsuit alleging fraud.
In the latest round, the plaintiffs rebut the government's motion to dismiss their case. See their Memorandum in Opposition, filed February 24 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, here:
IAEA REPORT ON LIBYA
A "restricted" report of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Libya's pursuit of nuclear weapons technologies is now available here:
An initial assessment of what is new and interesting in the report was provided by "Analyst" here:
Another "restricted" though widely reported IAEA report on Iranian nuclear activities has not yet been obtained.
SSCI ANNUAL THREAT BRIEFING
The Director of Central Intelligence, the Director of the FBI and the Director of the DIA presented their annual threat briefing to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on February 24. (The State Department, which usually participates, was absent.)
The testimony was largely devoid of self-criticism or an appreciation of the loss of credibility suffered by U.S. intelligence as a result of the failure to locate the anticipated stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.
The witnesses' prepared statements are posted here:
Director Tenet "mistat[ed] the facts" and failed to give "honest answers" about U.S. intelligence support to UN weapons inspectors before the war, said Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) on February 23.
"The CIA did not share all of the top suspect WMD sites in Iraq that Director Tenet said twice publicly before the war that it had shared with U.N. inspectors," said Sen. Levin. "It is more evidence of the shaping of intelligence to fit the administration's policy objectives." See:
SUPREME COURT WON'T HEAR SECRET 9/11 CASE
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the secret detention of Mohamed K. Bellahouel, a Florida man who was apprehended for unknown reasons after September 11.
The decision upheld the government's position, which was presented in an extraordinary secret brief, and the Court rebuffed efforts by news media organizations to intervene.
See this story from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which helped bring the case to light:
See also "Supreme Court decision may limit access to terror cases" by Warren Richey, Christian Science Monitor, February 24:
ONE WORLD OR NONE (1946)
In an early assessment of the threat posed by nuclear weapons, the Federation of American Scientists in 1946 published a best-selling volume entitled "One World or None." Today, it has been posted on the FAS web site.
"'One World or None' is an illuminating, powerful, threatening and hopeful statement which will clarify a lot of confused thinking about atomic energy," according to one review in the New York Herald Tribune on March 17, 1946.
Others disagreed. "You cannot intelligently discuss the atomic bomb except against the background of present political realities," including the looming threat from the Soviet Union, according to an ABC News critique, and the authors displayed "a terrifying unawareness of politics."
"It remains a document of intense cultural interest," wrote historian Paul Boyer in his book "By the Bomb's Early Light," though it is also "a very disjointed affair.... For all their eloquence, the contributors were much better at evoking the atomic nightmare than at prescribing remedies."
Those contributors included Hans Bethe, Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Niels Bohr, Leo Szilard and other luminaries.
"By far the most gripping chapter of 'One World or None'" according to Boyer, "was 'If the Bomb Gets Out of Hand' by Philip Morrison."
"Priced at a dollar, the FAS 'One World or None' sold a hundred thousand copies," he noted. The full text of "One World or None" is now available here:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
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