from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 101
November 17, 2004


The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) contacted a private web site this week to advise that a one year old commercial satellite image of the Iraqi city of Fallujah should not have been publicly disclosed even though it is unclassified and should not be further distributed.

John Young of noted the incident and republished the unclassified image in question here:

The private web site at that was approached by NGA also retains the Fallujah image online.

The NGA asserts the right to limit disclosure of unclassified satellite imagery based on a statute enacted in 2000 (10 USC 455), which entitles the Defense Department to withhold imagery and related products under certain conditions, independent of their classification status.

That statute is implemented by DoD Directive 5030.59. It established the LIMDIS or Limited Distribution caveat for controlling unclassified satellite imagery. See:

Other current imagery of Fallujah is available through here:


Much of the burden of protecting the nation's critical facilities against terrorist attack falls on approximately one million security guards and other security personnel.

A new report from the Congressional Research Service examines their adequacy to the task, including questions of training, authority, salary, and more.

The Congressional Research Service does not permit direct public access to its products. A copy of the new report was obtained by Secrecy News.

See "Guarding America: Security Guards and U.S. Critical Infrastructure Protection," November 12, 2004:


Changes in the substance and presentation of al Qaeda public statements over the past several years are briefly analyzed in another new Congressional Research Service report obtained by Secrecy News.

See "Al Qaeda: Statements and Evolving Ideology," November 16, 2004:

A declassified Defense Intelligence Agency report on al Qaeda released to Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act is described and linked here:


A new report prepared for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency proposes a new information technology approach to the essential intelligence task of identifying signals of interest within enormous and growing volumes of data.

Intelligence analysts are "overwhelmed with intelligence reports from many sources that may provide them with incomplete or misleading information. There is a need for information technology to help the analyst with identification of threat cases, tracking and analysis of the data to confirm the emerging threat."

"The approach taken here is one of link discovery by matching transactional data stored in a relational database to a well-defined scenario describing a threat situation. The Link Analysis Workbench (LAW) is designed to find patterns (scenarios) buried within vast quantities of large and noisy datasets helping analysts find evidence to support the threat described in the pattern."

See "Link Analysis Workbench," SRI International, September 2004 (1.3. MB PDF file):


Physicist Melba Phillips, among the last of a vanishing generation of activist scientists who founded the Federation of American Scientists and fought the political battles of the early cold war, died last week.

A 1947 policy statement on "military secrecy and security" that she co-authored for the FAS leadership complained that the personnel security practices of the Atomic Energy Commission were "extra-legal, arbitrary, and often subversive of every right of the individual in a democracy" (quoted by Jessica Wang, American Science in an Age of Anxiety, p. 157).

FAS in its early years was sharply divided between liberal anticommunists, who eventually became dominant, and popular front liberals. Dr. Phillips was among the latter.

In 1952, she was summoned to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on internal security, but she refused to answer questions. She was subsequently fired from her teaching position at Brooklyn College. In 1987, the College formally apologized to her for its actions.

Melba Phillips is remembered in this Washington Post obituary:


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

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