from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 13
February 5, 2007

Secrecy News Blog:

Support Secrecy News


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) "continues to receive information on terrorist threats to the U.S. aviation industry and to the Western aviation industry worldwide," according to a May 2006 DHS threat assessment that was partially released last week.

Yet "an independent assault at the Los Angeles International Airport in July 2002 that left two dead and four wounded near the El Al ticket counter remains the sole successful aviation-related terrorist attack within the United States since 11 September 2001," the document noted.

Approximately two-thirds of the unclassified DHS aviation threat assessment was withheld from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. But all of the endnotes were disclosed, including open source references to remotely piloted vehicles, lasers, parachutes and shoulder-fired missiles.

See "Strategic Sector Assessment: U.S. Aviation," DHS Homeland Infrastructure Threat & Risk Analysis Center (HITRAC), 18 May 2006 (redacted for public release):


The U.S. Navy has issued updated instructions on the use of nicknames to refer to Navy activities, events and other information.

"A nickname is a combination of two separate unclassified words, assigned an unclassified meaning that is employed for unclassified, administrative, morale, or public information purposes. Nicknames may be assigned to actual, real-world events, projects, movement of forces, or other non-exercise activities," the new policy states.

"Nicknames should not be confused with code words. A code word is a single word assigned a classified meaning by appropriate authority to ensure proper security concerning intentions and to safeguard information pertaining to actual, real-world military plans or operations classified as CONFIDENTIAL or higher once activated."

The choice of nicknames should not "express a degree of aggression inconsistent with traditional American ideals or current foreign policy." Nor should it "convey anything offensive to good taste or derogatory to a particular group, sect, or creed."

See "Code Word, Nicknames, and Exercise Terminology System," OPNAVINST 5511.37D, January 30, 2007:

A dictionary of thousands of code words, nicknames and related terms was compiled by Bill Arkin in Code Names (, published in 2005.


Noncombatant evacuation operations are addressed in a new doctrinal publication from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"Noncombatant evacuation operations (NEOs) are conducted to assist the Department of State (DOS) in evacuating US citizens, Department of Defense (DOD) civilian personnel, and designated host nation (HN) and third country nationals whose lives are in danger from locations in a foreign nation to an appropriate safe haven."

As generic doctrine, the 169-page document contains but a single passing reference to Iraq, and does not address the question of U.S. obligations toward Iraqi non-combatants.

See "Noncombatant Evacuation Operations," Joint Publication 3-68, January 22, 2007:


Noteworthy new reports of the Congressional Research Service include the following.

"U.S. Strategic and Defense Relationships in the Asia-Pacific Region," January 22, 2007:

"Kinetic Energy Kill for Ballistic Missile Defense: A Status Overview," updated January 5, 2007:

"Afghan Refugees: Current Status and Future Prospects," January 26, 2007:

"Chemical Facility Security: Regulation and Issues for Congress," January 31, 2007:

"Islamist Extremism in Bangladesh," January 31, 2007:


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

The Secrecy News blog is at:

To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, send an email message to with "subscribe" (without quotes) in the body of the message.

To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a blank email message to

OR email your request to

Secrecy News is archived at:

SUPPORT Secrecy News with a donation here: