from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 36
April 4, 2007

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An eagerly awaited book on the history of the Chinese nuclear weapons program will not be published due to objections from the Central Intelligence Agency, which said it contains classified information.

A federal court last week ruled that the CIA was within its rights to block disclosure of 23 sections of a manuscript by former Los Alamos intelligence specialist Danny B. Stillman, who had brought a lawsuit asserting his First Amendment right to publish the volume.

During the 1990s, Mr. Stillman traveled to China nine times, including six trips that took place after his retirement in 1993. He visited nuclear weapons facilities and "engaged in extensive discussions with Chinese scientists, government officials, and nuclear weapons designers," resulting in a 506-page manuscript entitled "Inside China's Nuclear Weapons Program."

Since he was a Los Alamos employee prior to retirement, and maintained a security clearance thereafter, he submitted his manuscript to the government for pre-publication review, as required by the non-disclosure agreements that he had signed.

His book was written for publication and did not include classified information, in the author's judgment.

Significantly, the Department of Energy, which has principal classification authority over nuclear weapons design data, concurred. After initial resistance, DOE gave its approval for publication of the entire volume.

But the Central Intelligence Agency, DIA and DoD were opposed.

In a March 30 ruling, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the DC District Court wrote that the non-disclosure agreements signed by Mr. Stillman contain "incredibly broad language" with regard to protection of classified information.

And upon review, the Court said it was persuaded that "the government has properly classified the twenty-three passages in Stillman's manuscript."

Since those passages constitute about 15% of the total manuscript and include some of the most interesting and valuable information that he gathered in his travels to China, the author said he would not publish the remainder.


A study performed recently for the U.S. Department of Agriculture documented the search for geospatial information -- satellite imagery, maps, aerial photography and other records -- on Haiti.

In so doing, the authors provided a template and a guide to accessing the wealth of worldwide geospatial data that is now in the public domain. Detailed information on products and sources is given.

See "Geospatial Data Availability for Haiti: An Aid in the Development of GIS-Based Natural Resource Assessments for Conservation Planning" by Maya Quinones, William Gould, and Carlos D. Rodriguez-Pedraza, U.S. Department of Agriculture, February 2007:


The Dual Axis Radiographic Hydro-Test facility (DARHT) at Los Alamos Laboratory was the subject of a technical assessment from the mysterious JASON defense science advisory panel.

A copy of the October 2006 study, simply entitled "DAHRT," is here:

It was first reported on April 1 in the Albuquerque Journal by John Fleck, who also blogs at


Some recently updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that have not been made readily available to the public include the following.

"Declarations of War and Authorizations for the Use of Military Force: Historical Background and Legal Implications," updated March 8, 2007:

"The Iran Sanctions Act (ISA)," updated January 25, 2007:

"Homeland Security: Compendium of Recommendations Relevant to House Committee Organization and Analysis of Considerations for the House, and 109th and 110th Congresses Epilogue," updated March 2, 2007:

"Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances," updated February 27, 2007:

"Kosovo and U.S. Policy," updated February 27, 2007:

"Industrial Competitiveness and Technological Advancement: Debate Over Government Policy," updated March 19, 2007:


Gary Sellers, who was an attorney, a cherry farmer, a former congressional aide, husband, father and many other things, died last month in a car accident.

"He was very interested in openness in government," his wife Sally Determan said, and so the family asked fellow mourners to give donations to the FAS Project on Government Secrecy in lieu of flowers.

One of the first "Nader's Raiders" who supported Ralph Nader's consumer advocacy campaigns in the late 1960s, Sellers pleaded with Nader unsuccessfully in 2000 not to campaign against Al Gore in battleground states, the Washington Post noted in a March 24 obituary.

As a congressional staffer and attorney, he was instrumental in the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and in the development of miner safety laws.

"Millions of American workers who will never know his name are safer today because of Gary Sellers," said one colleague.

A crowded March 30 memorial service for Mr. Sellers at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington contained much more laughter than might have been expected, but not any fewer tears.

Mr. Sellers was known to be generous to friends and strangers.

"At the end of the season, he always gave away what was left of his [cherry] crop," the Rappahannock News reported on March 14.

Now his family and friends are expressing their own generosity with donations to the FAS Project on Government Secrecy to help promote open government in his memory. And that's what we're going to do.


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

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