from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 46
May 2, 2007

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A new U.S. Army regulation on Operations Security (OPSEC) would sharply restrict the ability of soldiers to participate in public life without supervision and authorization from superior officers.

The regulation also encourages Army personnel to view attempts by unauthorized persons to gather restricted information as an act of subversion against the United States.

"All Department of the Army personnel and DoD contractors will... consider handling attempts by unauthorized personnel to solicit critical information or sensitive information as a Subversion and Espionage Directed Against the U.S. Army (SAEDA) incident," the regulation states (at section 2-1).

"Sensitive" information is defined here (at section 1-5(c)(3)(e)) to include not just vital details of military operations and technologies but also documents marked "For Official Use Only" (FOUO) that may be exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

It follows that inquisitive members of the press or the public who actively pursue such FOUO records may be deemed enemies of the United States.

In what seems to be a serious conceptual muddle, the new regulation conflates OPSEC, which is supposed to be a defense against adversaries of the United States, with FOIA restrictions, which regulate public access to government information. As a result, it appears that OPSEC procedures are now to be used to control access to predecisional documents, copyrighted or proprietary material, and other FOIA-exempt records.

A copy of the new regulation, dated April 19 and itself marked For Official Use Only, was obtained by Wired News and is posted here:

and here:

Taken at face value, the regulation would spell the end of military blogging and would severely curtail military participation in public life. It imposes a non-discretionary pre-publication review requirement, stating that "all Department of the Army personnel... will... consult with their immediate supervisor... prior to publishing or posting information in a public forum." (sec. 2-1).

It was reported by Noah Shachtman in "New Army Rules Could Kill G.I. Blogs (Maybe E-mail, Too)," Danger Room, May 2:

The terms of the Army regulation are so expansive as to create innumerable new opportunities for violations and infractions.

Just this week, for example, the Army's own 1st Information Operations Command ironically posted a briefing on "OPSEC in the Blogosphere," marked For Official Use Only:

(Thanks, again, to Entropic Memes at


The planning and performance of Joint Special Operations are described in some detail in a new publication from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"Joint special operations (SO) are conducted by SOF [special operations forces] from more than one Service in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments to achieve military, diplomatic, informational, and/or economic objectives employing military capabilities for which there is no broad conventional force requirement."

"These operations may require low visibility, clandestine, or covert capabilities."

"SO differ from conventional operations in degree of physical and political risk, operational techniques, use of special equipment, modes of employment, independence from friendly support, and dependence on detailed operational intelligence and indigenous assets."

See "Joint Special Operations Task Force Operations," Joint Publication 3-05.1, 26 April 2007 (400 pages, 1.8 MB PDF):


"Air Force intelligence components do not engage in experimentation involving human subjects for intelligence purposes," a new Air Force Instruction states categorically.

Except for the exceptions.

"Any exception would require approval by the Secretary or Under Secretary of the Air Force and would be undertaken only with the informed consent of the subject and in accordance with procedures established by AF/SG to safeguard the welfare of subjects."

The new Instruction presents a generally scrupulous account of the regulatory framework within which Air Force intelligence operates. It addresses domestic search and surveillance, imagery collection and dissemination, mail covers, and other intelligence activities.

See Air Force Instruction 14-104, "Oversight of Intelligence Activities," 16 April 2007:

Some other noteworthy new Air Force Instructions include these:

AFI 10-2604, "Disease Containment Planning Guidance," 6 April 2007:

AFI 40-201, "Managing Radioactive Materials in the U.S. Air Force," 13 April 2007:


"During calendar year 2006, the Government made 2,181 applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for authority to conduct electronic surveillance and physical search for foreign intelligence purposes," according to the latest Justice Department report to Congress on implementation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The court approved 2,176 applications, making substantive modifications to 73 of them, and denying one, in part.

The Open Government Act of 2007, which would strengthen several access provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, was favorably reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration by the full Senate. Much of the Committee report on the bill was devoted to a lengthy critique by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), who unsuccessfully opposed it, and a letter from the Justice Department, likewise in opposition. See:

The responsibilities of various Pentagon components in dealing with the threat of weapons of mass destruction are delineated in a new directive. See "Department of Defense (DoD) Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Policy," DoD Directive 2060.02, April 19, 2007:

"Sudan: The Crisis in Darfur and Status of the North-South Peace Agreement" is the subject of a report from the Congressional Research Service, updated March 27, 2007:


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

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