from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2008, Issue No. 19
February 22, 2008

Secrecy News Blog:


The Office of the Director of National Intelligence provided an overview of U.S. intelligence data mining development programs in a new report to Congress.

Data mining is used by intelligence agencies to search through databases in order to discern patterns of activity that could indicate a threat to national security.

The new report presents brief descriptions of several data mining-related intelligence projects, some of which have previously been publicly identified and others that appear to be newly disclosed.

"The Video Analysis and Content Extraction (VACE) project seeks to automate what is now a very tedious, generally human-powered process of reviewing video for content that is potentially of intelligence value."

"Reynard is a seedling effort to study the emerging phenomenon of social (particularly terrorist) dynamics in virtual worlds and large-scale online games and their implications for the Intelligence Community."

"Because application of results from these research projects may ultimately have implications for privacy and civil liberties, IARPA [the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency] is also investing in projects that develop privacy protecting technologies," the report stated.

The ODNI Report to Congress is unclassified, but was accompanied by a classified annex.

See "Data Mining Report," ODNI Report to Congress, February 15, 2008:


Although we have declined more requests for comment about Wikileaks than we have responded to, some participants in the project feel that we have said too much (Secrecy News, Feb. 19).

Jay Lim of Wikileaks sent the following advisory email today:

"Who's side are you on here Stephen? It is time this constant harping stopped."

"You know full well if you make n comments about us and m negative ones about us it'll only be the negative comment that is reported -- since everyone else has only positive things to say and by your position at FAS there is an expectation of positive comment. You are not a child. As a result of your previous criticism it seem you are becoming the 'go to' man for negative comments on Wikileaks. Over the last year, our most quoted critic has not been a right wing radio host, it has not been the Chinese ambassador, it has not been Pentagon bureaucrats, it has been you Stephen. You are the number one public enemy of this project. On top of everything else, your quote is the only critical entry on our Wikipedia page. Some friend of openness!"

"We are very disappointed in your lack of support and suggest you cool it. If you don't, we will, with great reluctance, be forced to respond."

"Jay Lim"


Some noteworthy new reports from the Congressional Research Service on nuclear weapons policy include the following.

"U.S. Nuclear Weapons: Changes in Policy and Force Structure," updated January 23, 2008:

"Nuclear Arms Control: The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty," updated January 18, 2008:

"Managing the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Policy Implications of Expanding Global Access to Nuclear Power," updated January 30, 2008:


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

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