from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2011, Issue No. 14
February 9, 2011

Secrecy News Blog:


Secrecy News reported Monday on strange new guidance from the Air Force Materiel Command declaring that Air Force employees and even their family members could be prosecuted under the Espionage Act for accessing the WikiLeaks web site. On Monday night that new guidance was abruptly withdrawn.

Lt. Col. Richard L. Johnson of Air Force Headquarters released this statement:

A copy of the withdrawn release is archived here:


"Aftergood is too close to the center of power," said Julian Assange. "He is not an independent fighter for freedom of information."

The passing criticism of me (I'm also "jealous") was the first thing that caught my eye in the new book "Staatsfeind WikiLeaks" by Der Spiegel reporters Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark. But the book itself is quite a bit more interesting and perceptive than that.

The authors, who are neither fans nor opponents of WikiLeaks, go out of their way to gather new information about the origins and development of the project. They seek out contrasting perspectives and bring them to bear in interesting and challenging ways. Of course, the story is unfinished.

"WikiLeaks is an organization in transition, with a dialectical relation to the mass media. WikiLeaks has changed journalism, but journalism has also changed WikiLeaks," they write.

See the Spiegel website on "Staatsfeind WikiLeaks" here:

An English-language excerpt, published last month, is here:


At the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, "The original classification of information is rarely necessary," according to an October 2010 ODNI Instruction. But that's because most relevant information is already classified. There is not much need for new classification activity.

Several recent ODNI Instructions that govern the administration of the classification and declassification programs within the Office were released this week under the Freedom of Information Act.

"Classification of ODNI Information," ODNI Instruction 80.12, October 25, 2010:

"Original Classification Authority Delegation," ODNI Instruction 80.16, October 21, 2010:

"ODNI Director, Information Management," ODNI Instruction 10.20, May 18, 2009:

"Particular care should be exercised to avoid both over and under classifying ODNI information," the Instructions say.


CIA analysts studied data on major floods due to rainfall in North Korea since 1996 in order to devise a framework for evaluating the significance of such floods and their likely consequences for North Korean agriculture.

The analysts identified four principal variables: the intensity of the rainfall, the location of the rainfall, the time of year, and damage to non-agricultural infrastructure.

"Rainfall intensity and geography of flooding appear to be key variables with the most impact," their report said. "Critical periods in the agricultural growth cycle -- for sowing, growing, and harvesting -- and the scope and severity of infrastructure damage are compounding variables that can magnify the impact of major floods in key food producing areas."

All four elements were present in 1996 and 2007, when flooding produced the most severe agricultural impact. But using the methodology described, analysts judge that the cumulative impact of two instances of heavy rain in 2010 "has been relatively low."

A copy of the CIA report was obtained by Secrecy News. See "North Korea: Assessing the Impact of Flooding on Agricultural Output," CIA Open Source Works, December 15, 2010:


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, go to:


OR email your request to

Secrecy News is archived at:

SUPPORT the FAS Project on Government Secrecy with a donation here: