from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2012, Issue No. 32
April 10, 2012

Secrecy News Blog:


On April 3, the National Reconnaissance Office successfully launched a classified intelligence satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Notwithstanding the usual operations security measures, amateur satellite trackers were able to locate the satellite in orbit within a few hours and even to videotape its passage overhead.

Last week's launch is the first of four scheduled launches of NRO satellites in the next five months. Last year, the NRO launched six satellites over a seven month period.

"We are in the middle of a launch campaign with an unprecedented operational tempo across national security space programs," said Gil Klinger, deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, at a March 8 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

"Many of our space capabilities have become the 'dial tone' of national security," Mr. Klinger said. "And like the dial tone of our telephones, we take their availability and presence for granted, noticing only when there is an unplanned service interruption."

By intelligence community standards, the NRO has demonstrated exceptional financial management, said Betty Sapp, NRO principal deputy director.

"For the third year in a row, the NRO received a clean audit opinion on our Financial Statements, a truly unprecedented accomplishment within the IC," she said at the March 8 hearing.


New reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has not made publicly available include the following.

Lean Finely Textured Beef: The "Pink Slime" Controversy, April 6, 2012:

Government Procurement in Times of Fiscal Uncertainty, April 9, 2012:

An Analysis of STEM Education Funding at the NSF: Trends and Policy Discussion, April 9, 2012:

Federal Depository Library Program: Issues for Congress, March 29, 2012:

Export-Import Bank: Background and Legislative Issues, April 3, 2012:

The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR): Developments in Trade and Investment, April 9, 2012:


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

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