from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2012, Issue No. 95
September 19, 2012

Secrecy News Blog:


For decades, President Reagan's 1981 National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 7 remained entirely classified. According to a 1999 listing of Reagan NSDDs issued by the National Security Council, even the title of NSDD 7 was classified.

In 2008, the document was partially declassified, bearing the title "[deleted] Weapons." It stated: "The production and stockpiling of [deleted] weapons is authorized with stockpiling being restricted to the United States [deleted]."

What is this all about? What mysterious weapons were to be produced and stockpiled that could not be acknowledged three decades later?

In all likelihood, said Hans Kristensen of FAS, the deleted term describing the weapons is "enhanced radiation." Two enhanced radiation weapons started production in August/September 1981, he noted: the W70 (Lance warhead) and the W79 (artillery shell).

That likelihood is actually a certainty, said our colleague Allen Thomson, who pointed to the 1991 Bush directive NSD 59. The Bush directive, declassified in 1996, listed the title of NSDD 7 with no redactions: Enhanced Radiation Weapons.


"The Department of Defense does not conduct electronic or physical surveillance of journalists," Pentagon press spokesman George E. Little wrote in a September 6 response to reporters who had questioned the scope of official monitoring of their work.

The DoD disavowal of active surveillance is almost certainly true, as far as it goes. Even if there were surveillance to be done, it would probably not be performed by DoD. But the reporters' question was not a frivolous one. There is an historical basis for their concern.

The celebrated CIA "family jewels" report on illegal Agency activities prior to the mid-1970s that was finally released in full in 2007 included descriptions of CIA operations to surveil reporters in order to identify their confidential sources.

The operation known as CELOTEX I was summarized as follows: "At the direction of the DCI, a surveillance was conducted of Michael Getler of the Washington Post during the periods 6-9 October, 27 October - 10 December 1971 and on 3 January 1972. In addition to physical surveillance, an observation post was maintained in the Statler Hilton Hotel where observation could be maintained of the building housing his office. The surveillance was designed to determine Getler's sources of classified information of interest to the Agency which had appeared in a number of his columns."

CELOTEX II was described this way: "At the direction of the DCI, surveillance was conducted of Jack Anderson and at various times his 'leg men,' Britt Hume, Leslie Whitten, and Joseph Spear, from 15 February to 12 April 1972. In addition to the physical surveillance, an observation post was maintained in the Statler Hilton Hotel directly opposite Anderson's office. The purpose of this surveillance was to attempt to determine Anderson's sources for highly classified Agency information appearing in his syndicated columns."

The results of these surveillance activities were not reported in the CIA document.

Government attorneys this week reiterated their argument that New York Times reporter James Risen "does not have a 'reporter's privilege' to refuse to identify his source" in the prosecution of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who is accused of disclosing classified information to Risen. The attorneys cited a new ruling in another Circuit that rejected a similar claim of privilege, and they urged the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm their position.


"In 2011, 46.2 million people were counted as poor in the United States, the same number as in 2010 and the largest number of persons counted as poor in the measure's 53-year recorded history," according to a timely new report from the Congressional Research Service. See Poverty in the United States: 2011, September 13, 2012:

Other new and newly updated CRS reports that have not been made publicly available include the following.

Intelligence Authorization Legislation: Status and Challenges, updated September 18, 2012:

Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections, updated September 17, 2012:

Carbon Tax: Deficit Reduction and Other Considerations, September 17, 2012:

Energy Tax Incentives: Measuring Value Across Different Types of Energy Resources, updated September 18, 2012:

Congressional Responses to Selected Work Stoppages in Professional Sports, updated September 17, 2012:

Length of Time from Nomination to Confirmation for "Uncontroversial" U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominees: Detailed Analysis, September 18, 2012:


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

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