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FAS Note: This May 2001 Energy Department report to Congress follows earlier reports submitted to Congress in 1999 and 2000 concerning inadvertent disclosures of classified information.

DOE/SO-22-0003 (Deleted Version)

Third Report on Inadvertent Releases of Restricted Data and
Formerly Restricted Data under Executive Order 12958
(Deleted Version)(U)

Report to:

The Committee on Armed Services of the Senate
The Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives
The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Nuclear and National Security Information
Germantown, Maryland 20874

May 2001


The National Defense Authorization Acts for Fiscal Years 1999 and 2001 (Public Laws (P.L.) 105-261 and 106-398), require that the Secretary of Energy notify the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate, the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives, and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs of inadvertent releases of Restricted Data (RD) or Formerly Restricted Data (FRD) associated with records processed under Executive Order (E.O.) 12958.

As a result of the Department of Energy's (DOE's) examination of an additional approximately 100 million pages of publicly available records accessioned by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Department discovered an additional 288 documents containing 840 pages of RD and FRD which were inadvertently released.

The identified documents are in collections belonging to the Department of State and the Department of Defense (Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), Army, Navy, and Air Force). The documents were inadvertently declassified and made available to the public during the years from 1995 to 2000 by the Department of State, the Department of the Navy, and NARA. Three of the documents were subsequently found on the Internet.

No classified documents of the DOE or its predecessor organizations were found.

The documents contained RD and FRD information, including:

A significant portion of the documents (225 of the 288) were improperly marked for classification level (e.g., Secret), classification category (e.g., RD), and/or automatic classification level downgrading and/or declassification. The impropoer markings occurred when the documents were originated, or at a later time during the lifetime of the documents. The improper marking of the documents for classification level, classification category and/or downgrading/ declassification may have contributed to the inadvertent release of the documents and their RD and FRD content.

NARA, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense have been advised that the specific documents contain RD and FRD. The 288 documents have been withdrawn from public access and protected in accordance with DOE requirements.

The inadvertently released nuclear weapons design information (RD) detailed in this report concerns the first generations of nuclear weapons that this country developed in the 1940's and 1950's. Potential adversaries, emerging proliferant nations and terrorist groups aggressively target U.S. nuclear weapon information. Official documents and records are often regarded as having significantly more value than other sources of information about nuclear weapons related information. Information regarding older weapons is of significant value since they are often technically less sophisticated. These designs would be most readily used by a would-be nuclear proliferant to obtain its first nuclear weapon.

The inadvertently released nuclear weapons utilization information (FRD) detailed in this report could assist potential adversaries in assessing the strengths of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Additionally, inadvertently released information on deployments of nuclear weapons outside of the U.S. may violate international agreements and harm diplomatic ties with foreign host nations.

The inadvertently released naval nuclear propulsion information (also RD) addressed in this report could assist adversaries in the development of nuclear propulsion systems for their submarines and surface ships.

DOE will be conducting an assessment of the damage to national security resulting from the inadvertent release of RD and FRD addressed in this report.

In accordance with P.L. 105-261, and the Special Historical Records Review Plan, DOE has trained 1,267 individuals to recognize RD and FRD information. This included 156 individuals from the Department of State, 58 from the Department of the Navy, and 76 from NARA. Additional training has been scheduled this year for NARA and is available to other government departments/agencies.

DOE and NARA are working to better integrate their efforts to more quickly identify and safeguard documents potentially containing RD and FRD. The immediate objective is to identify through surveys those file series currently available to the public that are most at risk to contain RD and FRD, and to safeguard those file series until a detailed analysis can be performed.

Specific details regarding the inadvertent releases are contained in the attached classified appendix.

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