[Intelforum] Secrecy News -- 08/16/05 (IF)
bgross at airmail.net
Wed Aug 17 13:40:35 EDT 2005
Thank you for the information on Representative Weldon. There is an
expression running "exceptional claims require exception proof." Mr.
Weldon's claim certainly fall in the exceptional category and the
information you've provided reinforce the need for exceptional proof of his
claims. Again thank you for providing it.
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Subject: [Intelforum] Secrecy News -- 08/16/05 (IF)
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2005, Issue No. 80
August 16, 2005
** IT'S EASY FOR TERRORISTS
** PENTAGON ISSUES DOCTRINE ON HOMELAND SECURITY
** JASON ON TACTICAL INFRASOUND
** ABLE DANGER: WELDON UNLEASHED
** NRC ADOPTS POLICY ON DISCLOSURE OF SECURITY INFORMATION
** DECLASSIFICATION AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES
** SELECTED CRS REPORTS
** SUPPORT SECRECY NEWS
[. . .]
ABLE DANGER: WELDON UNLEASHED
Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) caused a stir lately by alleging that a
classified military intelligence data mining program codenamed ABLE
DANGER had identified September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta as a
threat as early as summer of 2000 and that the 9/11 Commission had
been so informed but had chosen to suppress the information.
In an official statement on the matter, former Commission Chair and
Vice Chair Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton disputed Weldon's account,
and Weldon himself has begun to backtrack, stating that he is no
longer certain that a chart he obtained from the military in 2001
actually named Atta.
A copy of the August 12 Kean-Hamilton statement is here:
Rep. Weldon has a history of making inflammatory allegations that
later proved to be unfounded.
On June 7, 1999 he stood on the House floor and accused the Clinton
Administration of leaking the design of the W87 nuclear warhead to
U.S. News and World Report. It was a charge he repeated several
times, referring to an artist's rendering of the W87 warhead which
appeared in the magazine's July 31, 1995 edition.
"This administration leaked this document to U.S. News & World
Report, giving the entire populace of the world... access to the
design of the W87 nuclear warhead," he alleged.
"I have been told... that it was [Secretary of Energy] Hazel O'Leary
herself who gave U.S. News & World Report the actual diagram of the
W87 nuclear warhead in 1995," he said.
On June 8, 1999 he stated flatly: "Hazel O'Leary leaked the plans,
which are in this magazine, for the W87 nuclear warhead."
None of this was true.
No government diagram of the W87 warhead was given to U.S. News.
The artist's rendering of the weapon was a conceptual drawing, not
a design. It was explicitly credited by the magazine to the
Natural Resources Defense Council. An NRDC analyst confirmed that
he had supplied the information to the graphic artist, and that it
was based on informed speculation, not classified information.
In accordance with the political tactics used to attack the
Clinton-Gore Administration throughout much of the 1990s, Rep.
Weldon never retracted or apologized for his unfounded accusations.
According to an August 10 story in The Hill, Rep. Weldon said House
Speaker Dennis Hastert will support his potential bid to become the
next chairman of the House Armed Services Committee in 2008.
NRC ADOPTS POLICY ON DISCLOSURE OF SECURITY INFORMATION
Following a dispute with the National Academy of Sciences over the
release of security-related information in an NAS report on spent
nuclear fuel, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission undertook a review
of its policy regarding public disclosure of such information.
An NRC Task Force prepared a report on the subject, and the NRC
recently approved a new statement of disclosure policy.
"The task force has concluded that the Commission has considerable
authority to withhold from public disclosure information that could
be useful, or could reasonably be expected to be useful, to a
terrorist, provided that the information is not readily available
to the public already," the report stated.
The resulting NRC policy concluded generally that "to the extent
practicable," the withholding of sensitive information from public
disclosure should conform to Freedom of Information Act principles
for withholding security-related information.
See "NRC Task Force Report on Public Disclosure of Security-Related
Information," Nuclear Regulatory Commission, May 18, 2005 (approved
June 30, 2005) (thanks to MJR):
DECLASSIFICATION AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES
A proposed rule on declassification of national security information
at the National Archives (NARA) would update current policy to
reflect President Bush's March 2003 amendments to classification
The proposed rule, published for public comment in the Federal
Register on August 12, also sets forth procedures for automatic
declassification and for reclassification of information that has
been previously declassified.
The Federal Register notice presents a useful and informative series
of questions and answers regarding classification and
declassification policy. (It mistakenly continues to refer to the
"Director of Central Intelligence," a position that no longer
Thus: "Can previously released White House-originated information be
reclassified or have its classification restored?"
The answer: "An agency or an entity within the Executive Office of
the President that solely advises and assists the President, may
ask NARA to temporarily close, review, and possibly reclassify or
restore the classification of White House-originated information
that has been declassified and previously released."
See the Proposed Rule on Declassification of National Security
Information, Federal Register, August 12:
SELECTED CRS REPORTS
The Congressional Research Service does not make its publications
directly available to the public. The following CRS reports were
obtained by Secrecy News.
"Missile Survey: Ballistic and Cruise Missiles of Selected Foreign
Countries," updated July 26, 2005:
"Iran's Nuclear Program: Recent Developments," updated August 2,
"'Bunker Busters': Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator Issues, FY2005
and FY 2006," updated August 2, 2005:
"Black Members of the United States Congress: 1870-2005," updated
August 4, 2005:
"Cambodia: Background and U.S. Relations," July 8, 2005:
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