Secrecy News

FAS Statement on Personnel Security (1954)

When the government revoked the security clearance of J. Robert Oppenheimer on purported national security grounds in April 1954, it sent shock waves through the scientific community and elsewhere.

If Oppenheimer, the man who had done more than any other individual to advance the development of the atomic bomb, was a security risk to the nation, then who might not be?

In the aftermath of the Oppenheimer proceeding, the Federation of American Scientists issued two short statements (pdf) on how to improve personnel security policy so as “to safeguard the rights of present and prospective government employees and to promote the true security of the nation.”

The FAS statements, presented to Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Lewis L. Strauss in July 1954, still have some pertinence today.

Secrecy News’ friend Priscilla McMillan’s superb account of the security proceeding against Oppenheimer has just been published in paperback.

See “The Ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer” by Priscilla J. McMillan, Penguin Books, 2006.

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