|FAS Public Interest Report
The Journal of the Federation of American Scientists
Volume 57, Number 3
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Highlights from the Project Newsletter Secrecy News
July 4 A book-length Army study of the war in Iraq, entitled “On Point,” contains “a revealing and fairly critical account of lessons learned from the war.” But when the Center for Army Lessons Learned posted the study, the web version was coded so it could not be downloaded or copied or printed by readers.
“This may be unprecedented for a government web site” wrote SN. “If the Axis powers had won World War II, the whole internet might look like this.”
A Center spokesman said that the restriction on downloading was temporary due to copyright permissions not yet obtained at the time of posting and was designed to protect against “unscrupulous individuals” selling “our products.” A copy of the report was independently made available in downloadable form on the GlobalSecurity.org web site.
July 7 The British Parliament disclosed in an annual report the total amount the U.K. government spends for intelligence. In 2003-2004 the total budget for the nation’s three major intelligence agencies – GCHQ, the Security Service (better known as MI5) and the SIS (MI 6) – was $1,130.9 million pounds, a 20% increase over the prior year. Meanwhile, SN noted, the CIA continues to fight an FAS lawsuit asking that the intelligence budgets from 1947 through 1970 be disclosed. The total U.S. intelligence budget was revealed for the first time in 1997 ($26.6 billion at that time) in response to a previous FAS lawsuit.
April 23 SN reported a study by the Association of American Universities showing that universities report “a significant increase of situations where a [research] sponsor has has included language that either restricts the dissemination of research results or the use of foreign nationals without prior approval.” Of 138 cases cited, most restrictions were imposed by the Department of Defense. Not to be outdone, the DOD Inspector General released a report showing that “one university granted foreign nationals access to unclassified export-controlled technology without proper authorization.” In April SN also posted two Congressional Research Service reports on balancing national security with open publication of scientific data.
April 9 The nuclear power plant accident at Three Mile Island took place 25 years ago, but all the records concerning the March 28, 1979 incident have still not been released. SN reported on a request by Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) to three federal agencies to finally release these, to help communities that may have been affected.
March 26 SN reported the challenge from two members of Congress to the DOD’s decision to retroactively classify “50 specific recommendations” made by independent evaluators of DOD missile defense tests. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and John F. Tierney (D-Mass.) wrote that the decision “appears to be an attempt to stymie public debate.”
March 10 The Dalai Lama’s speech called for greater freedom of information in China to drive peaceful political change. To effect change smoothly, “We should seek truth from facts—facts that are not falsified,” he said. The occasion for the speech was the forty-fifth anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan People’s Uprising.