SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
February 8, 2001

REPORT ON HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM DUE

The Department of Energy has finally completed the long-deferred declassification of a report entitled "Highly Enriched Uranium -- The First 50 Years." Publication of the document, which provides historical information on the production and disposition of the nation's weapons-grade uranium stockpile, has been promised for years.

In anticipation of "media interest," "Options for release of the report are being developed" according to the DOE Office of Nuclear and National Security Information (ONNSI).

One of the purposes of the report, broadly speaking, is to "lead by example" and to promote increased international transparency concerning stockpiles of fissionable materials. "I see it as a plus for nonproliferation if it is played right," one official said.

Plans for release of the report are noted in an internal ONNSI Weekly Report obtained by Secrecy News. The weekly report, dated February 6, also contains information on the status of various other DOE declassification activities that will be of interest to those who are interested. See:

The forthcoming report on highly enriched uranium is a companion to an earlier DOE report "Plutonium: The First 50 Years," published in 1996. That report is available here:


WORLDWIDE THREAT HEARING

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence yesterday held its annual overview of threats facing the United States.

Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet, along with Defense Intelligence Agency Director Vice Admiral Thomas R. Wilson and Thomas Fingar of the State Department's INR, provided an updated official assessment of a broad spectrum of national security threats. These include the proliferation of missiles and weapons of mass destruction; the challenges posed by Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Colombia, among others; terrorism, demographic changes, disease; and more.

The three prepared statements of DCI Tenet, Admiral Wilson, and Mr. Fingar are posted here:

Toward the end of the hearing, Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Shelby asked DCI Tenet about the impact of "leaks," i.e. unauthorized disclosures of classified information, on CIA operations and capabilities.

Tenet dutifully replied that leaks have been "devastating to us in terms of protecting sources and methods." He endorsed the need for legislation to criminalize leaks, notwithstanding public opposition and President Clinton's veto of such legislation last year.

Sen. Shelby asked, "Will you work with us on trying to tailor some legislation with the Justice Department and Defense that would help solve this problem?" Mr. Tenet said that he would.

Last year's aborted anti-leak legislation, Tenet said, was directed at "government or former government employees who knowingly violated their oath and the law. There was never any intention to go after the press, there was never any intention to go after whistleblowers, there was never any intention to deny anybody constitutional rights.... And if there are ways to make that clear in the legislation, we should work together to make it clear."


DEUTCH DAMAGE ASSESSMENT

The Pentagon's General Counsel concluded in a report released last week that although former Deputy Secretary of Defense (and former DCI) John Deutch had committed numerous security breaches involving the mishandling of classified information, there was no evidence that national security had actually been damaged.

"While the possibility of compromise cannot be foreclosed with certainty, our analysts have found no evidence of compromise to date," according to the January 19 memorandum, which was released in partially declassified form on February 1.

The redacted text of the Office of General Counsel memorandum on the Deutch case is now available online here:

Supporters of Wen Ho Lee said the Deutch damage assessment and his subsequent pardon were further indications of the disparate treatment of the two security offenders, noting that there was also no evidence that Wen Ho Lee's downloaded files had been compromised. "Equal treatment under the law is a hollow promise," exclaimed Cecilia Chang of wenholee.org.

"Now that Deutch has been pardoned," Senator Shelby asked DCI Tenet insinuatingly at the close of yesterday's hearing, "do you have any plans to reinstate his clearances?"

"No," Tenet replied.

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