SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2002, Issue No. 2
January 4, 2002

NUCLEAR POSTURE REVIEW STILL CLASSIFIED

The Bush Administration's long-awaited Nuclear Posture Review, which defines the structure of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and proposes "a significant change" to it, was transmitted to Congress on December 31, but only in classified form.

"I have asked our folks to see if we can take that classified version and declassify it," said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a January 3 press briefing. "Because of its importance and because of the new direction it takes, I think it belongs in the public in some form." See:


DOE IG FAULTS NUCLEAR WEAPON INSPECTIONS

The Department of Energy has not investigated defects and malfunctions in nuclear weapons in a timely fashion, according to a recent DOE Inspector General (IG) report.

"In some instances, confirming the need for an investigation took over 300 working days," according to the report. "Once initiated, the majority of investigations examined [by the IG] were open more than one year."

The findings "raise serious concerns about the process the Department has employed to maintain a satisfactory confidence level in the nuclear weapons stockpile."

The December 18 report is posted here:

See also "Report Finds Shortcomings in Energy Dept. Arms Testing" by Walter Pincus in the January 3 Washington Post:


SOME REAGAN PAPERS RELEASED

Eight thousand pages of Reagan Administration papers were unsealed January 3 out of 68,000 pages that are subject to the Presidential Records Act.

The partial release came pursuant to a Bush Administration executive order which imposes new restrictions on public access to such records.

A detailed inventory of the new release is available here:

Despite the release, "The legality of the [Bush] executive order is still very much a live issue," according to Scott Nelson of Public Citizen, who represents a coalition of historians and public interest organizations that have filed suit to challenge the Bush order. See:


WHAT ABOUT THE CIA?

The terrorist attacks of September 11 clearly rank among the biggest failures of U.S. intelligence.

Put another way, the events of September 11 are bound to hold extraordinarily important lessons for every aspect of intelligence, from structure and function to interagency coordination to personnel, information dissemination, and so on. The very definition of intelligence -- its essential attributes and whom it is supposed to serve -- may be ripe for reconsideration.

Yet the lessons of September 11 may go unlearned because of the positive aversion in official Washington to asking the questions about intelligence that need to be asked. An attempt to establish a statutorily-based investigative commission was recently derailed in the House of Representatives.

"The reason for drawing heightened attention to this single greatest failure of American intelligence since Pearl Harbor is that no official steps have so far been taken to find out how it could have happened," writes Thomas Powers in the latest New York Review of Books.

Powers presents the views of CIA's most ardent critics: "a vocal group of former intelligence officers -- mostly young, mostly field officers from the Directorate of Operations, mostly well-respected and destined for solid careers until they chose to leave -- who believe that the CIA is in steep decline."

But even those who disagree with those critics told Powers that what ails the CIA cannot be remedied without a thorough and officially sanctioned investigation.

See "The Trouble with the CIA" by Thomas Powers in the New York Review of Books (17 January 2002) here:

Last month, Senators Joseph Lieberman and John McCain announced their own initiative to establish an investigation of the events of September 11.

"With the first stage of the war against terrorism now drawing to a close," said Senator Lieberman on December 20, "and with many perplexing questions still before us, we must now begin in earnest the process of finding answers to how it happened."

Accordingly, Senators Lieberman and McCain introduced a pending bill (S. 1867) to establish the "National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States." See:

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Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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