from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2002, Issue No. 35
April 25, 2002
- ALL APOLOGIES
- PENTAGON PROPOSES NEW RULES ON INFO PROTECTION
- VICTOR WEISSKOPF, 93
- SAKHAROV REMEMBERED
- FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ADVANCES IN MEXICO, SCOTLAND
Through some quirk of our mailer software, the previous issue of Secrecy News was sent to some subscribers several times over the past two days. We apologize for the annoyance and appreciate your indulgence as we try to correct the problem.
PENTAGON PROPOSES NEW RULES ON INFO PROTECTION
The Department of Defense is developing new, post-September 11 regulations that would significantly increase controls on certain types of defense information, prompting concern about their potential adverse impact on academic researchers and other Pentagon contractors.
A March 2002 draft directive entitled "Mandatory Procedures for Research and Technology Protection Within the DoD" defines two new categories of controlled information: "Critical Program Information (CPI)" and "Critical Research Technology (CRT)."
These categories would encompass both classified and unclassified information, in a way that critics say would tend to erode the clear distinction between the two. The information in these categories would be subject to new controls that would prevent or inhibit publication and restrict access by foreign nationals.
The draft directive, which was first reported by Ron Southwick in the Chronicle of Higher Education online on April 24, is long (112 pages), dense, complex and boring. Its full implications are hard to assess even after multiple readings, but it would clearly make life more difficult for contractors.
"If approved in their present form, the directives can be expected to have a chilling effect on the defense research conducted by the nation's universities, industrial centers, and military laboratories," according to one critical Pentagon official interviewed by the Chronicle.
A copy of the draft regulations, which are still under official consideration, may be found here:
VICTOR WEISSKOPF, 93
Victor Weisskopf, the nuclear physicist who was one of the last surviving titans of the Manhattan Project era, died last weekend. He was a leading figure in the atomic scientists movement, a founder of the Federation of American Scientists, and an ardent advocate of nuclear arms control. See:
The distinguished Russian physicist and weapons designer Andrei Sakharov spent much of his adult life closely monitored by the KGB, particularly due to his outspoken criticism of the totalitarian state and his defense of dissidents and human rights activists.
KGB surveillance was generally no laughing matter, but Sakharov sometimes handled it with ironic wit, writes Richard Lourie in his new biography "Sakharov" (Brandeis University Press, 2002, p. 219).
"He once interrupted a conversation with another physicist to say that those eavesdropping wouldn't have been cleared to possess any knowledge about state atomic secrets and should be spared the discomfort."
Yesterday a resolution was introduced in the U.S. Congress to grant posthumous American citizenship to Andrei Sakharov.
"Fearless in the face of state repression, principled in his devotion to peace and disarmament, selfless in the pursuit of human rights for all, ... Dr. Andrei Sakharov is worthy of being posthumously granted honorary citizenship of the United States," said Rep. Christopher Smith, who introduced the resolution along with Rep. Barney Frank. See:
Since Sakharov has now been praised by everyone from President Reagan to President Putin, it takes no great courage to heap further honors upon the physicist, who died in 1989. But if the new resolution leads more people to consider the ever pertinent lessons of Sakharov's life, it will only have done good.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ADVANCES IN MEXICO, SCOTLAND
The lower house of the Congress of Mexico passed that country's first freedom of information law yesterday, according to an Associated Press report. The Mexican Senate was expected to follow suit in the near future.
Background information, analysis and documentation concerning "Freedom of Information in Mexico," prepared by Kate Doyle, are available on the web site of the National Security Archive here:
Coincidentally, the Scottish Parliament also passed a freedom of information law yesterday. Background on the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland is available here:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.
To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, send email to [email protected] with this command in the body of the message:
subscribe secrecy_news [your email address]
To UNSUBSCRIBE, send email to [email protected] with this command in the body of the message:
unsubscribe secrecy_news [your email address]
OR email your request to [email protected]
Secrecy News is archived at: