SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2002, Issue No. 127
December 24, 2002

NIXON'S NUCLEAR PLOY

Researchers probing through declassified records continue to discover momentous episodes in Cold War history that never made it into the history books because they were never intended to become public knowledge.

One such episode, in which U.S. nuclear forces around the world were put on heightened alert, is newly described by historians William Burr and Jeffrey Kimball.

"In 1969 President Richard Nixon ordered a worldwide nuclear alert-- one of the largest secret military operations in U.S. history. Only Nixon, his special adviser for national security affairs Henry Kissinger, Kissinger's National Security Council aide Col. Alexander Haig, and White House chief of staff H. R. 'Bob' Haldeman, knew that the underlying purpose of the alert, known as the 'Joint Chiefs of Staff Readiness Test,' was to convince the Soviets that helping to end the war in Vietnam was in their best interests."

See "Nixon's Nuclear Ploy" in the January/February 2003 issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists here:

Some of the underlying documentation uncovered by Burr and Kimball is posted on the web site of the National Security Archive here:


DECLASSIFIED IMAGERY OF USS PUEBLO

In 1968, North Korea captured the U.S.S. Pueblo, a U.S. Navy intelligence vessel, and held its crew hostage for eleven months.

The seized ship was soon located through aerial surveillance collected by the Central Intelligence Agency. That CIA surveillance imagery has recently been declassified, and acquired by GlobalSecurity.org, which posted selected images here:


INTERVIEW WITH RUSSIAN SVR DIRECTOR

"Does an intelligence officer's wife also need to be an intelligence officer?"

That was one of the questions posed to Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Director Sergey Lebedev in a wide-ranging interview in Rossiyskaya Gazeta published on December 20, the day on which Russia's security services are honored.

See the text of the interview, translated by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, here:


GROOM LAKE DISCLOSURE EXEMPTION RENEWED

The famous secret Air Force base near Groom Lake, Nevada, also known as Area 51, remains exempt from any and all environmental laws that would require the disclosure of classified information concerning the base.

President Bush formally renewed the exemption last September. His determination that "it is in the paramount interest of the United States" to prevent disclosure of information about the site was published in the Federal Register on December 24. See:


INDIA PASSES FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAW

India became the latest country to enact a Freedom of Information law, as the Indian parliament gave final approval to the legislation on December 16. The text of the new law has been posted on the freedominfo.org web site here:


NORTH KOREA CAN'T STAND NEW JAMES BOND FILM

In what must be the oddest sign of escalating tensions between the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the North Koreans have lashed out at the latest James Bond movie, "Die Another Day."

"The 20th installment of the American movie series James Bond 007 describes our Republic as an axis of evil and incites North-South confrontation and has contents that groundlessly belittle and humiliate our nation and even viciously insult our race," according to a December 19 broadcast on the Korean Central Broadcast Station in Pyongyang.

"We view this not as a certain movie producer's problem but as a product of the United States' policy of belittling the Korean nation and its hostile policy toward the DPRK."

"The movie is intolerable."

See "The United States' Shoddy Act of Insulting the Korean Nation," translated by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, here:

The next issue of Secrecy News will not be published until the week of January 6, 2003.

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

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