SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2005, Issue No. 75
August 4, 2005

SUPPRESSED BRAC CRITIQUES DISCLOSED

Two internal Department of Defense critiques of the highly contentious Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process that were withheld from Congress despite an explicit request have been obtained by Secrecy News and are being published today.

On July 21, 2005, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner wrote to the Department of Defense to request a copy of all papers written by a defense analyst named Don J. DeYoung on BRAC proposals for consolidating DoD laboratories and technical research centers. See Senator Warner's letter here:

In a July 25, 2005 response, acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England forwarded six such papers by Mr. DeYoung. See his response here (2.9 MB PDF file):

But two other sharply critical internal papers by DeYoung were not provided to the Senate Armed Services Committee. They are being released today by Secrecy News.

An explanatory introduction -- which was written by an anonymous "concerned citizen" and is not an official document -- puts the dense and highly technical DeYoung papers in some context. See:

The first paper, entitled "Shadows on the Wall: The Problem with Military Value Metrics," is a critique of the bias in military metrics that, the author says, favors the largest DoD laboratories and centers in the realignment process. It is posted here (1.5 MB PDF file):

The second paper, "Defending the Technical Infrastructure Proposals of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Round," finds significant methodological flaws in the proposed consolidation of DoD technical facilities that "if implemented, will contribute toward a degradation of national defense capabilities."

The unclassified documents are marked "Draft Deliberative Document - For Discussion Purposes Only - Do Not Release Under FOIA."

They were provided by a government source who believed they should not have been withheld from Congress.


COURT IS ASKED TO SCRUTINIZE SECRECY CLAIMS

A wide-ranging critique of government secrecy practices was presented in a friend of the court brief filed yesterday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in a case brought by the ACLU challenging the use of so-called national security letters.

The brief was written by Meredith Fuchs of the National Security Archive and Marcia Hoffman of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. The FAS Project on Government Secrecy and the National Whistleblower Coalition were also party to the brief.

See "Archive, Secrecy Experts Urge Court to Scrutinize Government Secrecy Claims," National Security Archive, August 3, 2005:


HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI YIELDS

The Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed by the United States sixty years ago this weekend on August 6 and 9, 1945, in the first use of nuclear weapons in war.

The explosive yields of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear blasts, approximately 15 kilotons and 21 kilotons respectively, were estimated in a 1985 Los Alamos paper by John Malik.

The paper, which included detailed mission profiles and parameters, was formerly available online through the Los Alamos research library, but now it is among the thousands of unclassified documents whose online access is "restricted to selected government agencies."

But a copy is available through the Federation of American Scientists.

See "The yields of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear explosions" by John S. Malik, Los Alamos report number LA-8819, September 1985 (1.8 MB PDF file):

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

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