SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2006, Issue No. 59
May 19, 2006

Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

Support Secrecy News: http://www.fas.org/static/contrib_sec.jsp

DNI REPORTS "SUBSTANTIAL PROGRESS" IN INTELLIGENCE REFORM

In an unusually informative new report to Congress, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) advised that he "is making substantial progress in the implementation of the [Intelligence Reform Act of 2004].

The DNI outlined the actions he has taken to integrate the U.S. intelligence bureaucracy and alluded in passing to several new initiatives he has undertaken. For example:

"For the first time, the IC [intelligence community] is reassessing all of its relationships with foreign counterparts to determine whether new relationships may be beneficial and whether there are additional activities that need to be deconflicted."

And: "The ODNI is reviewing information disclosure policies and is working to improve training and awareness of information security procedures, implement audit technologies, and ensure that unauthorized disclosures are investigated."

"The ODNI will soon issue a community-wide directive on unauthorized disclosures."

"The ODNI has established a digital library of all new intelligence products produced by the community to bring together all available national intelligence on any given topic.... To ensure that analysis is based on all available sources, the ODNI is exploring ways to increase the capacity of analysts across the community to exploit the full range of classified data and openly available information relevant to national security."

"The analytic ombudsman recently reviewed IC tradecraft and assumptions on the recent Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections, and lessons learned from that exercise are already being put into place."

See "Report on the Progress of the Director of National Intelligence in Implementing the 'Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004'," May 2006:


THE HAYDEN CONFIRMATION HEARING

"I do think we overclassify, and I think it's because we got bad habits," said Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the nominee to be the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

See the full transcript of his May 18 confirmation hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence here:


SELECTED CRS REPORTS

Several noteworthy new reports of the Congressional Research Service obtained by Secrecy News that are not otherwise readily available in the public domain include the following.

"Nuclear Command and Control: Current Programs and Issues," May 3, 2006:

"Iraqi Civilian, Police, and Security Forces Casualty Estimates," May 8, 2006:

"Social Unrest in China," May 8, 2006:


IN PRINT: IMAGINARY WEAPONS

The military subculture that pursues the development of fabulous, physically impossible weapons concepts at taxpayer expense is the subject of a new book by defense reporter Sharon Weinberger called "Imaginary Weapons."

Weinberger introduces the hafnium bomb, a hypothetical weapon that would supposedly harness the energy released from a nuclear transition within a hafnium isomer. It is a purely speculative notion that has been largely discredited, but one that attracted nearly cultish attention -- and millions of dollars -- within the defense establishment.

It is akin in its eccentricity, and lack of reproducibility, to "zero point energy," "psychic teleportation," and other notions that Weinberger terms "fringe science."

Fringe science, she contends, "has reached new heights under the Bush Administration. We have fewer and fewer scientific experts in the government, and an increasing unwillingness by the government to turn to outside scientific advisers."

"The real danger in this story is not the existence of fringe science, but of fringe science in government, particularly when it receives substantial funding or guides decision-making."

"I see this problem getting worse, not better. If the government doesn't take steps to shore up its scientific expertise, I think we are facing a future filled with imaginary weapons."

Her highly readable new book, filled with entertaining or disgusting anecdotes, has just been published.

See "Imaginary Weapons: A Journey Through the Pentagon's Scientific Underworld" by Sharon Weinberger, Nation Books, June 2006:

******************************

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

The Secrecy News blog is at:
      http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, send an email message to [email protected] with "subscribe" (without quotes) in the body of the message.

To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a blank email message to [email protected].

OR email your request to [email protected]

Secrecy News is archived at:
      http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/index.html

SUPPORT Secrecy News with a donation here:
      http://www.fas.org/static/contrib_sec.jsp