SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2008, Issue No. 63
June 27, 2008

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

Support Secrecy News:
http://www.fas.org/sgp/donate.html

IRAN'S ECONOMY, AND MORE FROM CRS

Noteworthy new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that have not been made readily available to the public include the following.

"The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11," updated June 23, 2008:

"Conventional Warheads For Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues for Congress," updated May 16, 2008:

"Iran's Economy," updated June 12, 2008:

"The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: Comparison of the Senate Amendment to H.R. 3773 and the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 3773," June 12, 2008:

"Awards of Attorneys' Fees by Federal Courts and Federal Agencies," updated June 20, 2008:


WHITE HOUSE REPORT ON U.S. ARMED FORCES

President Bush described the status of U.S. armed forces deployed in combat operations around the world in a brief report to Congress this month that was required by the War Powers Act.

"It is not possible to know at this time the precise scope or the duration of the deployment of U.S. Armed Forces necessary to counter the terrorist threat to the United States," he wrote.

See "A Supplemental Consolidated Report Consistent with the War Powers Act," June 17, 2008:


42 YEARS OF FOIA

July 4 will mark the 42nd anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act, Sen. Patrick Leahy noted in a statement on pending reforms to the Act.

"Now in its fourth decade [should be: fifth decade], the Freedom of Information Act remains an indispensable tool for shedding light on bad policies and Government abuses," he said. "But there is still much more to be done to ensure that FOIA remains an effective tool for keeping our democracy open and free."


100 YEARS SINCE TUNGUSKA

Monday, June 30 marks the 100th anniversary of the Tunguska incident in 1908, in which a meteor or comet fragment entered the atmosphere over Tunguska in Siberia producing an enormous explosion.

"We know that a rather massive body flew into the atmosphere of our planet," said Boris Shustov of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

"It measured 40 to 60 meters in diameter. Clearly, it did not consist of iron, otherwise it would have certainly reached the earth. The body decelerated in the atmosphere, the deceleration being very abrupt, so the whole energy of this body flying with a velocity of more than 20 meters per second [probably should be: kilometers per second] was released, which resulted in a mid-air explosion, very similar to a thermonuclear blast," he told Tass news agency yesterday.

"The yield of the explosion totaled 10 to 15 megatons, which matches the yields of the largest hydrogen bomb ever tested on the planet [not so: the largest nuclear test yield exceeded 50 megatons. The explosion felled some 80 million trees [but] it is generally assumed that the blast did not kill any people," he added.

"The Tunguska phenomenon showed that the asteroid-comet danger is quite real. It happened not in the era of dinosaurs, but in our recent history. Russia was definitely lucky; had the body flown up to the Earth several hours later, it would have hit St.Petersburg. The consequences would have been horrendous," he said.

"Impacts such as the Tunguska incident are thought to occur about once in one hundred years based on the density of impact craters on the Moon," according to a White Paper on Planetary Defense attached to the 1994 U.S. Air Force report Spacecast 2020.

A 2007 NASA summary report to Congress on planetary defense is here:

A longer account is here:

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

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, go to:
     http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/subscribe.html

To UNSUBSCRIBE, go to:
      http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/unsubscribe.html

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/sgp/donate.html