SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2009, Issue No. 81
October 13, 2009

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

PUBLIC ACCESS TO DTRA DOCUMENTS RESTORED

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) recently deleted the publications web page for its Advanced Systems and Concepts Office, inhibiting broad public access to many of the agency's arms control and proliferation-related studies. But most of the affected DTRA publications have been recovered and reposted in a new DTRA archive on the Federation of American Scientists website.

DTRA's public affairs office was unable or unwilling to explain the deletion of the ASCO publications web page, except to indicate that it was a policy decision, not an accident. A 2008 version of the now-deleted DTRA page is available here via the Internet Archive:

Not all of the suppressed DTRA studies are of equal or enduring interest. Some are perfunctory, derivative or dated. But others provide food for thought, as well as insight into government thinking on various national security topics.

A 2007 DTRA-sponsored report entitled "Terrifying Landscapes" presented "a study of scientific research into understanding motivations of non-state actors to acquire and/or use weapons of mass destruction."

A 2003 report attempted to quantify the occurrence of biological weapons-related information in certain open source scientific publications.

Whatever DTRA's motivation may have been, impeding public access to archived public records on government websites is an unwholesome act. So we have taken steps to reverse it. See our compilation of selected DTRA reports here:


OSC REPORTS ON GUINEA SLAUGHTER, JAPANESE SPACE

The DNI Open Source Center (OSC) recently issued a brief report summarizing international criticism of Guinea's ruling military junta after Guinean security forces killed more than 100 civilians at a September 28 opposition rally.

Another new OSC report described Japanese officials as confident and optimistic about the future of their space program, following a successful rocket launch and the docking of an unmanned Japanese spacecraft with the International Space Station.

While innocuous, neither report has been approved for public release. Copies were obtained by Secrecy News.


COUNTERINSURGENCY OPERATIONS, AND OTHER STUFF

Counterinsurgency refers to "comprehensive civilian and military efforts taken to simultaneously defeat and contain insurgency and address its core grievances," a new publication from the Joint Chiefs of Staff explains. See Joint Publication 3-24 on "Counterinsurgency Operations," 249 pages, October 5, 2009:

JP 3-24 is not to be confused with the celebrated December 2006 Army Field Manual 3-24 on "Counterinsurgency."

Former Bush White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan wrote a book last year in which he faulted the Bush Administration for a lack of candor in connection with the war in Iraq, mishandling of classified information in the Scooter Libby case, and other defects. A contentious House Judiciary Committee hearing on the matter was held on June 20, 2008, the record of which has just been published, with an August 2009 response from Mr. McClellan.

The Czech Republic's Security Information Service (BIS) has published its 2008 annual report, available here:

Trinidad and Tobago signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty last week becoming the 182nd nation to have signed the treaty, which would prohibit all nuclear explosive tests.

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

See also "Reducing Government Secrecy: Finding What Works" by Steven Aftergood, Yale Law and Policy Review, vol. 27, no. 2, Spring 2009:
      http://www.fas.org/sgp/eprint/aftergood.pdf

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