Author: Katie Colten

Event: Joseph Rotblat and the Pugwash Conferences

  The Atomic Heritage Foundation is pleased to partner with the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University and the Federation of American Scientists to host the event, “Joseph Rotblat and the Pugwash Conferences" on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 from 10am-Noon in Washington, DC. The program will focus on the life and legacy of nuclear physicist Joseph Rotblat (1908-2005); his dedication to world peace and reducing the threat of nuclear weapons as the founder and driving force behind the international Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs for six decades.  The program will consider the Pugwash Conferences’ contributions to ending the Cold War and reducing the nuclear threat in the post-Cold War world.

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FAS Roundup: May 21, 2012

NATO Security Summit in Chicago, NSA declassification blunder, weapons in space and much more.   NATO Security Summit The 2012 NATO Security Summit is underway in Chicago, with heads of state and governments of NATO member states convening to discuss regional and global security challenges. Key items on the summit agenda include a transition plan for NATO forces in Afghanistan after the end of combat in 2014, NATO's defense and security goals, and tactics to enhance NATO partnership with non-member states. For more information on the NATO Summit, visit our policy page here. From the Blogs NSA Declassifies Secret Document After Publishing It: The National Security Agency last week invoked a rarely-used authority in order to declassify a classified document that was mistakenly posted on the NSA website with all of its classified passages intact. The article is a historical study entitled Maybe You Had to Be There: The SIGINT on Thirteen Soviet Shootdowns of U.S. Reconnaissance Aircraft.  It was written by Michael L. Peterson and was originally published in the classified journal Cryptologic Quarterly in 1993.

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FAS Roundup: May 14, 2012

Cost of B61 bomb escalating, radioactive smuggling, cyber threats and much more. From the Blogs USAF Drones May Conduct  "Incidental" Domestic Surveillance: U.S. Air Force policy permits the incidental collection of domestic imagery by unmanned aerial systems (drones), but ordinarily would not allow targeted surveillance of a U.S. person.  The Air Force policy was restated in a newly reissued instruction on oversight of Air Force intelligence. Legally valid requirements for domestic imagery include surveillance of natural disasters, environmental studies, system testing and training, and also counterintelligence and security-related vulnerability assessments. Air Force units are authorized to acquire domestic commercial imagery for such validated purposes. B61 Nuclear Bomb Costs Escalating: The expected cost of the B61 Life-Extension Program (LEP) has increased by 50 percent to $6 billion dollars, according to U.S. government sources. The escalating cost of the program – and concern that NNSA does not have an effective plan for managing it – has caused Congress to cap spending on the B61 LEP by 60 percent in 2012 and 100 percent in 2013. What is a National Security "Partnership" and More from CRS: Secrecy News has obtained recently released CRS reports on topics such as U.S. nuclear cooperation with India, Japan-U.S. relations and same sex marriage. What is a Cyber Threat?: In order to establish a common vocabulary for discussing cyber threats, and thereby to enable an appropriate response, authors of a new report released by Sandia National Laboratories propose a variety of attributes that can be used to characterize cyber threats in a standardized and consistent way.

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FAS Roundup: May 7, 2012

New report on non-strategic nuclear weapons, missing classified document, U.S. nuclear forces and much more. New Report on Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons: A new FAS Special Report written by Hans M. Kristensen comes three weeks before 28 NATO member countries convene in Chicago on May 20-21 to approve the conclusions of a year-long Deterrence and Defense Posture Review (DDPR). Among other issues, the review will determine the number and role of the U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons deployed in Europe and how NATO might work to reduce its nuclear posture.   From the Blogs Counterintelligence Surveillance Under FISA Grew in 2011: In a new report to Congress from the Department of Justice, in 2011 the U.S. Government submitted 1,745 applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for authorization to conduct electronic surveillance or physical searches under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The report states that of that number, there were 1,676 requests for authority to perform electronic surveillance. In 2010, there were 1,579 such applications (including 1,511 for electronic surveillance). Classified Records Said to be Missing from National Archives: A three-year investigation by the Inspector General found that more than a thousand boxes of classified government records are believed to be missing from the Washington National Records Center (WNRC) of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). But there are no indications of theft or espionage, an official said. Admin Presses for Renewal of FISA Surveillance Authority: The Obama Administration is urging Congress to renew provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act that are set to expire at the end of this year. One of the key provisions of the act would permit the electronic surveillance of entire categories of non-U.S. persons who are located abroad “without the need for a court order for each individual target.”

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FAS Roundup: April 30, 2012

Investigation into leak prosecutions, nuclear forensics, new CRS reports and much more.   From the Blogs Senate Review of CIA Interrogation Program "Nearing Completion": The Senate Intelligence Committee has been reviewing the post-9/11 detention and interrogation practices of the Central Intelligence Agency for four years and is still not finished.  But the end appears to be in sight. Committee staff are said to have reviewed millions of pages of classified documents pertaining to the CIA program. Govt Appeals Court-Ordered Release of Classified Document: On April 29,  government attorneys said that they would appeal an extraordinary judicial ruling that required the release of a classified document in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The document in question is a one-page position paper produced by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) concerning the U.S. negotiating position in free trade negotiations.  It was classified Confidential and was not supposed to be disclosed before 2013. Nuclear Forensics: A terrorist attack using an improvised nuclear device would be hugely destructive. During the Cold War, nuclear weapons had a 'return address' since the U.S. could trace the trajectory back to the point of origin. Dr. Y investigates the background of nuclear forensics in a new post on the ScienceWonk Blog. Patent Office Weighs Patent Secrecy for "Economic Security": Steven Aftergood writes that in response to congressional direction, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is considering whether to expand the scope of patent secrecy orders — which prohibit the publication of affected patent applications — in order to enhance “economic security” and to protect newly developed inventions against exploitation by foreign competitors. Currently, patent secrecy orders are applied only to patent applications whose disclosure could be “detrimental to national security” as prescribed by the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951.

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FAS Roundup: April 23, 2012

New op-ed on diplomacy with North Korea, GAO intelligence review, new CRS reports and much more. From the Blogs GAO Completes an “Intelligence Related” Review: Following years…

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FAS Roundup: April 16, 2012

France’s nuclear forces, water security in Yemen, innovation in secrecy policy and much more. From the Blogs Secret Satellite Promptly Detected in Orbit: On April 3,…

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FAS Roundup: April 9, 2012

Prosecution of accused CIA leaker, new CRS reports, life-sciences research and much more. From the Blogs Navy Submarine Procurement and More from CRS: Secrecy News has obtained recently released CRS reports on topics such as the effects of Fukushima on U.S. marine environment, policy issues related to China's proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, U.S. infant mortality rate and women in combat. Prosecution of Accused CIA Leaker Will Face Legal Hurdles: Former CIA officer John C. Kiriakou was indicted on charges of leaking classified information to the press. Kiriakou is accused of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act for allegedly disclosing the identity of a covert CIA officer, and of violating the Espionage Act for allegedly disclosing national defense information to persons not authorized to receive it. Harmonize the Oversight of Life-Sciences Research: The Virtual Biosecurity Center, a project spear-headed by FAS, published an editorial by Susan A. Ehrlich who argues that the United States needs to establish a presidential commission charged with collecting, reviewing and synthesizing information into a single, comprehensive framework for the oversight of life-sciences research.

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FAS Roundup: April 2, 2012

Mitigating risks of bio research, implications of Israeli strike on Iran, fissile materials and much more. From the Blogs Military Intelligence and the Human Terrain System: Secrecy News has obtained the latest issue of the Army’s Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin which is devoted to the Human Terrain System (HTS),  a U.S. Army program to conduct social and cultural studies in support of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bulletin provides theoretical and practical accounts from HTS personnel in the field. New Policy on Mitigating Risks of Bio Research: In a new U.S. government policy released by the National Institutes of Health, certain types of life science research involving “high consequence pathogens and toxins” would be subject to new review and risk mitigation procedures which might include classification of the research or termination of the funding. Back to the Basics- Producing Fissile Materials: Fissile materials have been in the news recently in regards to Iran’s uranium enrichment program, North Korea’s continuing nuclear weapons program and the recent Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul. Dr. Y discusses what fissile materials are, how they are produced and why they are a security problem on the ScienceWonk blog. "Power and Constraint" and Mutual Frustration: Steven Aftergood writes about a new book by Jack Goldsmith, Power and Constraint, which concludes that constitutional government is alive and well in the United States. Goldsmith, a former head of the Bush Administration’s Office of Legal Counsel, disputes the widely accepted view that traditional checks and balances have been diminished by the war on terrorism. Implications of an Israeli Strike on Iran and More from CRS: Secrecy News has obtained recently released CRS reports on topics such as the implications of Israel attacking Iranian nuclear targets, foreign assistance to North Korea and the growing emphasis on Asia as a focus for U.S. national security planning.

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FAS Podcast: 2012 Nuclear Security Summit

  The 2012 Nuclear Security Summit is currently underway in Seoul, South Korea, where 53 heads of state and international organizations have come together to discuss international cooperative measures to protect nuclear materials and facilities from terrorist groups. The Nuclear Security Summit comes at a critical juncture. Global terrorist attacks have prompted concerns about nuclear terrorism, and many states may continue to shop for nuclear reactors to meet their energy supply needs, despite the horrific incident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Against this backdrop, world leaders are charged with the difficult task of agreeing on measures that will secure vulnerable materials around the world.

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