Author: Katie Colten

Q+A With Dr. Mary Jean Scott Silk

In the 1950s, Dr. Mary Jean Scott Silk joined the Federation of American Scientists. She worked at Brookhaven National Laboratories from 1952 to 1958 and graduated from John Hopkins University with a doctorate in nuclear physics in 1958.

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FAS Roundup- November 28, 2011

FAS Roundup: November 28, 2011 New CRS reports, petition to assess nuclear threat, Take Action blog featuring Iran's nuclear program and more.  From the Blogs New CRS Reports: Secrecy News has obtained new reports from the Congressional Research Service; topics of these reports include: U.S. government programs to identify and deport criminal aliens and the U.S. government's response to the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a brutal paramilitary group in Uganda. Take Action- Iran's Nuclear Program: For the past decade, the Iranian nuclear program has been a point of stringent contention among the members of the international community, particularly between Western nations and Iran. Visit the Take Action Blog and learn about FAS's  recommendations for a peaceful solution to this conflict. Leak Prosecutions Inch Forward: The three ongoing prosecutions under the Espionage Act of individuals who allegedly “leaked” classified information to the press are slowly moving forward. Steven Aftergood writes about the cases of Jeffrey A. Sterling, (former CIA officer who is accused of leaking classified information to author James Risen), Army Private Bradley Manning, (the suspected WikiLeaks source), and Stephen Kim, former State Department contractor accused of leaking classified information to Fox News reporter James Rosen.

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FAS Roundup- November 21, 2011

FAS Roundup: November 21, 2011 Interview with former Iranian nuclear negotiator Amb. Hossein Mousavian, petition to assess nuclear threat, stalled declassification of historical satellite imagery, status of China's nuclear forces, and more. From the Blogs Declassification of Intelligence Satellite Imagery Stalled: The eagerly awaited declassification of vast amounts of historical intelligence satellite imagery that was supposed to occur this year did not take place, and it is unknown when or if it might go forward. Earlier this year, government officials had all but promised that the declassification and release of miles of satellite imagery film was imminent. But it didn’t happen. Why not? Pre-Publication Review as a Secrecy Battleground: Steven Aftergood writes that the Obama Administration’s uncompromising approach to punishing “leaks” of classified information has been widely noted. But its handling of pre-publication review disputes with former intelligence agency employees who seek to publish their work has been no less combative. A New Intelligence Org on Climate Change is Needed, DSB Says: According to a new report from the Defense Science Board (DSB), the U.S. intelligence community needs an organization that can assess the impacts of climate change on U.S. national security interests in an open and collaborative manner. The CIA already has a Center on Climate Change and National Security. So why would the Intelligence Community need an entirely new organization to address the exact same set of issues? CIA Sees “Little Likelihood” of Finding Docs on Secrecy Reform: The Fundamental Classification Guidance Review (FCGR) was ordered by President Obama in his December 2009 executive order 13526 (section 1.9) as a systematic effort to eliminate obsolete or unnecessary classification requirements.  It is the Obama administration’s primary response to the problem of over-classification, and it has already achieved some limited results at the Department of Defense and elsewhere. That being said, it can’t possibly work if agencies don’t implement it. And so far there is no sign of the mandatory implementation at CIA.

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FAS Roundup-November 14, 2011

FAS Roundup: November 14, 2011 Dispute over nuclear weapons program costs, IAEA Iran report analysis, new documentary on anthrax, terrorist threat to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and more. From the Blogs New Air Force policy directive on "Directive Energy Weapons" and letter from Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) to President Obama asking to expedite the declassification of U.S. intelligence documents pertaining to Argentina’s so-called “dirty war” during the military dictatorship that lasted from 1976 to the mid-1980s. Dispute over Cost of Nuclear Weapons Program:  Steven Aftergood investigates the radically different estimates of cost of the U.S. nuclear program presented by members of Congress in the past few weeks. The disparate estimates, which vary by hundreds of billions of dollars, reflect a lack of consensus about how to properly assess the cost of nuclear weapons.

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FAS Roundup- November 7, 2011

Letter to the Obama administration regarding nuclear budget, new podcast highlighting sustainable energy and water security, 2011 intelligence budget spending on the decline and  more.   From the Blogs Prospects Fade for a Separate Intelligence Budget: Steven Aftergood writes about the National Intelligence Program budget, which will mostly remain hidden in the Department of Defense budget for the foreseeable future; it will not be given a separate budget line item or a separate appropriation despite the efforts of budget reformers and intelligence community leaders. Intelligence Spending Declined in 2011: For the first time in more than a decade, the total U.S. intelligence budget declined in 2011, according to budget figures declassified and disclosed last week.

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FAS Roundup- October 31, 2011

Goodbye to the B53, mystery behind the 1969 nuclear alert, new START data, advice for Washington regarding Iran and much more.   From the Blogs New CRS reports, including casualty figures from the war in Afghanistan and more. Mystery of the 1969 Nuclear Alert: In October 1969, the Nixon Administration secretly placed U.S. nuclear forces on alert for two weeks. Still today, no conclusive explanation for the potentially destabilizing alert can be found.  Even with full access to the classified record, State Department historians said in a new volume of the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series that they were unable to provide a definitive account of the event. FRUS Leads Declassification, but Sometimes Lags Behind: Steven Aftergood writes about the State Department’s Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, which serves as a driver of declassification, propelling it farther and faster than it would otherwise go.  But it’s not always at its best. End of the B53 Era; Continuation of the Spin Era: On Tuesday, October 27, one of the largest weapons in the United States nuclear weapons arsenal, the B53, was dismantled in Amarillo, Texas. Retired from the arsenal in 1997, the dismantlement of the B53 marks the end of the era of large, multi-megaton bombs, a hallmark of the Cold War. "We certainly congratulate the administration on finally dismantling the old B53, but one should not over-spin the achievement. The B53 dismantlement involves less than 50 warheads; the U.S. has approximately 8,500 intact warheads (counting those in the stockpile and dismantlement queue)", said Hans M. Kristensen, Director, Nuclear Information Project. Army Weapons Systems: Steven Aftergood writes about the 2012 edition of the U.S. Army Weapon Systems handbook which provides a concise description of dozens of Army weapon systems and programs.

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FAS Roundup- October 24, 2011

One of the benefits of FAS membership is receiving weekly updates regarding the latest news and information on science and technology issues affecting our world. I am excited to share with you a new e-newsletter that will be sent to members every week, highlighting events, publications, reports and news from FAS and our experts about the urgent need for a more secure world.

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