Kuklinski, OTA, and Freeman

04.21.09 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

“The value and the major limitations” of a recently released CIA documentary collection on Col. Ryszard Kuklinkski, the Polish official who provided a vast quantity of political and military intelligence to the CIA in the 1970s and early 1980s, are assessed by Mark Kramer of Harvard University in a new publication of the Cold War International History Project.  See “The Kuklinski Files and the Polish Crisis of 1980-1981” (pdf), March 2009.

The Office of Technology Assessment played a significant role in informing Congressional deliberations on science policy over the course of two decades and generated a body of policy analysis that retains much of its value years after OTA was terminated in 1995.  Today, “the argument to restart the OTA is overwhelming,” argued Gerald Epstein in an essay in Science Progress.

Had Amb. Charles Freeman not withdrawn from his appointment as chairman of the National Intelligence Council, under pressure of controversy regarding his views on Israel, Saudi Arabia and China, he would have attempted to alter the Intelligence Community’s classification practices, he said in an interview with Jim Lobe of Interpress Service news agency.  “I would have liked to have tried to change the culture to value lower levels of classification rather than higher in terms of output,” Amb. Freedman said.  “In general, I would’ve tried very hard to encourage members of the intelligence community to use classified information as a form of corroboration for information that is not classified, or is not terribly sensitive even if it is classified. In other words, I would urge analysts to write down rather than write up terms of levels of classification.”