from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2002, Issue No. 82
August 22, 2002


The Department of Defense is intensifying its efforts to discourage unauthorized disclosures of classified information with an expanded campaign featuring new warnings from senior officials including a videotaped message from the Air Force.

On at least two occasions this month, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has publicly reiterated his strongly held views on the subject.

Speaking yesterday at Fort Hood, he said that "The unprofessionalism today is as bad as I have ever seen it in terms of the handling of classified information."

"I'm told by my general counsel that I'm not supposed to say that I wish they [the leakers] were all in jail because it would be pre-judging something," he said.

"But the truth is, I wish they were all in jail." See:

Last month, Secretary Rumsfeld told the Service Secretaries and other Pentagon officials that "Your leadership is needed to help stop leaks." See his July 12 memorandum here:

In response, the Army this month issued a memorandum to "all Army personnel" cautioning against leaks.

"The unauthorized intentional release of classified information is absolutely unacceptable and is punishable by law," wrote Army Secretary Thomas E. White and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki.

"There is a healthy tension between the American public's right to know the activities of its military and the need for operational security, but it is not the responsibility of the members of the Army to resolve that tension," they advised.

The Army memo was first reported by Dan Dupont in on August 21. A copy of the memo is posted here:

Not to be outdone, the Air Force prepared a video warning featuring Air Force Secretary James G. Roche and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper, which was published August 14 on the Air Force web site.

Leaks of classified information are "diminishing our country's ability to conduct military operations," said Secretary Roche, urging increased vigilance against unauthorized disclosures.

"If you see something that's happening, a set of war plans or others that you don't like-- hey, there's a channel to deal with it," said Secretary Roche, apparently referring to recent reports of preliminary war plans for an attack against Iraq that were leaked to the New York Times by an internal critic of those plans.

The Air Force's four-and-a-half minute anti-leak video message may be viewed here:

The Navy has not issued a comparable statement on leaks.


The death in Baghdad this of terrorist Abu Nidal was the subject of a rare public briefing by Tahir Jalil Habbush, the head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service. The transcript of the August 21 briefing is posted here:


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

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