from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 46
May 20, 2004


The term "homeland security" is ill-chosen not only because of its strange Germanic overtones but because it stresses physical, geographic security while neglecting challenges to the vital structures of democratic governance that make America truly distinctive.

But there are clearly cases where physical security is a preeminent concern, and one of them is the vulnerability of the thousands of industrial chemical facilities around the country. Plausible worst-case scenarios at such facilities place many thousands of lives at risk.

"Available evidence indicates that many chemical facilities may lack adequate safeguards" against terrorism or other deliberate attack, according to a recent assessment by the Congressional Research Service.

The scope of the problem and the various legislative solutions that have been proposed are discussed at length in "Chemical Plant Security" by Linda-Jo Schierow, Congressional Research Service, updated January 20, 2004:


As a matter of Congressional policy, direct public access to reports of the Congressional Research Service is prohibited unless an individual member chooses to make one or more such reports available online. Few do so.

But this unreasonable secrecy policy can be defeated, at least in part, with minimal effort.

Some notable CRS reports on national security topics that are newly available on the FAS web site include the following:

"Terrorist Identification, Screening, and Tracking Under Homeland Security Presidential Directive 6" by William J. Krouse, April 21, 2004:

"Illicit Drugs and the Terrorist Threat: Causal Links and Implications for Domestic Drug Control Policy" by Mark A.R. Kleiman (former director of the FAS Drug Policy Project and now proprietor of the weblog, updated April 20, 2004:

"Greece: Threat of Terrorism and Security at the Olympics" by Carol Migdalovitz, April 30, 2004:

"Computer Security: A Summary of Selected Federal Laws, Executive Orders, and Presidential Directives" by John Moteff, April 16, 2004:

"Detention of American Citizens as Enemy Combatants" by Jennifer K. Elsea, updated March 15, 2004:


Advanced technologies for command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I) are the important subject of a new report for the Air Force prepared by CACI Technologies, Inc.

The report, which is jargon-rich and often unintelligible to a non-specialist reader, is perhaps most notable because of its authorship. CACI is a large defense and intelligence contractor that has received unwelcome publicity in connection with the interrogation services it provided at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

See "Advanced Command, Control, Communications & Intelligence (C3I) Systems Analysis and Trade-Offs," March 2004:


Rather belatedly, Congress is directing the Pentagon to develop management guidelines for defense contractors in Iraq (such as CACI) and to provide a report on their activities.

See section 1205 of the House version of the 2005 Defense Authorization Act (HR 4200) on "guidance and report required on contractors supporting deployed forces in Iraq":

"Brighter lights and stronger controls need to be placed over these [military contractors]," wrote columnist Nicholas von Hoffman in the June Harper's Magazine.

"Either we supervise them or eventually they will supervise us."


The pending defense authorization act for 2005 would establish a seemingly incongruous fellowship in the name of nuclear weapons designers Edward Teller and Igor Kurchatov to support scientific research to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

Teller is often referred to as the "father of the H bomb." He was a relentless advocate of the development of nuclear weapons technology for various purposes, peaceful and otherwise. Igor Kurchatov led the secret program to develop the first Soviet atomic bomb.

Under the proposed fellowships, selected scientists in the U.S. and Russia would be funded for up to two years to conduct research in "nuclear nonproliferation sciences," which is defined as "scientific knowledge relevant to developing or advancing the means to prevent or impede the proliferation of nuclear weaponry."

See the provision in section 1422 of H.R. 4200 here:


We are grateful to report that the Playboy Foundation has awarded Secrecy News one of eight Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards for 2004.

"Secrecy News... keeps Americans apprised of the inner workings of government secrecy and promotes reform of its secret processes," according to a May 19 news release announcing the awards, which will be presented May 24 in New York. See:


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

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