from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 97
November 3, 2004


Twenty-five years after the seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, a U.S. government official is back in Iran this week on an unannounced visit, Secrecy News has learned.

Dr. James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, is leading a small delegation that is discussing prospects for exchanges with the Iranian national library.

The visit was engineered by the private organization Catalytic Diplomacy at the request of the Library of Congress. The director of Catalytic Diplomacy, Jeremy J. Stone, had previously (in 1999) organized a scientific exchange agreement between the non-governmental National Academy of Sciences and the Iranian Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Billington and his delegation are to return to the United States late on Friday, November 5, and are expected to have concluded a formal agreement on library exchange with Iranian officials.


"Protecting U.S. airspace may require improvements in detecting aircraft and cruise missiles, making quick operational decisions, and intercepting them," according to a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service.

"A number of options exist in each of these areas. A variety of issues must be weighed including expediency, cost, and minimizing conflicts with civilian aviation."

CRS policy prohibits direct public access to its reports.

But see "Homeland Security: Defending U.S. Airspace," updated October 13, 2004:

A related CRS report "examines the strengths and limitations of deploying unmanned aerial vehicles along the borders." See "Homeland Security: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Border Surveillance," June 28, 2004:

TED TAYLOR, 1925-2004

Theodore B. Taylor, who designed the smallest and the largest fission explosives in the U.S. arsenal and then became a critic of U.S. nuclear weapons policy, died October 28.

"It troubles me more deeply than I can express that my country continues to be prepared, under certain conditions, to launch nuclear weapons that would kill millions of innocent bystanders," he wrote in 1996.

"To me, this is preparation for mass murder that cannot be justified under any conditions. It must therefore be considered as human action that is out-and-out evil. The threat of nuclear retaliation also is a completely ineffectual deterrent to nuclear attack by terrorists or leaders of governments that need not identify themselves or that are physically located in the midst of populations that have no part in the initial attack or threat of attack. In short, we humans must find alternatives to retaliation in kind to acts of massive and indiscriminate violence."

"I had a dream last night, about a new form of nuclear weapon," he said in 1999, "and I'm not telling anybody what this is, because I'm really scared of it."

Ted Taylor was remembered in this Washington Post obituary:


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

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