from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2006, Issue No. 126
December 12, 2006

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A recently updated U.S. Army regulation defines the parameters of legitimate military intelligence activities and outlines procedures for identifying "questionable" intelligence operations.

Among the permissible activities, for example, military intelligence "may conduct nonconsensual physical surveillance of U.S. persons who are-- military personnel on active duty status; present or former intelligence component employees; present or former intelligence component contractors and their present or former employees; applicants for intelligence component employment or contracting" and "persons in contact with those who fall into [the above categories] to the extent necessary to identify the person in contact" (sect. 9-2).

"Nothing in this procedure will be interpreted as authorizing the collection of any information relating to a U.S. person solely because of that person's lawful advocacy of measures opposed to Government policy" (sect. 2-5).

However, "commonly reported questionable intelligence activities [include] improper collection, retention, or dissemination of U.S. person information [such as] gathering information about U.S. domestic groups not connected with a foreign power or international terrorism" (sect. 15-4).

Other "commonly reported questionable activities" include "searching or monitoring a U.S. person's private internet account, under the guise of determining if the individual was passing classified information, without an authorized counterintelligence or law enforcement investigation and proper search or electronic surveillance authority."

Also considered "misconduct" is "coaching a source or subject of an investigation prior to an intelligence polygraph examination in an effort to help the individual pass the polygraph."

In one new provision, the regulation notes that intelligence personnel must ordinarily use government computers for official government business. But, it says, "if operational security so requires, such as to protect a Government computer from hacker retaliation, a ... commander may approve nonattributable internet access" (sect. 1-9).

The 2005 regulation was released in its entirety this week in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Secrecy News.

See "U.S. Army Intelligence Activities," Army Regulation 381-10, 22 November 2005 (2.7 MB PDF):


A new U.S. Navy instruction offers a "guide to the operation and administration of detention facilities."

Detention means "the temporary holding of persons in custody in a detention facility pending a decision to officially charge them with a criminal offense. Detention is distinctly different from confinement that includes pretrial or post-trial confinement."

See "Guide for the Operation and Administration of Detention Facilities," OPNAV Instruction 1640.9A, December 11, 2006:

Another new Navy instruction concerns information assurance.

See "Navy Implementation of Department of Defense Intelligence Information System (DODIIS) Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)," OPNAV Instruction 5239.3, November 27, 2006:


A recent Congressional Research Service report observed irregularities in government spending on military space.

"Tracking the DOD space budget is extremely difficult since space is not identified as a separate line item in the DOD budget. Additionally, DOD sometimes releases only partial information (omitting funding for classified programs) or will suddenly release without explanation new figures for prior years that are quite different from what was previously reported."

See "U.S. Military Space Programs: An Overview of Appropriations and Current Issues," updated August 7, 2006:

Pending proposals to restructure Foreign Service personnel compensation policy are described in "The Foreign Service and a New Worldwide Compensation System," updated November 16, 2006:

U.S. economic sanctions that are currently imposed against North Korea and the potential application of additional restrictions are addressed in another recent CRS report, provided courtesy of the National Committee on North Korea ( See "North Korea: Economic Sanctions," updated October 17, 2006:


The apparent murder of former Russian intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko through polonium poisoning seemed like an outlandish innovation in crime. But it was not the first time that polonium had been deliberately administered to human subjects.

In 1944 at the University of Rochester in New York, "tracer amounts of radioactive polonium-210 were injected into four hospitalized humans and ingested by a fifth," according to a 1995 retrospective account.

Four men and one women who were already suffering from a variety of cancers reportedly volunteered for the dangerous experiment. One patient died from his cancer six days after the injection.

See "Polonium Human-Injection Experiments," Los Alamos Science, Number 23, 1995:

That polonium article appeared as a sidebar in a larger paper called "The Human Plutonium Injection Experiments" by William Moss and Roger Eckhardt, which follows on the work of reporter Eileen Welsome, builds on the declassification activities of Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary and complements the research of the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments. See the Moss and Eckhardt paper from Los Alamos Science here:

Polonium was classified in July 1945, the authors note, and given the code name "postum."

The basic chemistry and physics of polonium were declassified in 1946. The fact that polonium-210 was used in nuclear weapon initiators was declassified in 1967, according to a Department of Energy historical account.


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

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