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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Aug > Aug 23

Secrecy News -- 08/22/07

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood.nul>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2007 13:00:01 -0400
Archived: Thu, 23 Aug 2007 11:31:35 -0400
Subject: Secrecy News -- 08/22/07


SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 86
August 22, 2007

Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

Support Secrecy News:
http://www.fas.org/static/contrib_sec.jsp


**	A GLIMPSE OF THE SILEX URANIUM ENRICHMENT PROCESS
**	CIA IG REPORT ON 9/11 DECLASSIFIED BY LAW
**	AIR FORCE VIEWS IRREGULAR WARFARE
**	DETAILS SOUGHT ON DOMESTIC USE OF SPY SATELLITES


A GLIMPSE OF THE SILEX URANIUM ENRICHMENT PROCESS

A relatively new technology for enriching uranium known as
"Separation of Isotopes by Laser Excitation" or SILEX is
described in some fresh detail in a recent Los Alamos paper.

SILEX, developed in 1992 by Australian scientists, is the rarest
of birds in U.S. classification policy: It is privately
generated information that is nevertheless classified by the
U.S. government.

Ordinarily, information must be owned or controlled by the
government in order to be eligible for classification in the
first place. But under the peculiar terms of the Atomic Energy
Act, the government may impose classification on "all"
information concerning nuclear weapons and related matters that
has not been previously declassified.

Since the new SILEX technology has never been declassified, it
is ipso facto classified, despite the fact that it was generated
by private (and foreign) researchers. It is the only known case
in which the Atomic Energy Act has been used in this
constitutionally questionable manner. (See Secrecy News,
06/26/01).

Unclassified details of the SILEX process, which uses pulsed
lasers to selectively excite uranium hexafluoride molecules
containing uranium-235, are presented in "Enrichment Separative
Capacity for SILEX" by John L. Lyman, Los Alamos National
Laboratory, LA-UR-05-3786 (thanks to WT):

http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/doe/lanl/docs4/silex.pdf


CIA IG REPORT ON 9/11 DECLASSIFIED BY LAW

In compliance with a requirement imposed by Congress, the
Central Intelligence Agency declassified and released the
executive summary of a CIA Inspector General report that was
generally critical of CIA performance prior to September 11,
2001.

http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/product/oig-911.pdf

From a secrecy policy point of view, the most interesting thing
about the disclosure is that it was the result of a
congressional initiative undertaken against the wishes of the
executive branch.

"While meeting the dictates of the law," said CIA Director Mike
Hayden in an official statement, "I want to make it clear that
this declassification was neither my choice nor my preference."

http://www.fas.org/irp/news/2007/08/cia082107.html

In theory, the CIA's "choice" or "preference" should be
irrelevant to the declassification process. The President has
directed categorically that "Information shall be declassified
as soon as it no longer meets the standards for classification
under this order." (Executive Order 13292, section 3.1). It is
clear from the release of the Inspector General report, which
was partially redacted, that it could be declassified. And
therefore it should have been.

But the executive order is not self-enforcing and
declassification does not occur spontaneously. Without some
external stimulus it may not occur at all.

In this case, Congress provided the missing ingredient, thanks
to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who authored the amendment to the
recent legislation implementing the recommendations of the 9/11
Commission.

While giving the needed push, Congress did not declassify the
document itself, which is arguably within its power, nor did it
define the precise terms of declassification, stating only that
the document should be "declassified to the maximum extent
possible, consistent with national security" -- as determined by
the CIA.

By contrast, a more ambitious and unprecedented declassification
action is the congressional requirement to disclose the amount
of the 2007 National Intelligence Program budget, which must be
declassified and released by October 30. No exercise of
discretion is permitted.


AIR FORCE VIEWS IRREGULAR WARFARE

In what might be seen as a response to last year's popular Army
Field Manual 3-24 on Counterinsurgency, the U.S. Air Force has
issued a new publication on "Irregular Warfare."

"Irregular warfare (IW) is defined as a violent struggle among
state and nonstate actors for legitimacy and influence over the
relevant populations. IW favors indirect approaches, though it
may employ the full range of military and other capabilities to
seek asymmetric approaches in order to erode an adversary's
power, influence, and will."

Though less rigorous and less original than the Army manual, the
new document still contains points of interest.

It notes, for example, that counterinsurgency is not the sum
total of U.S. military objectives. To the contrary, sometimes
the U.S. will side with insurgents: "Various US government
organizations are postured to recruit, organize, train, and
advise indigenous guerrilla or partisan forces," the document
observes.

"In some UW [unconventional warfare] operations, the use of US
military aircraft may be inappropriate, tactically or
politically. In those cases, training, advising, and assisting
the aviation forces of insurgent groups, resistance
organizations, or third-country nationals may be the only viable
option."

See "Irregular Warfare," Air Force Doctrine Document 2-3, 1
August 2007:

http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/usaf/afdd2-3.pdf


DETAILS SOUGHT ON DOMESTIC USE OF SPY SATELLITES

Although Congress is out of session, the news that classified
intelligence satellites may increasingly be used for domestic
surveillance applications did not go unnoticed by congressional
overseers.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), chair of a House Energy and Commerce
subcommittee, last week sent a letter to Homeland Security
Secretary Michael Chertoff seeking answers to a series of
detailed questions about the new initiative, which was first
reported in the Wall Street Journal. Among Rep. Markey's
questions were these:

Will the public have an opportunity to comment on the
development of appropriate guidelines for domestic use of spy
satellites?

What assessments of the legality of the new surveillance program
have been performed? (Please provide copies.)

How does the Department plan to ensure that Americans' privacy
and civil rights are protected once this new surveillance
program becomes operational?

A copy of Mr. Markey's August 16 letter is here:

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2007_cr/markey081607.pdf

The new surveillance program "has drawn sharp criticism from
civil liberties advocates who say the government is overstepping
the use of military technology for domestic surveillance," wrote
Eric Schmitt in the New York Times. See "Liberties Advocates
Fear Abuse of Satellite Images," August 17:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/17/us/17spy.html



___________________________

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

The Secrecy News blog is at:
 http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, go to:
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OR email your request to saftergood.nul

Secrecy News is archived at:
http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/index.html

SUPPORT Secrecy News with a donation here:
http://www.fas.org/static/contrib_sec.jsp



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