The Secretary of EnergyThe Honorable John Warner
Washington, DC 20585
November 29, 1999
Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Mr. Chairman:
Section 3161 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999, "Protection Against Inadvertent Release of Restricted Data and Formerly Restricted Data," mandates that I provide to you and designated congressional committees a plan to implement the Act and a report on inadvertent release (compromise) of Restricted Data and Formerly Restricted Data under Executive Order 12958 that occurred before October 17, 1998, the date of enactment of this Act.
On February 1, 1999, I submitted the Special Historical Records Review Plan that implements section 3161 of the Act. Under the terms of section 3161 and the Plan, I am hereby submitting the enclosed classified report of all known releases of Restricted Data and Formerly Restricted Data under Executive Order 12958 in other Government agency records that occurred before October 17, 1998.
I recognize the gravity of these inadvertent releases. None of these releases were made by the Department of Energy, but with my statutory responsibility under the Atomic Energy Act, I have taken swift action to reduce the risk of further inadvertent releases. The Department of Energy has made great strides in training other Government agency reviewers to recognize Restricted Data and Formerly Restricted Data and our extensive audit of other agency Executive Order 12958 reviews is under way.
Since January 1999, the Department of Energy has trained over 860 declassification officials from other agencies and plans to continue the effort. In January 1999, 15 Department of Energy reviewers were assigned to audit other agency Executive Order 12958 reviews at the National Archives and Records Administration and the number has been increased to 44. These actions will reduce the likelihood of future releases. In fact, Department of Energy staff has prevented the inadvertent release of Restricted Data and Formerly Restricted Data in approximately 2,250 other Government agency documents (about 22,500 pages) that were improperly declassified and in process for public release, while conducting the audits at the National Archives and Records Administration.
I will continue to take steps to prevent inadvertent releases of classified information, as required under section 3161 and the Atomic Energy Act, while supporting a successful declassification and openness process.
Upon discovering additional releases in our audit, we will duly report them as required by section 3161 and the Special Historical Records Review Plan.
The Honorable Carl Levin
Ranking Minority Member
Report on Inadvertent Releases of Restricted Data and
Formerly Restricted Data under Executive Order 12958 that
Occurred Before October 17, 1998 (U)
The Committee on Armed Services of the Senate
The Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives
The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
Inadvertent Release of Restricted Data andU.S. Department of Energy
Formerly Restricted Data Before October 17, 1998 (U)
Office of Declassification
Germantown, Maryland 20874
UNCLASSIFIEDThe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999 (Public Law 105-261, section 3161; hereafter referred to as the "Act") requires the Secretary of Energy to submit a report to the Senate Committee on Armed Services, the House Committee on Armed Services, and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs on the inadvertent releases (compromises) of Restricted Data (RD) and Formerly Restricted Data (FRD) in Government agency records declassified under section 3.4 of Executive Order (E.O.) 12958 that occurred before October 17, 1998, the date of enactment of the Act. This executive summary provides an unclassified description of the report.
This report consolidates all the known incidents of inadvertent releases of RD/FRD in other government agency records under E.O. 12958 that occurred before the Act's enactment on October 17, 1998, including those referred to DOE by other Federal agencies, in accordance with the Special Historical Records Review Plan submitted to Congress on February 1, 1999. A total of four distinct file series1 and one collection of four file series containing RD/FRD that were improperly declassified and made publicly accessible are being reported. DOE audited a total of approximately 948,000 pages and identified other government agency documents consisting of approximately 14,890 pages containing RD/FRD which were inadvertently released (compromised). The following classified report describes the circumstances of the discovery, some of the specific RD/FRD found, and speaks to the usefulness of the information released.
1 Two of the four file series were declassified prior to the effective date of E.O. 12958. However, the file series were processed and reported in the E.O. 12958 requirement. Therefore, for factual completeness, they are included.DOE has initiated the process to conduct quality control audits of Government agencies' declassified file series under E.O. 12958 to minimize the inadvertent releases of RD/FRD. DOE audits have already prevented other agency documents of approximately 22,500 pages containing RD and FRD from being inadvertently released.
- An agency file series that contained properly marked RD/FRD on (a) nuclear tests that provide insight into the level of weapon design technology in the late 1950s and early 1960s and (b) nuclear weapon systems that have either been retired or never reached production and stockpiling (see Chapter 1 for details).
- An agency file series that contained properly marked RD records revealing United States (U.S.) nuclear weapon design information from the test results of a specified nuclear test program (see Chapter 2 for details).
- An agency file series (see footnote 1) that included RD, mismarked as National Security Information, providing U.S. nuclear test results of a specified nuclear test, the military and technical basis for atmospheric testing during a specified year, and a specified nuclear device with the specified date of the underground test (see Chapter 3 for details).
- An agency file series (see footnote 1) that contained properly marked RD/FRD records covering nuclear weapons utilization information such as yields of specified weapons and deployment and storage locations (see Chapter 4 for details).
- An agency collection of four file series that contained both properly and mismarked RD/FRD records covering nuclear weapons design information for increasing yields and nuclear weapon utilization information such as yields of specified weapons and deployment and storage locations (see Chapter 5 for details).
From a generic perspective, it is well known that potential strategic adversaries, emerging proliferant nations and terrorist groups aggressively target U.S. nuclear weapon information and that official documents and records are often regarded as having significantly more value than other sources of information about nuclear weapons related information. Information regarding older nuclear weapons is of value since it is often technically less sophisticated. With sufficient information and materials, a proliferant could construct an old design more easily than current weaponry with a greater probability of undergoing successful detonation.
Proliferants and potential adversaries can benefit from credible authenticated information about nuclear weapons. This information can provide improvements in design confidence in untested designs, and corroboration of information obtained from intelligence sources and other inadvertently released classified information. Minor details and authoritative qualitative evaluations both contribute to technical base capability and understanding needed for successful development of nuclear weapons. Inadvertently released nuclear weapons design information (RD) can provide useful design parameters to emerging proliferant nations and to terrorist groups. Pieces of information can contribute to the effectiveness of mosaic and compilation techniques of intelligence sources.
Additionally, the nuclear weapons utilization information (FRD) could assist potential strategic adversaries in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Revelations of deployment of nuclear weapons outside of the U.S. may violate international agreements and harm diplomatic ties with some nations, which could undermine our nuclear deterrent.
Even though the classified documents described in this report were declassified inadvertently, only in one case is there compelling evidence that classified information was compromised, i.e. obtained and used by a researcher. In this one case, the compromised information related to the deployment of nuclear weapons in a foreign country in the early 1950s (FRD) rather than the design or production of a nuclear weapon (see Chapter 4 for details).
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