Another "inadvertent" disclosure of confidential information - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Another "inadvertent" disclosure of confidential information

This time this is about our nukes.
What a fuckup.

Quote:
WASHINGTON -- The accidental disclosure of a report that gives detailed information about the nation's civilian nuclear sites and programs is "of great concern," and U.S. officials intend to closely examine whether it has jeopardized national security, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Wednesday.

"My understanding is someone made a mistake, probably at the [Government Printing Office] and released sensitive information," Mr. Chu told a House panel that controls the Energy Department's budget. "That is of great concern, and we will be looking hard and making sure the physical security of those [nuclear] labs is sufficient to prevent terrorists or others from getting a hold of that material."

The report, which includes maps of facilities showing the locations of stockpiles of fuel for nuclear weapons at those facilities, was posted last month on the Web site of the Government Printing Office. It was removed from the office's Web site late Tuesday, after the Federation of American Scientists reported on the document's existence Sunday in an online bulletin.

The Obama administration prepared the document to comply with a decade-old international agreement aimed at providing the International Atomic Energy Agency with a comprehensive picture of the country's nuclear and nuclear-related activities. The U.S. made the agreement to encourage other countries to provide similar disclosure of their nuclear activities.

The document is marked "Highly Confidential Safeguards Sensitive." It was published by the Government Printing Office on the office's Web site on May 22, according to Steven Aftergood, a security expert at the Federation of American Scientists. A cover letter on the document, addressed by President Barack Obama to Congress, calls the information "sensitive but unclassified."
Energy Chief Says Nuclear Disclosure 'of Great Concern' - WSJ.com

... and this important discussion continues.


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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 05:49 PM
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Don't worry: It's Bush's fault.

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thats what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 05:58 PM
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Obama did it?
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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 06:06 PM
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This is like the sixth time that this has happened over the past thirty years. At one point several of the Base Master Plans had [and many still have] all this very information and it is available at any Repository Library, most likely your nearest University Library.

Folks are required to put the information out for X folks and it somehow never manages to stay reigned in after that initial required publication. It is one of the biggest problems of the information age.

While this is a problem, this is not an Obama problem. This is a low level security problem that has to be checked and corrected about once every five years.

On the BAD side of the issue, anybody who is anybody who wants the information is not going to just wander to the website to get it, they already have access to it by other means.

A perfect example is the very open conversation on VX, GB and Mustard Gas at Blue Grass Weapons Depot just down the road, the local newspaper articles, the press releases from the Depot itself, the State's Senator's many proclamations on it, the aerial photography of the igloos in which it is stored, etc.

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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 06:19 PM
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GoogleEarth and a library with old military photo-interpretation training manuals, and you too can be an intelligence analyst in your spare time.

No kidding. The main thing you need are good examples (an image library), minimal astigmatism, the ability to 'see' stereo imagery and an interest in extremely detailed study of imagery. Landsat just wont do, either. You need Quickbird or better. Mostly you need patience. Lots of patience.

My favorite photography just for the challenge from novelty that I've ever analyzed was IRIS. NASA - Airborne Science - ER-2 Aerial Camera Systems Looking for space shuttle parts from near Lubbock to near Dallas. Found an awful lot of junk cars, oil field debris, and trash.

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thats what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 07:43 PM
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There's more information in the NYT article:

I liked the description of the tube vault...that's a lot of potential there.

I was actually surprised the list didn't end up published in OT.


Secret nuclear list accidentally released
Report gives details about hundreds of the nation's nuclear sites, programs
une 3, 2009

The federal government mistakenly made public a 266-page report, its pages marked “highly confidential,” that gives detailed information about hundreds of the nation’s civilian nuclear sites and programs, including maps showing the precise locations of stockpiles of fuel for nuclear weapons.

The publication of the document was revealed Monday in an on-line newsletter devoted to issues of federal secrecy. That publicity set off a debate among nuclear experts about what dangers, if any, the disclosures posed. It also prompted a flurry of investigations in Washington into why the document was made public.

On Tuesday evening, after inquiries from The New York Times, the document was withdrawn from a Government Printing Office Web site.

Several nuclear experts argued that any dangers from the disclosure were minimal, given that the general outlines of the most sensitive information were already known publicly.

“These screw-ups happen,” said John M. Deutch, a former Director of Central Intelligence and Deputy Secretary of Defense who is now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It’s going further than I would have gone but doesn’t look like a serious breach.”

'A physical security threat'
But David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington that tracks nuclear proliferation, said information that shows where nuclear fuels are stored “can provide thieves or terrorists inside information that can help them seize the material, which is why that kind of data is not given out. It can become a physical security threat.”

The information, considered sensitive but not classified, was assembled for transmission later this year to the International Atomic Energy Agency as part of a process by which the United States is opening itself up to more stringent inspections in hopes that foreign countries will do likewise, especially Iran and other states believed to be clandestinely developing nuclear arms.

President Obama sent the document to Congress on May 5 for Congressional review and possible revision, and the Government Printing Office subsequently posted the draft declaration on its web site.

As of Tuesday evening, the reasons for that action remained a mystery. On its cover, the document attributes its publication to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. But Lynne Weil, the committee spokesperson, said the committee “neither published it nor had control over its publication.”

No military information
Gary Somerset, a spokesman for the Government Printing Office, said it had “produced” the document “under normal operating procedures” but had now removed it from its web site pending “further review.”

The document contains no military information about the nation’s stockpile of nuclear arms, or about the facilities and programs that guard such weapons. Rather, it presents that appears to be an exhaustive listing of the sites that comprise the nation’s civilian nuclear complex, which stretches coast-to-coast and includes everything from nuclear reactors to highly sensitive sites at weapon laboratories.

Steven Aftergood, a security expert at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, revealed the existence of the document Monday in “Secrecy News,” an electronic newsletter that he publishes on the web.

'One-stop shop for information'
He expressed bafflement at its disclosure, calling it “a one-stop shop for information on U.S. nuclear programs.”

In his letter of transmittal to Congress, Mr. Obama characterized the information as “sensitive but unclassified” and said all the information that the United States gathered to comply with the advanced protocol “shall be exempt from disclosure” under the Freedom of Information Act.

The report details the locations of hundreds of nuclear sites and activities. Each page is marked across the top “HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL SAFEGUARDS SENSITIVE,” with the exception of pages that detailed additional information such as site maps. In his transmittal letter, Mr. Obama said the cautionary language was a classification category of the I.A.E.A.’s inspectors.

The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna is a unit of the United Nations whose mandate is to enforce a global treaty that tries to keep civilian nuclear programs from engaging in secret military work.

In recent years, it has sought to gain wide adherence to a set of strict inspection rules, known formally as the additional protocol. The rules give the agency powerful new rights to poke its nose beyond known nuclear sites into factories, storage areas, laboratories, schools, and anywhere else that a nation might be preparing to flex its nuclear muscle. The United States signed the agreement in 1998 but only recently moved forward with its implementation.

The report lists many particulars about nuclear programs and facilities at the nation’s three nuclear weapons labs — Los Alamos, Livermore and Sandia — as well as dozens of other federal and private nuclear sites.

Map shows location of a tube vault
One of the most serious disclosures appears to center on the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, which houses the Y-12 National Security Complex, a sprawling site ringed by barbed wire and armed guards. It calls itself the nation’s “Fort Knox” for highly enriched uranium — a main fuel of nuclear arms.

The report lists “Tube Vault 16, East Storage Array,” as a prospective site for nuclear inspection. It said the site, in building 9720-5, contains highly enriched uranium for “long-term storage.”

An attached map is marked “OFFICIAL USE ONLY,” with a dated note from an official saying that the document “may be exempt from public release under the “Freedom of Information Act.” The map shows the exact location of Tube Vault 16 along a hallway and its orientation in relation to geographic north, although not its location in the Y-12 complex.

Tube vaults are typically cylinders embedded in concrete that prevent the accidental formation of critical masses of highly enriched uranium that could undergo bursts of nuclear fission, known as a criticality incident. According to federal reports, a typical tube vault can hold up to 44 tons of highly enriched uranium in 200 tubes. Motion detectors and television cameras typically monitor activity at each vault.

Another entry details a site at Hanford site of the Department of Energy, located near Richland, Wash., on the Columbia River. Its job was making plutonium — another bomb fuel — for the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

'It's no national-security breach'
The document lists building 2736-Z as a site for possible inspection, saying it contains plutonium. An addendum provides a building map, marked “OFFICIAL USE ONLY.”

The Senate Foreign Relations committee also received the sensitive document but kept it private, a committee spokesman said.

Thomas B. Cochran, a senior scientist in the nuclear program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a private group in Washington that tracks atomic arsenals, called the document harmless. “It’s a better listing than anything I’ve seen” of the nation’s civilian nuclear complex, he said. “But it’s no national-security breach. It confirms what’s already out there and adds a bit more information.”

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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 08:32 PM
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To build a jigsaw puzzle it helps to have a picture of what you're building. It's not the puzzle. It's not directions for assemble the puzzle. It's an overview of the puzzle.

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thats what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 08:39 PM
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Anyone within 200 miles of Knoxville knows about and knows folks that work at Y12. It is the biggest open secret in this country, well maybe with the exception of Groom Lake and our little igloos.

While you might know where they are, and might be able to drive your budget rent a truck up to the fence, good luck from there. You will need it. I have been in the igloos and the security is more than sufficient.

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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 08:45 PM
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Well, case closed. They don't need waterboarding!
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregs210 View Post
There's more information in the NYT article:

I liked the description of the tube vault...that's a lot of potential there.

I was actually surprised the list didn't end up published in OT.

The link to the 267 page PDF is still all over the web.

In doing the search the file name will confuse the NeoCons because one of the primary words is NOT spelled nucular.

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