Information Policy

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Status Brief

Developmental Milestones/Developments to Date:

Current Assessment/State of the Field:




Defense Security Service DoD Desk Reference Guide for Conducting Classified Conferences.” Security Education, Training and Awareness Directorate.

  1. “This guide outlines procedures for preparing, processing, providing security, and approving requests for DoD sponsored classified conferences.”
  2. “Announcement of the classified conference should be unclassified and limited to a general description of topics expected to be presented, names of speakers, logistical information, and administrative and security instructions.”

Classified, Information Policy



  1. “Al-Qa’ida documents recovered from a training camp in Afghanistan show interest in a variety of biological agents and mentioned plague, anthrax, cholera and tularemia.”
  2. “To determine threat, we examine an actor’s capability and intent. We assess capability based on factors such as the actor’s level of skill or knowledge, their ability to acquire a biological agent, the materials necessary to grow the agent and their capacity to effectively disseminate a biological agent. For intent, in addition to the actor’s desire to simply use biological weapons, we discern which agents they are more likely to pursue, their preferred method of deployment and which targets they intend to attack.”
  3. “Last month one of our analysts provided some of the Committee members with a classified briefing on the specifics of the current bioterrorist threat to the Homeland.  I will not be able to revisit this classified threat assessment in this open forum but we would be happy to provide this information to additional members in a closed session.”
  4. “On occasion, we require quick access to information that does not reside within IA. In these cases, our analysts are supported to the Biodefense Knowledge Center (BKC)—a 24×7 support cell based at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and sponsored by the S&T Directorate. The BKC possesses vast repositories of biological technical information and is able to access SMEs from around the country, such as the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense (USAMRICD), and the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (AFMIC), in support of a tasking from IA. The BKC compiles the appropriate information and relays it to our analysts who integrate the information into their finished intelligence analysis.”
  5. “Our analysts regularly collaborate with other intelligence agencies, particularly NCTC, DIA, FBI, and CIA.  We also work with experts from government, academic, and private institutions and partner with scientists who keep us abreast of their potential areas of concern and the trends they see.  Interaction with outside public and private sector institutions keeps us well-informed of new and emerging technology that may be exploited or misused by malicious actors.  For example, IA recently hosted a workshop on emerging biotechnologies and the future biological threat.  This provided a forum for non-governmental experts to provide IA with information of which they believe we should monitor.”
  6. “Our analysts are broadly focused and access a wide array of information in gathering source material for our assessments. They use all-source intelligence, scientific and technical information, terrorist profiles, historical trends, and open source information such as media reports and scientific journal articles.”</div>
  7. “We keep current on foreign State biological weapons program developments as these activities may have implications for future terrorist events. We look at the intent of the enemy, their capabilities, potential scenarios, and attack vectors. Working with counterterrorist experts in the Community, we develop link charts on potential associates here in the United States of operatives abroad who may have received training in WMD capabilities or have knowledge of WMD programs.”
  8. “we assessed the implications of the H2N2 influenza shipment in which a U.S. contractor sent a highly virulent strain of influenza to hundreds of laboratories worldwide. We also recently published an Information Bulletin advising State and local Law Enforcement officials of
    indicators of covert anthrax production. Generally, our products fall into two categories: threat assessments and feasibility assessments.”
  9. “Threat Assessments. Threat assessments are written on known actors and are based on specific intelligence. To determine threat, we examine an actor’s capability and intent. We calculate capability based on factors such as a particular actor’s level of skill or knowledge; their ability to acquire a biological agent and the materials necessary to grow the agent; and their capacity to effectively disseminate a biological agent. For intent, we consider more than just an actor’s desire to use biological weapons. We attempt to discern which agents they are more likely to pursue, their preferred method of deployment, and which targets they intend to attack.”
  10. “Feasibility Assessments. Intelligence is never complete or all-knowing and we cannot wait until intelligence is received in order to consider plausible scenarios or the impact of a particular technique or technology on a bioterrorist’s capability. To move beyond this limitation, IA, in partnership with S&T, conducts assessments of biological processes, emerging technologies, and techniques and determines their feasibility for use in a bioterrorism event.  These assessments include indicators that will help to identify if a particular scenario begins to unfold so we can prevent or disrupt events before they occur. In conjunction with the feasibility assessment, we are producing unclassified excerpts with the indicators which are distributed widely to local, State, Federal officials as well as the private sector to enhance awareness in the field and to increase suspicious activity reporting and trigger investigations where necessary.”
  11. “IA also has produced several bioterrorism-specific ‘‘red team’’ products, which explore issues from a terrorist’s perspective using nongovernmental experts and creative thinkers. These topics have included terrorist use of genetically modified food and recombinant DNA technologies to damage the U.S. food supply; possible terrorist exploitation of a U.S. flu vaccine shortage; and the safety and security impacts of a pandemic influenza outbreak.”
  12. “Under the BioShield legislation, DHS is charged with assessing current and emerging threats of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents; and determining which of such agents present a material threat against the United States population. S&T, supported by IA, has been conducting Material Threat Assessments (MTAs) and Material Threat Determinations (MTDs) in order to guide near term BioShield requirements and acquisitions.”
  13. “MTAs … are speculative and represent a best estimate of how an adversary may create a high-consequence event using the agent/weapon in question. Currently, MTAs are drafted by the S&T and IA provides comments on the assessment before it is provided to HHS. In our review, we ensure that the assessment reflects what IA assesses is the general capability of terrorist groups that are pursuing biological weapons.”
  14. “MTAs result in an estimate of the number of exposed individuals, the geographical extent of the exposure, and other collateral effects. If these consequences are of such a magnitude to be of significant concern to our national security, the Secretary of DHS then issues a formal Material Threat Determination to the Secretary of HHS, which initiates the BioShield process. To date, one MTA has been completed for anthrax and MTAs for plague, botulinum toxin, tularemia, radiological devices and chemical nerve agents are underway and an MTA for viral hemorrhagic fevers will be initiated next month. MTDs have been approved for four agents: smallpox, anthrax, botulinum toxin, and radiological/nuclear devices.”
  15. “IA, in cooperation with NCTC and the FBI, is providing WMD outreach briefings around the country. These briefings outline the terrorist WMD threat, including descriptions of the types of weapons used and indicators and warnings aimed at increase awareness and reporting. In the near future, we hope to expand these briefings to other audiences such as academia and the private sector to further increase awareness and reporting.”
  16. “IA will be playing a key role in supplying current intelligence to the National Biosurveillance Integration System (NBIS) operations center once it begins operation later this summer. NBIS will fuse information on human, plant, and animal health with environmental monitoring of air, food, and water systems. This information will be integrated with threat and intelligence information to provide real-time situational awareness and identify anomalies or trends of concern to the Homeland Security Operations Center.”

Project Bioshield, Al-Qaeda, Information Policy, Academia, Lab Safety, Flu, Vaccination, Law Enforcement, WMD, Plague, Anthrax, Biosurveillance, Nuclear, Radiological Surveillance, Cholera, Tularemia


Reitze, Arnold, Jr., “Emergency Response and Planning Requirements Applicable to Unpermitted Air Pollution Releases,” 2005 B.Y.U.L. Rev. 1075, P. 1184.

  1. “CAA section 112(r)(1) includes a general duty clause that imposes on owners and operators of stationary sources handling extremely hazardous substances a general duty in the same manner and to the same extent as section 654 of Title 29 [OSH Act] to identify hazards which may result from such releases using appropriate hazard assessment techniques, to design and maintain a safe facility taking such steps as are necessary to prevent releases, and to minimize the consequences of accidental releases which do occur. n865”
  2. ”…  It places a burden of prevention and minimization on owners or operators without regulatory action by the EPA, and it prevents shifting of liability to the government because of the EPA’s approval of risk management plans. n867”
  3. ”…The clause imposes three obligations: (1) identify hazards from potential accidental release; (2) design and maintain a safe facility in taking the necessary steps to prevent release; and (3) minimize damage from actual accidental releases. n868 The general duty clause itself does not prescribe how these measures will be achieved. n869 The clause is performance-based; it places the burden on those using these substances to demonstrate safe practices regarding accidental releases. n870” …
  4. ”Because the general duty clause is based on the OSH Act, n873 the case law construing the Act, including the decisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, are applicable. n874 Importantly, however, only the EPA and DOJ can enforce the general duty clause. n875 States, even with delegation of risk management programs, cannot enforce the clause. n876”
  5. p. 1187 ”The DOJ was to review the effect of Clean Air Act (CAA) regulations on the prevention of chemical releases, including those that may be released as a result of chemical activity. It also was to develop, test, and validate a protype vulnerability assessment methodology to assess the security of chemical facilities against terrorist and criminal acts. n887 On May 30, 2002, nearly two years late, the DOJ submitted its interim report. It was based on a study of only eleven of the 15,000 chemical manufacturing facilities subject to the CAA’s RMP provisions; therefore, the study cannot be generalized to the industry as a whole. The DOJ determined the report’s release would pose a threat to national security, and, based on the CAA (42 U.S.C. 7412(r)(7)(H)(xi)(III)), it would not make the report public. n888 On May 6, 2002, the EPA’s Administrator was given the authority in an administrative order to classify as “secret” any information that might pose a national security risk. n889 The legislation establishing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) exempts from public disclosure information about physical and cybersecurity for information submitted voluntarily to DHS. n890”
  6. P.1190 “The CAA section 112(r), both the general duty clause and section 112(r)(7)(A), could be used to deal with terrorist threats. However, it is not clear that an intentional targeting of a facility or a population was intended to be covered by section 112(r)’s planning requirements; nor is it clear that the general duty clause, which is [*1191] based on OSHA’s general duty clause, was ever intended for use as a homeland security measure. A legislative fix is needed, but it has been a difficult task to develop a comprehensive bill that a majority in Congress would support. To date, only narrowly focused legislation has been enacted.”

Law, Chemical, Information Policy, Law Enforcement


Gorman, Brian, J., “Biosecurity and Secrecy Policy: Problems, Theory, and a Call for Executive Action,” I/S, A Journal of Law and Policy 2, no. 1 (2006): 53-102.

  1. “For the first time since the formalization of information policy at the federal level, there is an opportunity to fashion a well reasoned solution to the growing dual use dilemma in life science research. This paper examines the biosecurity threat in the context of federal secrecy policy and dynamics of the information society. In the absence of a rich literature on secrecy theory, an attempt to examine the theoretical issues underlying aspects of federal secrecy policy is undertaken with particular emphasis on classic problems in secrecy policy.”
  2. “The duty to consider developing countries when assuming public health risks related to the public release of dual use biological research is introduced.”
  3. “It is also suggested that the Executive amend Export Administration Regulations in order to create a notice mechanism to enable national security vetting of U.S. research on select agents, toxins and microorganisms integrally related to pandemics and bioweapons.”

Information Policy, Open Science, Developing Countries, Public Health, Pandemic


Cheadle, Shawn. “Are you up to Date on Export Compliance?Military Microwaves Supplement. 8. August, 2008

  1. “To export defense articles or technical data, companies must remain compliant with regulations enforced by the US State Department (State), US Customs Agency, Department of Commerce (Commerce), the Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC), Homeland Security, and the Census Bureau among others.” – page 8
  2. “Technical data is defined as follows by the EAR: information that is required for the design, development, production, manufacture, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance or modification of controlled items requiring a license to export.” – page 9
  3. “The penalties for exporting without a license may be severe, including both criminal and civil penalties to the corporation and even the individuals involved.” – page 9
  4. “US companies found guilty of violating the various laws will generally be debarred from exporting for three years, and may be debarred for much longer.” – page 9
  5. “The State Department uses both the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to control exports.” – page 9
  6. “Primarily, under the EAR, you must classify your products against the Commerce Control List to see if they have an Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) or will be designated as “EAR99.”” – page 14
  7. “Just because you have classified products as EAR99 does not necessarily mean that the products may ship as no license required (NLR). You still must consult several prohibitions checklists to determine whether a license is nevertheless required.” – page 14
  8. “All records associated with the review of each export, re-export, deemed export, or exports conducted under a license exception, should be retained by the company and the responsible individuals for five years from the date the item is exported” – page 18

Export Control, Compliance, Military, Homeland Security, State Department, Information Policy


Savage, Charlie, “White House Proposes Changes in Bill Protecting Reporters’ Confidentialty,NYT, A17, Oct. 1, 2009.

  1. “The Obama administration … opposes legislation that could protect reporters from being impriisioned if they refuse to disclose confidential sources who leak material about national security.”
  2. “The bill includes safeguards that would require prosecutors to exhaust other methods for finding the source of information before subpoenaing a reporter, and would balance investigators’ interests with ‘the public interest in gathering news and maintaining the free flow of information.'”
  3. “Officials from the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have also opposed protecting reporters who write about classified matters.”
  4. “About three dozen states have some form of a reporter-shield law, Ms. Daglish said.”
  5. “Mr. Spector saod taht at least 19 journalists had been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors for information about confidential sources since 2001 and that four had been imprisoned for refusing to comply.”

Open Science, Information Policy


Markoff, John, “I.B.M. Joins Pursuit of $1,000 Personal Genome,” NYT, D2, October 6, 2009.

  1. “‘More and more of biology is becoming an information science, which is very much a business for I.B.M.,’ said Ajay Royyuru, senior manager for I.B.M.’s computational biology center.”
  2. “various approaches to nanopore-based sequencing had been tried for years, with only limited success.”

Information Policy


Markoff, John, “Pentagon Research Director Visits universities in Bid to Re-energize Partnerships,” NYT, A18, Oct. 7, 2009.

  1. “Anthony J. Tether, a Bush administration appointee … pushed the agency [Defense Advanced Research Projects (Darpa)] toward more classified research.”
  2. “Under Dr. tether, the agency’s relationship with some of the nation’s leading technology universities had become decidedly chilly as basic research financing declined.”
  3. ”During the Bush administration, Darpa’s guidelines for financing basic research changed markedly, said Peter Harsha, … The agency shortened the period of research finanicng and tied it to one year ‘go, no-go’ decisions, undercutting longer-term projects.  It enforced classification of research or prepublication review on scientific papers, and it established strict United States citizenship requirements for some financing, … ‘It sounds like a lot of that is changing now,’ he (Harsha) said.”
  4. “Dr. Dugan, the new director of the Pentagon’s research arm, “acknowledged that increasing classification of research had lessened the impact of the agency’s technology on both civilian and military infrastructure, according to several people who participated in the discussions.”

Open Science, Information Policy


Broad, William, J., “Property of Nuclear Critic Is Seized by Federal Agents,” NYT, A23, oct. 21, 2009.

  1. “Federal agents have seized six computers, two cameras, two cellphones and hundreds of files from a Los Alamos, N.M., physicist who has criticized the government’s nuclear agenda as misguided.”
  2. “The physicist, P. Leonardo Mascheroni, said he was told that the seizures were part of a criminal investigation into possible nuclear espionage.”
  3. “[He has] championed an innovative type of laser fusion, which seeks to harness the energy that powers the sun, the stars and hydrogen bombs.”
  4. “The secrets of hydrogen bombs and laser fusion can be similar, and the federal investigation appears to center on whether Dr. Mascheroni broke federal rules in discussing his proposed laser with a man who called himself a representative of the Venezuelan government.”
  5. “a man claiming to be a Venezuelan representative agreed to pay him $800,000 for a laser study.  Dr. Mascheroni said he delivered the unclassified study but was never paid.”

Law Enforcement, Nuclear, Information Policy, Venezuela, Classified
Buettner, Russ, Stowe, Stacy, “Ex-Police Commissioner Is jailed As Judge Assails Pretrial Conduct: Bail Revoked as Former Bush Nominee Is Denounced From the Bench for Leaking Sealed Material,” NYT, A25, Oct. 21, 2009.

  1. “[Kerik] was sent to jail Tuesday by a federal judge who said Mr. kerik had leaked sealed information from his criminal trial as part of an attempt to generate public sympathy.”
  2. “[Judge Robinson described his as] a ‘toxic combination of self-minded focus and arrogance.’ And I fear that combination leads him to believe his ends justify his means,'”
  3. “‘He’s hired Mr. Modafferi as a propagandist and chief fundraiser.'”
  4. “Defense lawyers said that the e-mail message that Mr. Kerik sent to Mr. Modafferi was labeled ‘confidential’ and that Mr. Modafferi would understand that it could not be made public.

Information Policy


Schwartz, John, “C.I.A. Didn’t Violate Rights, Court Says,” NYT, A 16, Nov. 13, 2009.

  1. “The Central Intelligence Agency did not violate the free speech rights of a former operative, Valerie Wilson, when it prohibited publication of details of her work before 2002 for the agency, a federal appeals court ruled.”
  2. “[Wilson argued] that the information was already on the pulbic domain and publication should have been permitted.”
  3. “[The court’s opinion stated] ‘When Ms. Wilson elected to serve with the C.I.A., she accepted a life-long restriction on her ability to disclose classified and classifiable information.’ … these circumstances [previous disclosure of the same information by others] do not absolve Ms. Wilson of her own secrecy obligation.'”

Information Policy


Schwartz, John, “Two German Killers Demanding Anonymity Sue Wikipedia’s Parent,NYT, A 13, Nov. 13, 2009.

  1. “Wolfgang Werle and Manfred Lauber became infamous for killing a German actor in 1990.  Now they are suing to force Wikipedia to forget them.”
  2. “The legal fight pits German privacy law against the American First Amendment.”
  3. “But Germany’s courts have come up with a different balance between the right to privacy and the public’s right to know, Mr. Abrams said.”
  4. “Publications generally comply with the law, Mr. Hoppner said.”
  5. “he [Hoppner] said, but the logic may not be workable in the Internet age, when archival material that was legally published at the time can be called up with a simple Google search.”

Information Policy, Jurisdiction, Germany


Sanger, David, E., “U.S. Releasing Nuclear Data On Its Arsenal,” NYT, A10, May 3, 2010.

  1. “The Pentagon on Monday will release long-classified statistics about the total size of America’s nuclear arsenal, part of an effort to make the case that the country is honoring its treaty commitments to shrink its inventory of weapons significantly, senior administration officials said Sunday.”
  2. “For years, American intelligence officials have objected to publishing quantitive descriptions of the nuclear arsenal, concerned that the figures might help terrorist groups calculating the minimum nuclear fuel needed for a weapon.  But administration officials said reputable Web sites that track such issues have long noted that American weapons designers need an average of around 4 kilograms of plutonium, or 8.8 pounds.”
  3. “‘It became clear there was a way to get the transparency without revealing any state secrets,’ a senior administration official said, declining to speak on the record because the numbers had not yet been declassified.”

Information Policy, Nuclear


Carr, David, “A Lost iphone Shows Apple’s Churlish Side,” NYT, B1, May 3, 2010.

  1. “Officiers from San Mateo COunty Sheriff’s Office kicked in a journalist’s doors and confiscated comuters.  Apple didn’t do the kicking, but it apparently filed the complaint–not seeking the return of the phone, which they had already retrieved, but information.”
  2. “Perhaps the law is on the side of Apple and that of the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team, California’s high-tech crimes task force, which served the warrant (Apple is represented on the public agency’s board.”
  3. “Anybody with a kilobyte of common sense could have told Steve Jobs that the five minutes of pleasure that came from making a criminal complaint against journalists would be followed by much misery.”
  4. “Apple executives have often behaved as though the ultimate custody and control of information lies with them, …”

Information Policy


Shanker, Thom, “Loophole May Have Aided Theft of Classified Data,NYT, July 8, 2010 gaga&st=cse&adxnnl=1&scp=1&adxnnlx=1279090805-QBlmeAmcqVZu6CQdJRU0Ww

  1. “Criminal charges were filed this week against the soldier, Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, 22, who was accused of downloading more than 150,000 diplomatic cables, as well as secret videos and a PowerPoint presentation.”
  2. “A Defense Department directive from November 2008 prohibits the use of small thumb drives or larger external memory devices on any of the estimated seven million computers operated by the Pentagon and armed services. The order was issued to forestall the accidental infection of national security computer networks by viruses — and the intentional removal of classified information.”
  3. “Defense Department computers have their portals disabled to prevent the use of external memory devices that are ubiquitous in homes, offices and schools, officials said.”
  4. “According to Pentagon officials and one former hacker who has communicated with Private Manning, he appears to have taken compact discs that can accept text, video and other data files into an intelligence center in the desert of eastern Iraq to copy and remove the classified information.”
  5. “The four pages of official charges against Private Manning accuse him of downloading and removing the classified data from last November to May. The charges say he also loaded unauthorized software onto a computer linked to the military’s classified computer network, called the SIPR-Net.”
  6. “In downloading more than 150,000 diplomatic cables, the charges state, Private Manning did “intentionally exceed his authorized access on” the SIPR-Net.”

Information Policy, Classified, Military


Tuller, David, “Delay in Release of Study on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Prompts an Outcry.” NYT July 14, 2010, checked July 19, 2010.

  1. “Researchers at the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, citing a need to re-evaluate their data, have delayed publication of a new study believed to provide evidence of a link between chronic fatigue syndrome and a little-known retrovirus.”
  2. “The study, already peer-reviewed, was supposed to appear in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The delay has sparked an outcry on blogs and social networking sites among chronic fatigue patients, who are desperate for answers about their debilitating illness and fear that important scientific data are being suppressed.”
  3. “Federal officials said publication was delayed because the findings contradicted those of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted its own study on chronic fatigue and the retrovirus, known as XMRV. The C.D.C. study, which found no connection, was initially also held up for reassessment because of the discrepancies, but was eventually published on July 1 in the journal Retrovirology.”
  4. “A spokeswoman for the National Institutes of Health declined to comment in detail, but provided a statement from Dr. Harvey Alter, an author of the still-unpublished study and an N.I.H. infectious-disease expert. He said, ‘My colleagues and I are conducting additional experiments to ensure that the data are accurate and complete,” adding, ‘Our goal is not speed, but scientific accuracy.’”

Information Policy


Cruickshank, Paul, “U.S. citizen believed to be writing for al Qaeda website, source says,” CNN Checked July 19, 2010.

  1. “A senior U.S. law enforcement official has told CNN that U.S. intelligence believes the principal author of the new online al Qaeda magazine is an American citizen who left for Yemen in October 2009.”
  2. “The magazine — called “Inspire” — appeared last week. Running to nearly 70 pages online, it included articles on bomb-making and encrypting electronic messages, as well as an interview with fugitive Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al Awlaki.”
  3. “The source has identified the driving force behind “Inspire” as 23-year-old Samir Khan, who previously lived in North Carolina and was involved in radical Islamist blogs, including one he ran called “Jihad Recollections.” The source says Khan traveled to Yemen on a round-trip ticket but has not come back to the United States.”
  4. “In a profile in 2007, the New York Times described him as ‘a kind of Western relay station for the multimedia productions of violent Islamic groups.’”

Information Policy, al-Qaeda


Yaakov Lappin, “Leaked Documents Suggest Taliban Chemical Strike on U.S. Soldiers“, 27 July 2010, Global Security Newswire. Last Checked 23 September 2010.

  1. “Terrorist organizations sought nuclear and other WMD materials as early as 1993, according to one time line by former CIA and Energy Department intelligence officer Rolf Mowatt-Larssen. Former al-Qaeda operative Abu Khabab al-Masri, now deceased, was assigned to militarize biological and chemical agents for use in terrorist attacks.”
  2. “A separate military log report from two years ago described the arrest of a woman in Ghazni province. A search of her purse revealed multiple documents on constructing bombs and employing chemical weapons, along with quantities of unidentified chemicals, according to the field report. Wired reported that the woman is likely Aafia Siddiqui, who at one point was on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorist fugitives.”
  3. “al-Qaeda was plotting to produce chemical warfare agents to be disseminated by rocket-propelled grenades, the London Guardian reported.”
  4. “One document addresses a special operations forces effort to clear an area of multiple improvised explosive devices and battle insurgents on Feb. 14, 2009. After one bomb was detonated ‘a yellow cloud was emitted and personnel began feeling nauseous,’ according to the combined Joint Special Operations Task Force field log. Dust samples were gathered and the team went back to its base.”
  5. “Another military field report stated that in June 2007 U.S. soldiers in eastern Afghanistan reported being tipped off to an extremist plot to contaminate the food supply of allied troops in the country by stealing coalition food trucks.‘The plan is to inject the bottles or the packages of food with unidentified chemicals, or recreate the same type of packages with contaminated versions of the same product,’ the report said.”

Chemical, Information Policy, al-Qaeda
Shane, Scott, “Pentagon Plan: Buying Books to Keep Secrets,” NYT Sept. 9, 2010. last checked sept 10, 2010.

  1. “Defense Department officials are negotiating to buy and destroy all 10,000 copies of the first printing of an Afghan war memoir they say contains intelligence secrets, according to two people familiar with the dispute.”
  2. “The publication of “Operation Dark Heart,” by Anthony A. Shaffer, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, has divided military security reviewers and highlighted the uncertainty about what information poses a genuine threat to security.”
  3. “Disputes between the government and former intelligence officials over whether their books reveal too much have become commonplace. But veterans of the publishing industry and intelligence agencies could not recall another case in which an agency sought to dispose of a book that had already been printed.”
  4. “Army reviewers suggested various changes and redactions and signed off on the edited book in January, saying they had “no objection on legal or operational security grounds,” and the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, planned for an Aug. 31 release.”
  5. “But when the Defense Intelligence Agency saw the manuscript in July and showed it to other spy agencies, reviewers identified more than 200 passages suspected of containing classified information, setting off a scramble by Pentagon officials to stop the book’s distribution.”
  6. “Release of the book “could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to national security,” Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess Jr., the D.I.A. director, wrote in an Aug. 6 memorandum. He said reviewers at the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and United States Special Operations Command had all found classified information in the manuscript.”
  7. “The disputed material includes the names of American intelligence officers who served with Colonel Shaffer and his accounts of clandestine operations, including N.S.A. eavesdropping operations, according to two people briefed on the Pentagon’s objections. They asked not to be named because the negotiations are supposed to be confidential.”
  8. “By the time the D.I.A. objected, however, several dozen copies of the unexpurgated 299-page book had already been sent out to potential reviewers, and some copies found their way to online booksellers. The New York Times was able to buy a copy online late last week.”
  9. “The dispute arises as the Obama administration is cracking down on disclosures of classified information to the news media, pursuing three such prosecutions to date, the first since 1985. Separately, the military has charged an Army private with giving tens of thousands of classified documents to the organization WikiLeaks.”
  10. “Colonel Shaffer, his lawyer, Mark S. Zaid, and lawyers for the publisher are near an agreement with the Pentagon over what will be taken out of a new edition to be published Sept. 24, with the allegedly classified passages blacked out. But the two sides are still discussing whether the Pentagon will buy the first printing, currently in the publisher’s Virginia warehouse, and at what price.”
  11. “A Pentagon spokesman, Cmdr. Bob Mehal, said the book had not received a proper ‘information security review’ initially and that officials were working ‘closely and cooperatively’ with the publisher and author to resolve the problem.”
  12. “In a brief telephone interview this week before Army superiors asked him not to comment further, Colonel Shaffer said he did not think it contained damaging disclosures. ‘I worked very closely with the Army to make sure there was nothing that would harm national security,’ he said.”
  13. “‘Operation Dark Heart’ is a breezily written, first-person account of Colonel Shaffer’s five months in Afghanistan in 2003, when he was a civilian D.I.A. officer based at Bagram Air Base near Kabul.”
  14. “The book includes some details that typically might be excised during a required security review, including the names of C.I.A. and N.S.A. officers in Afghanistan, casual references to “N.S.A.’s voice surveillance system,” and American spying forays into Pakistan.”
  15. “David Wise, author of many books on intelligence, said the episode recalled the C.I.A.’s response to the planned publication of his 1964 book on the agency, ‘The Invisible Government.’ John A. McCone, then the agency’s director, met with him and his co-author, Thomas B. Ross, to ask for changes, but they were not government employees and refused the request.
    The agency studied the possibility of buying the first printing, Mr. Wise said, but the publisher of Random House, Bennett Cerf, told the agency he would be glad to sell all the copies to the agency — and then print more.
    ‘Their clumsy efforts to suppress the book only made it a bestseller,’ Mr. Wise said.”

Information Policy, Classified, Military


Schmitt, Eric, “Air Force Limits Access to Web Sites Over Secret Cables,” NYT, December 14, 2010. Last checked December 14, 2010.

  1. “The Air Force is barring its personnel from using work computers to view the Web sites of The New York Times and more than 25 other news organizations and blogs that have posted secret cables obtained by WikiLeaks, Air Force officials said on Tuesday.”
  2. “When Air Force personnel on the service’s computer network try to view the Web sites of The Times, the Guardian of London, Germany’s Der Spiegel, Spain’s El Pais and France’s Le Monde, as well as other sites that posted full confidential cables, the screen says: ‘Access Denied: Internet usage is logged and monitored,’ according to an Air Force official whose access was blocked … Violators are warned they faced punishment if they tried to view classified material from unauthorized Web sites.”
  3. “Computer network operators at the 24th Air Force last week followed longstanding policy to keep classified information off unclassified computer systems, Air Force officials said. ‘News media Web sites will be blocked if they post classified documents from the WikiLeaks Web site,’ said Lt. Col. Brenda Campbell, a spokeswoman for the Air Force Space Command. ‘This is similar to how we’d block any other Web site that posted classified information.’”
  4. “Colonel Campbell said that only sites posting full classified documents, not just excerpts, would be blocked.”
  5. “Spokesmen for the Army, Navy and Marines said they were not blocking the Web sites of news organizations, largely because guidance has already been issued by the Obama administration and the Defense Department directing hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors not to read the secret cables and other classified documents published by WikiLeaks unless the workers have the required security clearance or authorization.”
  6. “‘Classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites or disclosed to the media, remains classified, and must be treated as such by federal employees and contractors, until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. Government authority,’ said a notice sent on Dec. 3 by the Office of Management and Budget, which is part of the White House, to agency and department heads.”
  7. “Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, a secrecy specialist, said that since the O.M.B. directive about a dozen agencies have implemented their own approaches to the order that tells employees not to look at the WikiLeaks cables. For instance, Mr. Aftergood said NASA, the Library of Congress and the Congressional Research Service have gone beyond the O.M.B. directive so their computers block access to the WikiLeaks sites, as many military computer networks already do.”

Information Policy, Classified, Military


Suk, Jonathan, Zmorzynska, Anna, et al., “Dual-Use Research and Technological Diffusion: Reconsidering the Bioterrorism Threat Spectrum”, PLOS Pathogens, January 13, 2011, last checked February 20, 2011.

  1. ”Activities that have garnered substantial attention include chemically synthesizing the poliovirus [9] and the ΦX174 bacteriophage [10], demonstrating the importance of a variola virus gene for its virulence [11], and reconstituting the 1918 influenza virus [12]. Each has been classified as dual use research of concern (DURC), which is defined by the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) as ‘research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied by others’.”
  2. ”The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) was established in 2005 with the mandate to strengthen Europe’s defenses against infectious diseases through developing European Union–wide surveillance networks and early warning systems, coordinating scientific studies, and identifying emerging health threats.”
  3. ”As a part of ECDC efforts to evaluate potential bioterrorism threats, we reviewed 27 assessments (published between 1997 and 2008) that address the links between life science research and bioterrorism with the objective of identifying DURC relevant for public health (Text S1). The focus of the review was limited to the application of DURC by terrorist organizations and it did not consider state-sponsored biological weapons programs.”
  4. ”…we conducted a threat assessment during an expert workshop. The purpose of this threat assessment was to identify those DURC activities that would be the most easily deployed by bioterrorists. The key parameters for this assessment were the level of expertise required for conducting any given DURC activity and the level of equipment required to conduct the work. In the threat assessment, an estimated threat level was calculated for each DURC activity by giving a score ranging from 1 (high threshold) to 3 (low threshold) for both parameters, and then multiplying these scores to yield the final threat, which could be 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, or 9. Higher scores indicate a higher likelihood of success if they were to be undertaken by bioterrorists.”
  5. ”The recent history of bioterrorism also suggests that more attention should be allotted to low tech threats [30].”
  6. ”We do not suggest that high tech bioterrorism threats do not exist—rather, that their likelihoods should be re-evaluated. Biosecurity policy discussions could gain more nuance and credibility by adopting more sophisticated notions about the challenges inherent in conducting and replicating advanced research.”
  7. “The United States Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism believes it is very likely that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack by the end of 2013, and that an attack with a biological weapon is more likely than one with a nuclear weapon” (Pg. 1)
  8. “Al Qaeda is believed to have failed to obtain and work with pathogens by the early 2000s [32], and this likely remains the case. In comparison, the contamination of food and water, and direct injection/application of a pathogen, all have much lower technical hurdles and might be expected to be rather more successfully deployed [31]. The best known example is the contamination of salad bars with Salmonella by the Rajneeshee cult in 1984, which led to roughly 751 illnesses and 45 hospitalizations” (Pg. 2)
  9. “the most successful ‘‘bioterrorists’’ of all, nature and globalization, which have led to the emergence of numerous new communicable diseases in recent years [39–41]. A focus on strengthening global health security has been put forward by the Obama administration [42] and the European Commission [38], and has also gained prominence in fora such as the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention [43]. Public health, too, is dual use: it can be leveraged to counter natural and intentional disease outbreaks” (Pg. 3)

Dual Use, Bioterrorism, Information Policy, Biosurveillance, Europe

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