Document that gives detailed information about civilian nuclear sites and programs, marked “highly confidential,” was accidentally made public by the federal government.
A 266-page document that gives detailed information about civilian nuclear sites and programs, marked “highly confidential,” was accidentally made public by the federal government, the New York Times reported Tuesday. The document’s publication was revealed Monday in an online newsletter about federal secrecy issues. The Times described the document as including maps that identify where nuclear weapons fuel is stockpiled, though it contained no information about military nuclear operations. It was removed from the Government Printing Office 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. Some nuclear experts told the Times that the release was not a security threat, as many of the details revealed were already available to the public.
Former Director of Central Intelligence and Deputy Secretary of Defense John Deutch even dismissed concerns by saying, “These screw-ups happen.” In a written statement late Tuesday, Damien LaVera, a spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration, said that while administration officials “would have preferred it not be released, the Departments of Energy, Defense, and Commerce and the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] all thoroughly reviewed it to ensure that no information of direct national security significance would be compromised.”
But David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a group that tracks nuclear proliferation, told the Times that releasing information on nuclear fuels “can provide thieves or terrorists inside information that can help them seize the material.” The list details the existence of nuclear facilities at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois and a Westinghouse research facility in Pittsburgh, among others. President Obama sent the document to Congress for review on May 5. The printing office then published it online. – foxnews
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, Mr. Cochran said. “But it’s no national-security breach. It confirms what’s already out there and adds a bit more information.” – nytimes