Friday, 12 March 1999 Washington, DC
1. SECRECY I: SENATOR SHELBY WANTS TIGHTER SECRECY RULES.
The current furor
over a possible leak of classified information at Los Alamos could have
serious consequences for international scientific exchange. It is not even
clear at this point whether there is actual evidence of a theft of secrets
about the W-88 warhead, or simply an assumption that China could not have made
such rapid progress without help. Nevertheless, new restrictions on foreign
visitors to the weapons labs have been ordered, even though the suspect in the
case was a Los Alamos employee, not some visitor who overheard a conversation
in the men's room. Polygraph testing of weapons scientists has also been
ordered. Currently, only the CIA requires employees to submit to regular
polygraph exams. We have seen how effective that is. The chair of the Select
Committee on Intelligence, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), complained to the
Washington Post that "government scientists have an open attitude toward
scientific exchanges, ignoring the political and national security
2. SECRECY II: SENATOR SHELBY LEADS FIGHT AGAINST SECRET
Senator Shelby who inserted an appropriations earmark requiring that all data
obtained with federal funds be subject to the Freedom of Information Act
(WN 12 Feb 99).
The public comment period on the proposed data access rule, OMB
Circular A-110, ends 5 April 1999. The comments received by OMB are running
strongly in favor of the proposed rule. A popular anti-EPA web site
is conducting a "Stop Secret Science Sweepstakes."
At the end of the comment period, those who have commented
to OMB will be entered
into a random drawing for swell prizes such as a
free subscription to the Wall
3. SECRECY III: THE COST OF KEEPING SECRETS.
According to Steven Garfinkel,
director of the Information Security Oversight Office, the Government
declassified a record 204 million pages in 1997, under President Clinton's
Executive Order 12958. That's actually slightly more than the number of
documents classified in the same period. However, Garfinkel explained to WN
that the size of the classified mountain kept growing as a result of
duplication. The cost of keeping secrets is running about $3.4B per year.
4. FREE ENERGY: STATE DEPARTMENT WITHDRAWS FROM CONFERENCE.
The First International Conference on Free Energy
(WN 5 Mar 99)
will not be held under
the auspices of the US Department of State.
5. SUMMER INTERN: THE APS WASHINGTON OFFICE HAS AN OPENING.
We need a physics major with great writing skills
and a genius IQ, but we're prepared to be
flexible on the IQ. E-mail a writing sample
and brief resume to
have two references
send us an e-mail. Salary and travel negotiable.
Eight weeks. Other interns in Washington have become both rich