[fa.arms-d] Arms-Discussion Digest V3 #9

arms-d@ucbvax.ARPA (02/24/85)

From: Moderator <ARMS-D@MIT-MC.ARPA>

Arms-Discussion Digest Volume 3 : Issue 9
Today's Topics:

		Classification Glossary
		Article: The Death of the State Secret

Date: 20 Feb 85 00:59:45 PST
Subject: Classification Glossary for next article
From: David Booth <DBOOTH@USC-ISIF.ARPA>
To: arms-d@MIT-MC.ARPA, poli-sci@RUTGERS.ARPA

[The New Republic, February 18, 1985, p21]


	The argot of classification requires a glossary for the
	uninitiated.  The following is an explanation of only the most
	frequently used terms.

(C)  Confidential: information the unauthorized disclosure of which
reasonably could be expected to cause damage to national security.

(S)  Secret: disclosure would cause "serious" damage.

(TS)  Top Secret: disclosure would cause "exceptionally grave" damage.

(SCI) Sensitive Compartmented Information of "code word" intelligence
designated by words such as "Umbra" and "Ruff" intended to limit access
to special intelligence more sensitive than Top Secret.

(WNINTEL) Warning Notice: Sensitive Intelligence Sources and Methods

(NC or NOCONTRACT) Information not releasable to government contractors
or consultants.

(OR or ORCON)  The originator of the classified report alone controls
its dissemination or information extracted from it.

(NFD, NF, or NOFORN) "No Foreign Dissemination" or "Not Releasable to
Foreign Nationals."  Exceptions for release to specific countries are
noted on the document, the most frequent exceptions being Great
Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel.

(RD) Restricted Data: a Department of Energy designation regarding the
(1.) design, manufacture, or utilization of atomic weapons, (2.)
production of special nuclear material, or (3.) use of special nuclear
material in the production of energy.

(FRD) Formerly Restricted Data: information which the D.O.E. and
Department of Defense jointly determine relates primarily to the
military use of atomic weapons and can be adequately safeguarded as
defense information.

(NODIS) No Distribution to other than the addressee without the
approval of the executive secretary of the State Department.

(EXDIS) Exclusive Distribution in State Department to persons with an
essential "need to know".

(LIMDIS) Limited Distribution to offices and agencies with a "need to

(FOR YOUR EYES ONLY) Only the person intended to receive the report may
read it -- a charming James Bondish stamp but not a national security

(OUO, LUO, and BUO) Official Use Only, Limited Official use and
Background Use Only -- not national security designations.



Date: 20 Feb 85 01:01:01 PST
Subject: Article: The Death of the State Secret
From: David Booth <DBOOTH@USC-ISIF.ARPA>
To: arms-d@MIT-MC.ARPA, poli-sci@RUTGERS.ARPA

[The New Republic, February 18, 1985, p20-23]

	   For your (and everyone else's) eyes only.

		      By Dale Van Atta

No more hypocritical hokum has made the headlines recently than Defense
Secretary Caspar Weinberger's charge that a Washington Post scoop last
December on the military's space shuttle launch of a spy satellite gave
"aid and comfort to the enemy".  There was nothing in the Post article
the KGB could not have discovered form public sources and its own
intelligence-gathering satellites.  On the other hand, Weinberger
himself on any number of occasions has been known to override the
"national security" arguments of intelligence analysts, and to publicly
release "Top Secret" information on Soviet military capabilities.

The state secret is dying, and although Weinberger would like to
believer that irresponsible journalists have hastened the process, the
truth is that federal officials -- and President Reagan himself -- must
share a large part of the blame.  More than any other president in
recent history, Reagan has presided over a hemorrhage of "national
security" disclosures, in television speeches, official publications,
and leaks.  For all of his professed concerns about guarding state
secrets and his efforts to muzzle overly talkative government
employees, the president has displayed overhead U.S. spy photos of
other countries and approved the publication of at least 25 drawings
and doctored satellite photographs.

To be sure, there are other reasons for the waning of the state secret
than the calculated indiscretions of policymakers.  First, classified
information is poorly protected.  Although millions of dollars have
been spent in background investigations on persons who seek clearances,
and millions more to physically secure intelligence documents, the
government is powerless to prevent an individual from selling secrets,
nor can it make up for human absent-mindedness or tension under
duress.  Second, a growing number of people share the secrets, which of
course diminishes the value and protection of them.  The General
Accounting Office, in a series of little-noticed reports since 1979 on
the management fo classified information, has estimated that as of
January 1, 1983, at least four million federal and civilian contractor
employees held clearances to see classified information.  This doesn't
count CIA and National Security Agency employees, nor does it include
those -- like me, an investigative reporter -- who have "unauthorized
access" to classified documents.  Third, and most significant, the
rubber stamp has been widely misused for millions of bits of
information that have no business being classified, which erodes
respect for real secrets.  In a 1981 study, the GAO reported that a
randomly selected sample of 496 documents included 444 -- or about 90
percent -- that were marked improperly in one or more ways.

Amid the tens of thousands of secret items to which I have had access,
very few of those classified "Confidential" or "Secret" appeared to
contain national security information.  Most of the thousands of "Top
Secret" pages I perused did contain at least one hot item.  In this
category are specially classified documents delineated by code words
after the TS -- "Top Secret" -- marking.  There are hundreds of code
words, and though their very existence is classified, the cover on a
number of them has been blown.  At one U.S. spy trial, both "Umbra" and
"Ruff", referring to communications and satellite intelligence, were
acknowledged.  TK, or "Talent Keyhole", denotes information from the
KH, or "Keyhole", series of satellites; "Chess" marks U-2 and SR-71
overhead photographs; and "Epsilon" is attached to information gleaned
by bugging the foreign embassies fo allies like Great Britain, France,
Canada, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia.

However, bonafide super secrets are rare.  Of 18 million
"classification decisions" in 1983, it is estimated that only 3 percent
were classified "Top Secret".  The other 97 percent were classified
"Confidential" and "Secret", and probably do not deserve the national
security classifications they bear, nor the attendant threat that
unauthorized disclosure "could result in criminal sanctions".  But such
an overload of classified nonsense is inevitable in a system that
empowers two-and-a-half million federal employees to classify

I have identified six ways that the rubber stamp is abused.  They bring
to mind the words of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in the
Pentagon Papers decision: "When everything is classified, then nothing
is classified, and the system becomes one to be disregarded by the
cynical or the careless, and to be manipulated by those intent on
self-protection or self-promotion."

(1.)  Embarrassing Omissions.  Despite executive orders that have
banned classifying information "to prevent embarrassment to a person,
organization or agency", this abuse continues.  For instance, in August
1982, the CIA completed a report, "Outlook for the Siberia-to-Western
Europe Natural Gas Pipeline" (S/NF/NC), which was rather ticklish for
President Reagan.  It said, in effect, that Reagan's sanctions against
the pipeline's construction represented a policy of impotence.  "We
believe", the CIA concluded, "using some combination of Soviet and West
European equipment, deliveries through the new export pipeline could
probably begin . . . about one year later than if the sanctions had not
been imposed."  The report was kept tightly guarded for fear that
Congress or our European allies, who had been hurt by the sanctions,
might use it to force Reagan to back down.

Many Pentagon reports address the abysmal readiness of the U.S.
military, but few are available for public consumption.  Examples
include Pentagon reports that nine out of 16 active Army divisions in
1981 were rated marginally combat-ready or not combat-ready at all (C
-- "Confidential"); that 90 percent of the men and women who maintain
and operate the Army's nuclear weapons in Europe flunked basic skills
tests (S -- "Secret"); or that "overall readiness of the Pacific Fleet
is assessed as marginally combat-ready and declining" (S).  My favorite
is a Pentagon war game report (TS), in which every possible favorable
advantage for NATO was programmed into a computer.  Yet by the fifth
day of the imaginary war, "the Warsaw Pact had penetrated past the NATO
forward general defense positions.  On Day 19, the Warsaw Pact broke
through NATO's rear defensive line and started moving rapidly
westward.  Finally, the war game was terminated on Day 24 when NATO was
unable to maintain a cohesive defense."

(2.)  Illusions of Importance.  Ego is often a reason for abusing the
rubber stamp.  What U.S. official involved in foreign policy or
military matters does not think what he is doing is somehow vital to
national security and should be classified?  William Safire once
jokingly confessed that, when he served as a speechwriter for President
Richard Nixon, he typed "TS/Sensitive/NC/NF" across the top of his
draft of a 1969 speech on Vietnam.  He explained that this was "to keep
every staff aid and his brother from fiddling with my prose".  but the
plot backfired.  Three days after Safire sent the speech to Nixon,
Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman called and said the speech needed work,
"but we can't let you have it.  You're not cleared for Top

Secrecy lures the mighty and the humble to imbue their thoughts and
actions with an extra aura of classified importance.  Former Secretary
of State Henry Kissinger, the man who ordered wiretaps on his closest
aides to track down "leaks", frequently used the "Roger Channel", a
heavily encrypted communications system which neither the CIA nor the
State Department hierarchy could read.  He often sprinkled the holy
water of secrecy on the most meaningless and inconsequential
information.  Ten "Memorandums of Conversation of the Secretary of
State" from 1976 remain classified.  Kissinger restricted access to the
"Memcons" to only two of his subordinates. Here is a sampling:

	To Morocco's Special Emissary of the King, Mohamed Karim
	Lamrani, On January 29: ". . . many of our Congressmen . . .
	remind me of the sophomores I had in my classes when I was a
	professor. . . .  I had a Senator today who asked me why we
	could not tell the Soviets that we would defend Europe and
	Japan and forget the rest of the world. . . .  The man who said
	that was an idiot."  (S/NODIS)

	To U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Shirley Temple Black, March 3:
	"Twelve days in Africa will drive me to drink.  I have yet to
	meet a Foreign Minister with whom I have more than 45 minutes
	of real conversation. . . .  [After Mrs. Black mentioned
	several Ford administration luminaries] I told the President
	this morning that never has history been made by so many
	mediocrities.  Well, if that is our style that is what we must
	do. . . .  I am a Gemini . . . that means I am two-faces."

(3.)  After the Talking's Over.  When diplomatic negotiations are
conducted publicly, they often disintegrate into propaganda and
posturing.  But once the agreement has been completed, why keep them
secret?  The letters and exchanges between the United States and the
Soviet Union in 1962 following the Cuban missile crisis have been
locked up so tight at the State Department that until recently,
requests for full disclosure by Congress and even several presidential
administrations were never honored.  The only sensitive fact -- and a
historical one at that -- which emerges from reading the documents is
that President John F. Kennedy did not obtain an airtight agreement
from the Soviets about nuclear weapons deployment in Cuba.  It is
inexcusable to continue to hide as "Top Secret" these documents on a
22-year-old agreement to which the United States and its people may be

The same is true for the SALT I and SALT II negotiations, and others of
their kind.  Some of the same TS information I have been leaded was
freely given to "the enemy" across the table during arms control
negotiations.  The U.S. negotiators argue that providing the CIA's best
estimate of Russian weapons systems is essential to reaching an
agreement on the nature and number of Soviet arms which need limiting.
(As a final irony, senior Soviet negotiators have considered the CIA
intelligence so accurate that they would sometimes ask their juniors to
leave the room -- the underlings were not cleared to know the detains
of their own forces.)

(4.)  Sibling Rivalry.  The different American intelligence services
compete for espionage coups, budget, and attention from the president
with such fervor that some documents are generously decorated with
special classifications designed to keep competing agencies from seeing

The director of the CIA is supposed to convince the different agencies
to pull together.  But unless he comes up from the CIA ranks, he is
unlikely even to know what's going on in his own agency.  The CIA's
clandestine services division so severly restricts its operational
information from CIA intelligence analysts that it is not unusual to
have a CIA-instigated event in a foreign country be reported by CIA
analysts as if it was a spontaneously indigenous occurrence.

While the Air Force fights a turf battle with the CIA over control of
spy satellites, the Army is at odds with the agency over who has the
exclusive right to run commando-style covert action.  Only the Navy has
a close relationship with the CIA, occasionally doing the CIA's dirty
work.  The reward has been access to special intelligence and
programs.  For instance, when the 1960s secret war against Cuban
Premier Fidel Castro ran down, the CIA gave the Navy cost-free both its
newly developed speedboats and the "Day of the Dolphin" program that
trained dolphins to place explosives under enemy ships.  This is still

(5.)  Fiscal Foolishness.  Far too much fraud, waste, and abuse in
military and intelligence programs is swept under the national security
carpet.  "It's classified" is the favorite "no comment" of the Pentagon
when asked about failed American weapons, other waste, or even general
budgetary information.  Nearly every expenditure of intelligence
agencies, from buildings to bug sprays, is classified.  In fact, the
very existence of some intelligence units or agencies (like the Air
Force's spy-satellite-operating National Reconnaissance Office) is

From the few examples reported by whistle-blowers willing to risk jail
(because the information is classified), it can be inferred that there
is tremendous waste.  For instance, there was the intelligence
community's attempt in the early 1970s to find out the caliber of the
cannon on the Soviets' latest tank, the T-72.  Knowledgeable
intelligence sources report that the CIA, DIA, and NSA shelled out $18
million in salaries, satellite, and spy money -- before the British
provided the DIA with the answer, after expending a mere $400.  (This
was the cost of a replacement lock they installed as they were secretly
exiting an East German tank storage depot after they had gauged the gun
caliber, and also lifted the T-72's operating manual.)  One French
military attache' in Moscow accomplished nearly as much at no cost.  He
simply told a Soviet military officer how much he admired the new T-72
tank.  The chest-swelling Russian gave the French attache' a VIP tour
of a tank base, showed him the gun, the ammunition, and even the inside
of the cockpit, and then took the Frenchman to dinner.

(6.)  Out-of-Sight Slights.  Diplomatic sensitivity accounts for the
classification of many reports which are not more secret than a report
filed the same day from the same foreign capital by a correspondent for
The New York Times.  The members of the "U.S. Embassy Intelligence
Group" meeting on November 3, 1983, in Buenos Aires offered no
surprises about the post-election future of Argentina in their
discussion (S).  But the Argentines might have been touchy about the
American analysts' predictions being made public.  For the same reason,
according to a sampling of classified reports, there was no sense in
publicly stating that Peking was turning to the West "for technological
assistance to modernize its armed forces" (S), that Australia, "in
support of U.S. policies . . . contributes naval deployments and
aviation patrols in the Indian Ocean" (C), or that "French
nuclear-strike aircraft . . . might be committed to NATO" (S).

One of the most revealing examples appears in the transcript of a
meeting Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had with Argentine Foreign
Minister Raul Quijano on February 12, 1976, at Argentina's embassy in
Washington.  In it Kissinger referred to the famous interview he had
with the Italian Journalist Oriana Fallaci ("Kissinger", The New
Republic, December 16, 1972), in which he likened himself to "the
cowboy entering a village or city alone on a horse."  Headline writers
began referring to Kissinger as the "lone cowboy", and cartoonists
played with the image of the portly statesman as the Lone Ranger of the
Nixon administration.  At the time, Kissinger told reporters he had
agreed to the rare on-the-record session because of Fallaci's
impressive interviews with Indira Gandhi, King Hussein, and Vietnamese
General Vo Nguyen Giap.  But this was not the story he told Quijano,
according to the transcript (C/NODIS): "The only reason I agreed to
the interview was that I saw a picture of her in a book and she looked
attractive, so I wanted to meet her." He was disappointed for two
reasons.  One was that Fallaci had not described him as "a combination
of Charles de Gaulle and Disreali".  The second was that he found her
"a dumpy little girl, totally unattractive."

Still, all of this said, there seems to be little question that one of
the most flagrant abusers of the rubber stamp is the man who is
ostensibly most concerned about that abuse: President Reagan.  At the
same time that Reagan is issuing stern proclamations about
unauthorized disclosures, he is himself authorizing what ex-Senator
Walter D. Huddleston of Kentucky correctly labeled "selective
disclosure of national security information to promote one side of the
debate."  Examples include the release of raw intelligence in the early
1981 "white paper" on El Salvador, allegedly demonstrating that the
Cubans were supplying arms to Salvadoran guerrillas; a December 1981
television speech in which he revealed that the proclamations for
martial law in Poland were printed in the Soviet Union the previous
September; the State Department reports in 1982 and 1983 declassifying
sensitive intelligence on "yellow rain" attacks in Southeast Asia; and
the March 1983 television address in which Reagan displayed four aerial
photographs taken over Cuba, Nicaragua, and Grenada to prove that the
Communist threat was growing in Central America and the Caribbean.

The worst examples of Reagan's selective disclosure are a series of
slick booklets called "Soviet Military Power", published by the
Pentagon, in part to influence military appropriations requests in
Congress.  A month before the 1983 issue came out, the Joint Chiefs
finished a classified "military posture" statement, containing national
security information about the Soviets.  By definition, its premature
disclosure would cause "serious" damage to national security.  Yet most
of the "secrets" were disclosed less than a month later in the slick
March 1983 SMP.

For example, the JCS report classified the numbers of each specific
intercontinental ballistic nuclear missile the Soviets had deployed.
But a month later, the SMP public document included not only the same
numbers but two convenient maps showing the residence by city name of
most of these missiles.  The JCS report labeled "Secret" an increasing
emphasis in the Soviet bloc on the ground attack role of new aircraft
"such as the SU-25".  A month later, SMP publicly referred to "the
formidable SU-25/Frogfoot ground attack aircraft" on five separate
pages, providing details on the plane's speed, radius, wingspan, and
armament -- and including a two-page color drawing of the plane in
action over Afghanistan.

These revelations come at a time when Secretary of State George Shultz
is publicly stating that people who reveal "highly classified,
sensitive information should be tossed in jail" because the leaks
"sometimes make it difficult for the government to execute its policies
successfully."  Reagan is now attempting to impose a new regime of
secrecy on unauthorized declassifications.  He has issued a new, more
restrictive executive order, promoted new laws to punish the publishers
of secrets, applauded underlings in the executive branch who find
crafty ways to slip and slide around the Freedom of Information Act,
and wired up dozens to lie detectors.  Finally, as a condition of
government employment, he has forced tens of thousands of the secrets'
caretakers to sign away their free speech rights for life in
"nondisclosure statements".

The contrast between these new regulations and Reagan's own offhand
leaks has angered dozens of government employees enough that they now
dial a reporter and let the "secrets" flow.  Some have been calling me,
disclosing to a journalist they don't even know what they once wouldn't
whisper to their spouse in the privacy of their own bedroom at night.

Dale Van Atta is an associate of Jack Anderson's specializing in
national security issues.  He has been cleared for leaks.

[End of ARMS-D Digest]