Monday, August 21, 2006

Reclassification Of Cold War Data Continues

The Bush administration's secrecy fetish -- and specifically the reclassification of previously declassified information -- has been a topic here in the past, see Intelligence Agencies Reclassifying Old Papers at National Archives, Archives Kept Reclassification Program Secret, and Reclassification Update.

The attempts to put the genie back into the bottle is continuing with the government now trying to hide the previously published data on the Cold War numbers of U.S. strategic weapons and weapons systems.

The Bush administration has begun designating as secret some information that the government long provided even to its enemy the former Soviet Union: the numbers of strategic weapons in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during the Cold War.

The Pentagon and the Department of Energy are treating as national security secrets the historical totals of Minuteman, Titan II and other missiles, blacking out the information on previously public documents, according to a new report by the National Security Archive. The archive is a nonprofit research library housed at George Washington University....

The report comes at a time when the Bush administration's penchant for government secrecy has troubled researchers and bred controversy over agency efforts to withhold even seemingly innocuous information. The National Archives was embroiled in scandal during the spring when it was disclosed that the agency had for years kept secret a reclassification program under which the CIA, the Air Force and other agencies removed thousands of records from public shelves....

Experts say there is no national security reason for the administration to keep such historical information under wraps -- especially when it has been publicly available for years.

Robert S. Norris, a senior research associate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said U.S. officials handed more detailed accounts of the U.S. nuclear arsenal over to the Soviets as part of the two Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties (START) and the two Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) agreements in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s.


Blogger Meatball One said...

The USD is de facto pegged to our nuclear arsenal and our ability to use it, ergo the focus on a new and improved breed of mini-nukes alongside doctrinal updates that make the nuclear option a matter of convenience rather of MAD.

The reclassification flurry makes plenty sense from such a speculative meatballian take on matters.

8/21/2006 4:30 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


Interesting take on the USD/nuke weapon relationship. Doubtlessly correct on the most important level.

As you know, we have had perfectly utilitarian backpack nukes in the inventory since the late seventies at the latest. So the doctrinal modifications must be the operative factor currently in play.

The "unpredictable president" strategem that Kissinger floated when the Arabs cut off the oil in 1973 likely prevented the outright collapse of the USD, with all the accompanying unpleasantness that would have followed.

Reclassifying all the old data, however, is useless for many reasons.

Doing the opposite -- advertising the new tactical nukes would probably be wiser.

8/21/2006 4:57 PM  
Blogger Meatball One said...

Enchanted follow up. You are a wise and well versed fellow indeed.

8/21/2006 7:54 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


Aww, shucks.

8/21/2006 8:16 PM  
Blogger DrewL said...

Perhaps they don't want anyone to start tracking the number of original warheads when some of those warheads end up in the hands of others. When several end up in the hands of "terrorists" at an opportune time, having covered one's tracks seems only prudent.

"Those nukes came from (fill in your evil-doing country of choice). Now we must go to war."

Is it obvious that I don't trust anything these people do?

8/22/2006 10:33 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


Good reasoning there. But nuclear warheads degrade over time, and the U.S. cannabalizes the still useable fissile material for new weapons. What I am getting to is that the raw number of warheads from, say, 1978, would not really have any provable link to current inventories.

Although, of course, they could make any allegation that suits their purposes.

And your lack of trust in our "leaders" is an adaptive behavior. For there is surely some type of false flag op pending.

8/23/2006 7:34 AM  

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