FAS Roundup: October 28, 2013

New D0D report on overclassification misses the mark, Fukushima podcast, and much more.

New Podcast on Nuclear Energy Post Fukushima

FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson was interviewed by Science for the People’s podcast series regarding environmental and public health issues after the Fukushima nuclear accident. Dr. Ferguson also addresses the future use of nuclear power in Japan.

Listen to the podcast here. 

From the Blogs

What is Overclassification?: When people criticize overclassification of national security information, what exactly are they talking about?  Is it too much secrecy? Classifying something at too high a level?  Oddly, there is no widely-accepted definition of the term. Steven Aftergood writes that since the solution to overclassification, if any, will naturally be shaped by the way the problem is understood, it is important to specify the problem as clearly as possible.

Defending the Earth: Both Russian and American scientists are interested in using their skills to help develop weapons to divert an incoming asteroid and save the planet. Are nuclear weapons designers really interested in saving the planet, or are they just looking for a pretext to keep working on (and maybe testing) new and improved weapons? Dr. Y investigates in a new post on the ScienceWonk Blog.

DoD Inspector General Report Misses the Mark: This week, the Department of Defense Inspector General released its  Evaluation of Over-Classification of National Security Information.  Unfortunately, the new report is superficial, incomplete and sheds little light on either the problem of overclassification or any potential solution.The report overlooks current events (classificiation breaches) and  the looming December 2013 deadline set by President Obama (in 2009) for declassification and public release of the backlog of 25 year old historically valuable records. In short, the new DoD Inspector General report on over-classification is a defective product. It should be rescinded and redone.

Telecom (and Privacy) Statuses Need Updating and More from CRS: Secrecy News has obtained recently released CRS reports on topics such as the need to update the laws that govern and regulate the communications industry, U.S. strategic nuclear forces, hydraulic fracturing and Navyforce structure and shipbuilding plans.

Stephen Kim Leak Case Heats Up: Former State Department contractor Stephen Jin-Woo Kim will not go to trial before next year on charges of leaking classified information to Fox News reporter James Rosen. But, the pre-trial maneuvering by the prosecution and the defense is accelerating. Last week, Prosecutors notified the court that their theories regarding the defendant’s motive for allegedly leaking classified information would not be presented at trial.  Meanwhile, the defense appears to be engaged in its own search for other potential leak suspects.

Event: The Wisdom of Foolishness: Four Historic Innovations, Deemed Foolish, Proven Smart

FAS and the Daisy Alliance are sponsoring a lecture on November 6, 2013 at 7 p.m. in Atlanta, GA at Georgia Tech featuring Dr. Martin Hellman, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Nuclear Risk Analysis.

Dr. Hellman will discuss how we can use the “wisdom of foolishness” to gain a bold new perspective on the risks and rewards of modernizing our country’s nuclear weapons posture: the risk of a nuclear catastrophe is far greater than we think, yet our ability to reduce that risk is far greater than we imagine.

To register for the event click here.

Office Space for Rent in Washington, DC

FAS has three offices for rent in the heart of Washington’s central business district, within less than a minute’s walk to Farragut North metro stop on the red line, and less than four minutes walking distance from Farragut West metro stop on the orange and blue line. The offices are 130 sqft each and are furnished.

Rent for each office is $1,200 per month; package deals with reduced rates are possible. Included is the use of one large conference room, as well as a small meeting room; kitchen; reception; the use of a copy room, and general work area; separate work area for interns.
For more information, click here.

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