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Atomic Obfuscation

Los Alamos National Laboratory's PR department on the classified information found in a trailer where meth was dealt:

[W]e have determined that the majority of the material was classified at the lowest levels and was twenty to thirty years old.  None of the documents in question were classified Top Secret.  None of the materials included any of the most sensitive nuclear weapons information.

The above statement is probably true, but actually may obfuscate the situation.  Confusion about the sensitivity of the information would be welcome to Los Alamos' embarrassment-averse managers.

Let's slice this down.

"the majority of the material was classified at the lowest levels"--By "majority" does Los Alamos mean up to 49% of the information was classified at high levels?  How much of the information was classified at higher levels and what levels were those?  Among vast amounts of more mundane classified information, it only take a few golden nuggets of extremely sensitive information to make the information breach serious.

"was twenty to thirty years old"--Most nuclear weapons are twenty to thirty years old.  So of course the information about them is that old.

"None of the documents in question were classified Top Secret. None of the materials included any of the most sensitive nuclear weapons information."--   Was some of the information the second most sensitive nuclear weapons information?  And is Los Alamos trying to compare apples to oranges by discussing the collateral national security information categories (created by executive order rather than by statute; they are Confidential, Secret and Top Secret) instead of atomic secrecy categories which exist as a system of secrets all their own?  We are told that some of the information is Secret Restricted Data which deals with �the theory of operation or design of the components of a thermonuclear or implosion-type fission bomb, warhead, demolition munition, or test device.�

By: Danielle Brian
Executive Director, POGO

danielle brian Ms. Brian's areas of expertise include: National Security, Government Oversight, Wasteful Defense Spending, Ethics, Open Government, Whistleblower Issues

Authors: Danielle Brian

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