Government officials scrambling to meet the Clinton administration's deadline for the bulk release of classified documents have inadvertently disclosed nuclear weapons data that could help terrorists or foreign states.
Energy Department surveys, conducted earlier this year of defense documents scheduled for automatic public release in 2000 without individual review, found at least 11 instances in which highly sensitive nuclear weapons information was misfiled or declassified improperly.
The compromised data included a State Department document identifying the locations of overseas nuclear weapons storage facilities -- information that was mistakenly declassified and posted on the Internet before being withdrawn. Also revealed were improperly declassified Marine Corps documents that contained secret information about nuclear weapons yields. A U.S. official said Japanese authorities were able to copy the documents, which were stored improperly in an open area.
The Energy Department determined that in both cases, the risk to U.S. national security was "serious," according to one department document.
Other instances of improperly filed or stored nuclear weapons data include:
Navy blueprints showing the exact firing sequence of a nuclear weapon.
A Navy document showing nuclear weapons fuel capsules.
An Army paper detailing a gun-assembled nuclear weapon.
An improperly declassified presidential library document showing British yield-to-weight ratios for nuclear weapons.
An Air Force document containing nuclear weapon design information and another one on Soviet nuclear weapons information.
The Energy surveys of samples of classified material in 1995 and this year prompted the Pentagon to send a memorandum last month warning its officials about the problem of nuclear weapons data being mixed with documents set for bulk declassification.
President Clinton signed an executive order in 1995 calling for the automatic declassification of all records 25 years or older. Over a billion secret documents from all U.S. government agencies are being sent to the National Archives and Research Administration, which will then release the material en masse before the order's deadline of April 2000. But some of the information has been released before the deadline.
The presidential order does not authorize the release of "restricted data" or "formerly restricted data" (RD/FRD), the terms used for information related to the most sensitive nuclear weapons information, which is kept secret under the Atomic Energy Act.
The problem for many agencies, however, is that nuclear weapons data is mixed with other 25-year-old national security documents set for release without individual review.
A July 24 letter from the Department of Energy to the White House budget office states that "highly sensitive RD/FRD has been found embedded in documents in file series subject to declassification and released to the public under Executive Order 12958" -- the 1995 presidential order.
"Obviously, the intent of the executive order was not to compromise our most sensitive nuclear secrets," Kenneth E. Baker, the Energy Department's director of nonproliferation, stated in the letter. "It is equally clear that this problem poses a great national security risk." Mr. Baker said the nuclear weapons data is of great interest to foreign governments, including "the intelligence agencies of proliferant countries."
"Some of the compromised information found in these file series involved design information of special value to proliferants seeking to weaponize their nuclear devices, including India and Pakistan," Mr. Baker said. "The last thing the U.S. government should do is make it easier for nuclear weapons protagonists to have access to information to design their delivery systems and nuclear weapons in order to attack each other."
Efforts by Energy Department security officials to deal with the problem have been ignored by senior administration officials, including former Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary and former White House National Security Adviser Anthony Lake, according to DOE documents.
Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, added an amendment to the fiscal 1999 defense authorization bill, now in conference, that would require all 25-year-old documents set for release to be reviewed first visually to determine whether they contain nuclear weapons data. The White House is opposing the amendment because it will cost more to review the data.
Mr. Kyl wrote to White House National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger on Tuesday warning about the improper release of the nuclear weapons data. The letter was co-signed by Republican Sens. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama and Robert C. Smith of New Hampshire.
"We are quite concerned to learn that these sensitive documents may have been released to the public or are in danger of such release," the two said. The senators said that "in a frenzied attempt" to meet the 2000 deadline "officials are not taking proper care" to prevent the release of nuclear weapons data. Linton Wells, deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, wrote June 16 that the problem "could cause serious damage to national security." "Detailed classified nuclear weapons information was found to be contained in documents which are mixed in with national security information documents," he said. Bryan Seibert, head of the Energy Department declassification office, declined to comment on the specific cases of compromised data. But he said that the department is aware of the problem is working on ways to solve it.
During his grand jury testimony on Monday, President Clinton may have slipped further into perjury.
The DRUDGE REPORT has learned that the president responded repeatedly with "weak and confusing" answers during his historic testimony -- answers that are bound to haunt him in future months!
"His story was all over the place," one well-placed source disclosed late Monday night. "He had major trouble with the time line [of his contacts with Monica Lewinsky]... he stumbled all over the Vernon Jordan questions. And his Betty Currie story was full of inconsistencies." Clinton contradicted documents and tapes, according to the well-placed source, and appeared "lost" during one heated exchange.
The DRUDGE REPORT was first to publish the Monica Lewinsky story in a series of exclusive reports last January.
The WASHINGTON POST in Tuesday editions confirms that President Clinton was combative during his closed session with Starr's prosecutors and investigators were not able to ask all the questions they wanted to because Clinton refused to extend beyond the predetermined amount of time.
Clinton took several breaks from his testimony on Monday to confer with his lawyers in the doctor's office next door to the Map Room, the NEW YORK TIMES reports on Tuesday. "At about 3:30, he took a break that lasted roughly an hour," one Clinton ally told the paper.
Prosecutors were completely frustrated by Clinton's performance, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned from several sources. "At times, [Clinton] refused to provide specific answers to even the most basic questions," revealed one insider close to the action. "His answers did very little to convince investigators that the evidence they've collected in the past 7 months could be flawed."
FOX NEWS CHANNEL ace reporter David Shuster was reporting late Monday night that Clinton was hit with an unexpected line of questioning during his grand jury testimony.
It is not known the nature of those questions.
Susan Schmidt and Ruth Marcus on 15th Street reported that Clinton's "defiant stance appeared to be a gamble that Starr will be left without enough evidence to bring a criminal case against him or be able to convince Congress to launch impeachment proceedings."
It was not clear if any questions posed to Clinton on Monday were sexually graphic. But if questions posed to another star witness in the case are any indication -- things likely turned explicit at the White House.
The DRUDGE REPORT has learned that Monica Lewinsky, when asked by prosecutors if the president performed "cunnilingus" on her, responded by saying she did not know what the word "cunnilingus" meant.
In his nationally televised address to the nation Monday night, President Clinton acknowledged an improper relationship with Lewinsky but denied that he lied under oath in his deposition in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case. And it's a good thing. Because Bill Clinton, if he admitted to a lie, would have to follow his own advice.
At the height of Watergate in the summer of 1974, during Bill Clinton's race to become a U.S. Representative from Arkansas, Clinton once declared: "If a President of the United States ever lied to the American people he should resign."
That's what Libertarians are asking after the Republican House leadership quietly torpedoed an effort to mandate drug testing for every member of Congress. "These Congressmen must be getting high on hypocrisy," said Libertarian Party National Director Ron Crickenberger. "Why else would they wage a War on Drugs on the rest of us, but declare a drug-testing truce in the halls of Congress?"
Last week, Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) said the House was too "busy, busy, busy" to consider a proposal that would have required all 435 House members and their staffs to take random tests for illegal drug use. Armey and other Republican leaders discreetly declined to set a date for a vote on the motion, effectively killing it for the year.
The decision to quash the drug-testing plan has Libertarians unsure whether to applaud Congressmen for their wisdom or jeer them for their hypocrisy, admitted Crickenberger. For example...
* One of the reasons Congress was too "busy, busy, busy" to debate the drug-testing proposal was because it was "busy, busy, busy" passing new legislation to ratchet up the Drug War.
"So far this term, Congress passed a $17 billion drug war budget; approved stationing U.S. troops on our borders to fight drug smuggling; killed a bill that would have curbed asset forfeiture abuses; and voted to spend $2 billion for a five-year anti-drug advertising campaign," said Crickenberger. "In addition, Republican leaders vowed to launch a World War II-style blitzkrieg to wipe out drug abuse. Does this seem just a little hypocritical?"
* Even more ironic: News reports indicated that many lawmakers had quietly opposed the measure because drug testing was "unnecessary and insulting" and "undignified."
"To those Congressmen, we say: Welcome to the Drug War," said Crickenberger. "Too bad 270 million other Americans will continue to endure those same unnecessary, insulting, and undignified violations of their Constitutional rights. Why is there one set of standards for politicians who make the laws, and another for ordinary Americans who suffer under them?"
* Despite the draconian punishments that Congress has mandated for drug offenses, the proposed drug-testing measure would have merely required that any House member who tested positive be reported to the Ethics Committee.
"If Congressmen want to play Drug Warriors, shouldn't all the rules of the game apply to them?" asked Crickenberger. "If they tested positive for illegal drugs, shouldn't they be immediately arrested? Be subjected to mandatory-minimum jail terms? Face a death sentence if they are declared Drug Kingpins? Have their assets seized? If these harsh punishments are really needed to fight drugs, isn't it only fair that they apply to Congressmen, too?"
* Finally, proponents of the drug-testing plan had argued that the House needs to "set a good example" for the nation, since so many Americans -- including air-traffic controllers, high school athletes, public-housing residents, and bus drivers -- are subject to government-required drug testing.
"Actually, the House set a good example by rejecting this plan," countered Crickenberger. "Now maybe it will set an even better example by protecting every other American from the horrors of the War on Drugs. After all, Congressmen finally summoned the courage to stand up for their own Constitutional rights. When will they start standing up for ours?"
The Libertarian Party
A new poll shows that more than three-quarters of Americans wrongly believe the U.S. military can destroy an incoming missile.
"The American people are being lulled into a false sense of security by the Clinton administration," Rep. Floyd D. Spence, the House National Security Committee chairman, said Thursday at a Capitol Hill press conference. The South Carolina Republican said President Clinton has repeatedly and wrongly claimed that there are no missiles pointed at the United States.
Republican National Chairman Jim Nicholson and Family Research Council president Gary Bauer joined Mr. Spence in urging the deployment of a missile defense for America, a measure supported by 86 percent of Americans, according to the new poll.
The press conference, presented by a broad coalition of leaders including military and missile experts, came in the wake of a report by a bipartisan commission chaired by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
The Rumsfeld Commission report found that North Korea, Iran and other countries are hiding their ballistic missile development programs from U.S. satellites. It said these countries are using huge underground laboratories and factories to make and test missiles.
Mr. Nicholson, who has been touting a missile shield on radio and in signed opinion columns in newspapers, said Democrats are filibustering a bill that would begin development of such a shield.
The RNC chairman, a retired Army colonel who once commanded a tactical nuclear weapons unit, said his party is doing fine going into the fall elections. "So we don't need this as a partisan issue," Mr. Nicholson said, but then called on the president "to begin to lead" on the issue. Citing what he called the "decline in our military and the lack of a missile defense system," Mr. Bauer said, "We are on road right now that will lead inevitably to a disaster on American soil that will make Pearl Harbor fade from our memory." "The people here [at the press conference] are trying to prevent that from happening and for that reason they are the Paul Reveres of our age," he said.
David A. Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, agreed with Mr. Nicholson that missile defense need not be partisan but, he claimed, the Democrats are making it partisan.
"What people need to ask those Democrats who are trying to stop this is, what in God's name possessed them to think they were doing their job by leaving the American people naked in an extremely dangerous world," he said.
Frank Gaffney Jr., coordinator of the Coalition to Defend America, took the lead in organizing the joint press conference. He called it "the most extraordinary display of broad-based concern about a national security problem that I've seen in 20 years."
The survey by GOP pollster Kellyanne Fitzpatrick found that 79 percent of the electorate is "very" or "somewhat" concerned about a possible missile attack on the United States, its forces or its allies. More than three-fourths of the electorate, 78 percent, were "surprised" or "shocked and angry" or "skeptical" of "government documents that indicate the U.S. military cannot destroy even a single incoming missile." What's more, 86 percent favor deployment of a missile defense system. The poll of 800 registered voters was commissioned by the Center for Security Policy, the Claremont Institute and the Heritage Foundation.
TERRORISM: Strategy of right wing conspiracy against Mother Government.
CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE: Strategy of left wing against any conservative institution.
COMPASSION: The use of tax money to buy votes.
INSENSITIVITY: Conservative objections to the use of tax money to buy votes.
GOVERNMENT: Having middle class people give money and jobs to Democrats.
BIG BUSINESS: Having rich people give money and jobs to other rich people.
SIMPLISTIC: An argument you disagree with but can't answer.
REHABILITATION: Magic word said before releasing criminals.
DEMONSTRATION: A riot by people you agree with.
MOB VIOLENCE: A riot by people you disagree with.
A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE: A political controversy involving the convictions of liberals.
AN EMOTIONAL ISSUE: A political controversy involving the convictions of conservatives.
FUNDING: Tall stack of money from the government, accompanied by an even taller stack of paperwork.
COMMITMENT: More money from the government on paper, but not in the bank.
Millenium Bug: Conspiracy whereby the party out of power in 2000 A.D. can win brownie points when Wall Street crashes.
Millenium Bug: Historical conspiracy against Articial Intelligence for which human beings can apologize to the A.I. population in the year 2525 A.D.
FEDERAL BUDGET: A work of fiction about government spending.
FEDERAL TRADE DEFICIT: Progressive program where you send only 7 high tech missiles to another country but get more than 3,000,000 firecrackers in return. Boy, we've got those foreigners fooled.
BUDGET SURPLUS: Trick where you borrow trillions, pay interest on it and label it "in the black."
SOCIAL SECURITY: A program funded by the "budget surplus" with which you hold millions of payees hostage to get their votes
DEFICIT: If your party is out-of-power it is the "nation's biggest problem" and if you are in-power, it is a "necessary economic stimulus".
POLICY RESEARCH: Looking for statistics to support the position you have already taken.
A PROUD PEOPLE: Chauvinists you like.
BIGOTS: Chauvinists you don't like.
PUBLIC INTEREST GROUP: Politically organized liberals.
SPECIAL INTEREST LOBBY: Politically organized conservatives
LABOR REFORM: An attempt by the Mafia to get into legitimate businesses.
TEAMSTERS: An organization of drivers with big trucks full of Democrats.
"More rather than less, sooner rather than later" Mugwumpping phrase used by the nefarious to refer to the obscure.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM: An agenda which allows an incumbent to stay in office but makes it impossible for her opponent to beat her.
GRIDLOCK: Philosophy of governing without the necessity of action.
GOOD GOVERNMENT: An oxymoron with the benefit of alliteration.
BAD GOVERNMENT: The result of letting Politicians win elections.
CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE: A bi-partisan game. Whoever dies last wins.
CONTRACT WITH AMERICA: Republican plan to prove that government doesn't work.
"I FEEL YOUR PAIN": Phrase which causes the stupid to vote for the cunning.
JOURNALISM: The art of making news look like information and disinformation look like news.
ELECTORAL COLLEGE: Anachronistic device by which candidates can win while still being unelected.
EDUCATION: Proof positive that government can do almost anything less economically than private enterprise.
CAUCUS ELECTION: When the few, chosen by the fewer, vote for the least likely to win.
PRIMARY ELECTION: When folks use machines to vote for candidate of opposing party who is least likely to win in the general election.
STRAW POLL: Where CNN makes phone calls to 12 Democrats in Massachusetts.
OPINION POLL: Where CNN makes phone calls to 24 Democrats in Massachusetts.
UNOPPOSED CANDIDATE: An officeholder who can shout the loudest at the Party Convention.
CONVENTION: Four-day circuses where Republicans trumpet and Democrats show their asses.
"Terrorists planted the bombs that destroyed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania -- but it was our misguided foreign policy that made those embassies such irresistible targets for terrorists," said David Bergland, the party's national chair.
"Now, the most noble action we can take to honor the memory of those who died needlessly, whether African or American, is to make sure that such a tragedy never happens again."
Despite a few recent arrests, federal officials say they still don't know who masterminded the twin bombings that claimed more than 210 lives in Kenya and Tanzania on Friday -- and that's not surprising, said Bergland.
"The problem is not a lack of suspects, but too many suspects," he said. "Our country's interventionist foreign policy has created too many enemies, with too many grudges, and too many reasons to attack us."
In 1997, for example, Bergland noted, the U.S. Army boasted about reaching a "new milestone," with American troops deployed in 100 nations around the world, according to a press release issued by the Army's Public Affairs office.
"In other words, American soldiers were deployed in more than half the countries on the globe -- 100 of the world's 197 nations," he said. "Add to that the dozens of nations that receive American foreign aid or military equipment, and you have a situation where fully three-quarters of the world has reason to be angry at us.
"So, we shouldn't be surprised when disgruntled rebels, fanatical terrorists, or rogue governments strike back at the world's only superpower the only way they can -- through cowardly acts of terrorism that leave the streets strewn with innocent victims," he said.
"America has to face facts: To continue sending U.S. troops, money, and guns to so many nations around the world is to sign the death warrants for more innocent Americans. Whether in Africa, Pakistan, or New York City, terrorists will continue to attack us if we insist on swaggering around the world, armed to the teeth, imposing our will on other nations."
The Libertarian Party's criticism of American foreign policy shouldn't be interpreted as sympathy for either the actions or goals of the terrorists responsible for the African bombings, Bergland cautioned.
"Libertarians share the revulsion of every other American at this bloody carnage, and we mourn for the victims and the families of this tragedy," he said. "Random violence and terrorism is not the solution for disputes among individuals or nations.
"But the only way to truly honor the loss of these innocent lives -- and to pay proper respect for their sacrifice -- is to make sure that they did not die in vain," he said. "And the way to do that is by crafting a national defense policy that saves lives -- not a defense policy that makes Americans the target of bloodthirsty terrorists."
On the subject of foreign policy, the Libertarian Party Platform states:
"American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world and the defense -- against attack from abroad -- of the lives, liberty, and property of the American people on American soil ... The principle of non-intervention should guide relationships between governments. The United States government should return to the historic libertarian tradition of avoiding entangling alliances [and] abstaining totally from foreign quarrels and imperialist adventures..."
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