Thursday, June 29, 2006

How did U.S. assess Iraqi Bioweapon Production?

HOW DID U.S. ASSESS IRAQI BIOWEAPON PRODUCTION?

One of the most vivid allegations made by the U.S. government regarding
Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was the claim that Iraqi had
developed mobile laboratories for the production of biological
weapons. The allegation, based on reports from a source known as
"Curveball," proved to be false.

But the U.S. intelligence assessment of the supposed mobile BW labs,
though erroneous, raised questions that still remain unanswered, wrote
bioweapons expert Milton Leitenberg of the University of Maryland.

According to a cryptic reference spotted by Leitenberg in the
Silberman-Robb WMD Commission report, U.S. contractors performed a
"replication" of the Iraqi design and found that "it works."

The exact nature of this "replication" and whether it led to the
production of actual BW agents are among several lingering questions
he posed.

See "Unresolved Questions Regarding US Government Attribution of a
Mobile Biological Production Capacity by Iraq"
by Milton Leitenberg,
June 2006:

http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/unresolved.pdf


DHS, CRS ON SENSITIVE SECURITY INFORMATION

"Sensitive Security Information (SSI) is information that would be
detrimental to transportation security if publicly disclosed,"

according to a Department of Homeland Security directive released last
week under the Freedom of Information Act.

See DHS Management Directive 11056, "Sensitive Security Information,"
December 16, 2005:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/dhs/md11056.pdf

Confusingly, however, SSI is also a control marking used by the
Department of Agriculture to mean something quite different, observed
information policy expert Harold C. Relyea of the Congressional
Research Service in a new report on classification and other
information controls.

SSI "is both a concept and a control marking used by the Department of
Agriculture (USDA), on the one hand, and jointly by the Transportation
Security Administration (TSA) of the Department of Homeland Security
as well as by the Department of Transportation, on the other hand, but
with different underlying authorities, conceptualizations, and
management regimes for it,"
he wrote.

See "Security Classified and Controlled Information: History, Status,
and Emerging Management Issues,
" June 26, 2006:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/secrecy/RL33494.pdf


While the number of different designations for "sensitive but
unclassified"
information has been estimated at over 60, that number
approaches 100 if different agency definitions of the same designation
are taken into account, a Justice Department official told Secrecy
News.

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