The Classification Wars

In the latest tug of war over security classification practices, the National Security Archive has found that the Bush Administration now considers never-before-classified data on the numbers of Cold War strategic weapons, such as the Air Force’s ICBM force, to be sensitive. In response to NSA requests for documents from the Cold War era, federal classifiers decided to black out the totals of Minuteman, Titan II, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles that previously appeared in numerous public reports. NSA, which has appealed the practice, says in a new report, “It would be difficult to find better candidates for unjustifiable secrecy or better evidence for the need for more realistic standards and guidelines for the declassification of historical records.” The public can find numbers of systems from the Cold War to today throughout unclassified DOD publications.