Intelligence: June 9, 2005

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Another relic of the Cold War, not sharing intelligence, and technical information, with allies, is passing away. This policy, called "Noforn (Not releasable to foreign nationals) was developed during the Cold War, when it became obvious that some of our allies were more likely to be penetrated by Soviet spies than others. Soviet spies disappeared with the Soviet Union in 1991. Increasingly, however, Noforn became an obstacle to selling American weapons, and gaining cooperation in the war on terror. What finally triggered the official change in policy was the success in selling the new F-35 aircraft overseas. The F-35 uses a lot of top secret American stealth technology, most of it with Noforn stamps all over it. But many of the foreign F-35 buyers had also kicked in lots of money to help with development of the aircraft, and were going to do some of the manufacturing as well. Noforn was getting in the way. Similar complaints were coming from American counter-terrorism officials, but they often got it around Noforn unofficially (although at some risk to their careers if too much of this came to light.) But with the F-35, American manufacturers, and their more rigorous lawyers, were also involved. Noforn was really getting in the way, so Noforn was cut down to size, in a long overdue move.

 


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