Intelligence: Nukes in the Archives


January1, 2007: Earlier this year, there was a big fuss about how the U.S. Department of Energy had inadvertently released, to Internet and hard copy public archives, information that could help you build an atomic bomb. The result was a call for the review of all those Department of Energy documents, and pulling the ones that gave this vital information to our enemies. There followed a review of 719,040 pages of declassified public ( available at the National Archives) records. After all that, 38 pages were found that, it was believed, should not have been declassified. Officials refused to discuss the material they caught because, well, now it's classified.

There's an ongoing debate among engineers and scientists about just how much useful information there is, openly available, that would help anyone build a nuclear weapon. The general principles are well known, but it's the precise engineering details that would be most useful to any real bomb building effort. Even that sort of information is difficult to just put out there with older documents, because the components of a nuclear weapon have changed over the decades as new technology (especially electronics) has become available. One could go on, but we don't want this item classified down the road.




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close