Cold War Missile Numbers "De-re-classified"





On September 26, 2006, the Department of Defense's Washington Headquarters Services duly released, as a result of an administrative appeal, unredacted versions of 1971 charts depicting U.S. strategic force levels first published in a public report by Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird. This was, as it should have been, a routine decision to correct a mistake. Pentagon reviewers had previously treated the charts, which included numbers of U.S. strategic missiles and bombers, among other weapons systems, as classified documents. Whether officials at the Defense Department and the Department of Energy will respond to pending appeals by releasing comparable non-classified information from other excised documents remains to be seen.

"We've always known about overclassification, since even the Bush administration admits that 50% of what is classified should not be," commented Archive director Thomas Blanton. "But reclassification of previously public data crossed the line into absurdity, and now our protests have established a whole new feature of the secrecy system: de-re-classification!"

The unredacted charts are now available on the Web site of the National Security Archive.



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