Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Obama Makes Good On One Campaign Pledge

During his presidential campaign, President Obama committed to make his administration “the most open and transparent in history.” To that end, the Government Printing Office (GAO) posted on its website the location of all significant civilian nuclear stockpiles, including those with fuel for nuclear weapons. The 266 page document included maps and information on hundreds of US civilian nuclear sites.

The report mentioned Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, known as the Fort Knox of highly enriched uranium, the leading fuel for nuclear weapons. Other significant non-military facilities listed in the report include Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois and a Westinghouse research facility in Pittsburgh along with maps detailing their location.

Former Director of Central Intelligence and Deputy Secretary of Defense John Deutch dismissed concerns by saying, "These screw-ups happen." While it might sound like the posting was an innocent mistake, given the sensitive information within the document and the fact that the document was marked as such, Mr. Deutch should probably watch who he labels a 'screw-up'.

The Times said the document was collated as part of a US drive to make its civilian nuclear program more transparent in the hope that other nations, particularly Iran, would follow suit. President Obama sent the document to Congress for review on May 5. After the Congressional review, the GAO then published the document online.

Not since Sandy Berger stuffed highly classified documents in his socks has such a breach of security been perpetrated. But with one difference. That's no 'screw-up,' Mr. Deutsch -- that's another campaign pledge honored.   -CE

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