ce399 | research archive: (electronic) mind control

Pentagon Curbing Public Data on “Star Wars” (NYT 26/1/1987)

Posted in Directed Energy Weapons, Uncategorized by ce399 on 11/06/2012

The Pentagon office in charge of ”Star Wars” research is tightening the flow of information to the public, according to Government officials and experts outside the Government.

The trend toward restricting information about the program for developing a space-oriented defense against missile attacks comes as controversy is growing over a Pentagon proposal that the Reagan Administration consider the early  deployment of defensive systems.

Under the new restrictions, the cost of specific projects is to be classified.

Some experts assert that such measures are inhibiting an informed public debate on the issue. ”They want to accelerate the program and avoid public debate over that,” said John E. Pike, associate director for space policy at the Federation of American Scientists, which is critical of the program Mr. Reagan has labeled the Strategic Defense Initiative.

Capt. John C. Dewey, the senior public affairs official for the Pentagon’s Strategic Defense Initiative Organization, acknowledged that the office currently makes less information public than in past years.

Research Effort ‘Maturing’

But he said that the new restrictions are needed to keep the Soviet Union from learning what technologies are being emphasized as the research effort ”matures.” He added that detailed cost information is still available to Congress on a classified basis.

Experts note that the Pentagon initially published considerable information about the cost of specific ”Star Wars” projects, citing an unclassified 1985
report to Congress. ”The 1985 document was an excellent report,” said Douglas  C. Waller, an aide to Senator William Proxmire, the Wisconsin Democrat.”But after that, they started to turn the spigot tighter and tighter.”

In 1986, the organization’s report to Congress did not provide data on spending for specific research projects, even though that information was not officially classified.

The 1986 report noted, for example, that $991 million was being sought in the 1987 budget for research in the category of kinetic energy weapons, which
include ground- and space-based interceptor rockets as opposed to lasers or particle beams. But the report did not provided a breakdown of that sum. In
contrast, the 1985 report provided a detailed account of the specific research projects in this area.

Some of the unclassified information left out of the 1986 report was later ”leaked” to the press. And the newsletter Military Space eventually obtained
cost data through the Freedom of Information Act, but only after challenging the Pentagon’s initial refusal.

New Information Classified

Last week, apparently to guard against the disclosure of such budget information this year, the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization told Senator Proxmire’s  office that cost information for specific projects should be considered ”for official use only,” the lowest level of Pentagon classification, Mr. Waller said.

The absence of specific cost information has been raised as an issue in the larger debate over ”Star Wars.”

Pentagon officials say there have been new breakthroughs that would enable the United States to begin putting space-based and ground-based defensive systems in place in 1993, years earlier than previously projected. Critics challenge this claim and assert that the Pentagon is pressing the early deployment plan to insure that some key decisions about the program are made during Mr. Reagan’s Presidency.

Government officials say the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization has shifted part of its 1987 budget to support this option of an early deployment,
but the agency will not provide information on what specific technologies are getting more money.

At a symposium in Colorado on Thursday, Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger expressed annoyance at critics who have said that the early deployment plan would cost more than $100 billion and could easily be countered by the Soviet Union. He said nobody was now in a position to make precise cost estimates and  that critics who did so ”have the advantage of not knowing anything about it.”

Critics Say They Need Data

Critics say that release of the data would show where the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization is focusing its efforts, allowing them to better assess
the technical obstacles that now confront the program. ”You can’t have a public debate if the public does not have the information,” Senator Proxmire said.

But some supporters of the program say such information could alert the Soviet Union to gains that are being made by the United States.

In one noteworthy case last year, the Pentagon decided that a report by the General Accounting Office that was based on unclassified information should be classified as secret.

After Congressional complaints, Mr. Weinberger asserted that the Pentagon was correct to classify the report because the financial data and descriptions of programs in it ”formed a ‘mosaic’ from which emerged classified information.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: