[ RadSafe ] Recently released atomic bomb history
maurysis at peoplepc.com
Thu Aug 21 13:49:52 CDT 2014
Hope many of you will find these data and related links interesting.
Maury&Dog (MaurySiskel maurysis at peoplepc.com)
Secrecy News Blog: http://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/
*WWII ATOMIC BOMB PROJECT HAD MORE THAN 1,500 "LEAKS"*
The Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bomb during World War
II was among the most highly classified and tightly secured programs
ever undertaken by the U.S. government. Nevertheless, it generated more
than 1,500 leak investigations involving unauthorized disclosures of
classified Project information.
That remarkable fact is noted in the latest declassified volume of the
official Manhattan District History (Volume 14, Intelligence & Security
<http://fas.org/sgp/library/mdhist-vol14.pdf>) that was approved for
release and posted online
<https://www.osti.gov/opennet/manhattan_district.jsp> by the Department
of Energy last month.
In several respects, the Manhattan Project established the template for
secret government programs during the Cold War (and after). It pioneered
or refined the practices of compartmentalization of information, "black"
budgets, cover and deception to conceal secret facilities, minimal
notification to Congress, and more.
But wherever there are national security secrets, it seems that leaks
and spies are not far behind.
During the course of the Manhattan Project, counterintelligence agents
"handled more than 1,000 general subversive investigations, over 1,500
cases in which classified project information was transmitted to
unauthorized persons, approximately 100 suspected espionage cases, and
approximately 200 suspected sabotage cases," according to the newly
declassified history <http://fas.org/sgp/library/mdhist-vol14.pdf> (at
Most of the 1,500 leak cases seem to have been inadvertent disclosures
rather than deliberate releases to the news media of the contemporary
sort. But they were diligently investigated nonetheless. "Complete
security of information could be achieved only by following all leaks to
In 1943, there were several seemingly unrelated cases of Protestant
clergymen in the South preaching sermons that alarmingly cited "the
devastating energy contained in minute quantities of Uranium 235" (while
contrasting it with "the power of God [that] was infinitely greater").
The sermons were eventually traced back to a pamphlet distributed by a
Bible college in Chicago, which was determined to be harmless. Other
disclosures cited in the history involved more serious indiscretions
that drew punitive action.
"Since September 1943, investigations were conducted of more than 1500
'loose talk' or leakage of information cases and corrective action was
taken in more than 1200 violations of procedures for handling classified
material,"the history <http://fas.org/sgp/library/mdhist-vol14.pdf> said
"Upon discovery of the source of a violation of regulations for
safeguarding military information, the violator, if a project employee,
was usually reprimanded, informed of the possible application of the
Espionage Act, and warned not to repeat the violation."
Fundamentally, however, information security was not to be achieved by
the force of law or the threat of punishment. Rather, it was rooted in
shared values and common commitments, the Project history
"Grounds for protecting information were largely patriotism, loyalty to
the fighting men, and the reasoning that the less publicity given the
Project, the more difficult it would be for the enemy to acquire
information about it and also, the greater would be the element of
surprise" (p. 6.13).
The only other remaining portion of the official history, Foreign
Intelligence Supplement No. 1
to Manhattan District History Volume 14, was also published online last
month. It provided an account of U.S. wartime intelligence collection
aimed at enemy scientific research and development. Some information in
that volume was deleted by the Central Intelligence Agency.
The entire thirty-six volume Manhattan District history has now been
declassified and posted online
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