[FPSPACE] open source materials in classified reports
pjp961 at svol.net
Fri Nov 16 13:36:56 EST 2007
I can go you one better.
There is a paper that I referenced in my 2004 Quest article serialization
produced by the CIA about Soviet lunar base information from September 1969,
if memory serves.
At the back of that text, there was a listing of what were actually labeled
"Unclassified References." Do you think that you could access that page
from the text?
No, one could not. It is because, despite the "open source" nature of the
references, they were part and parcel of a classified (in this case, I think
it was Secret level) report, and therefore were affected by those
classification protocols. But it did seem humorous to me that at the top
and bottom of the page were the security stampings, and the labeling of the
page stated "Unclassified References."
I suspect, that your friend with the Spaceflight articles wasn't merely
"stamping them red" and passing them around. They were no doubt part and
parcel of an actual "Secret" level report, and those articles were part of
the materials packet for analysts to read. I think that the entire
report--if it does carry classified information--will have its entirety
stamped (on the tops and bottoms of the pages) the highest level security
level of the information contained in the said report.
Now I have seen declassified NSA reports that have paragraphs with a widely
varying number of security levels--all on the same page. But the overall
security levels of those pages (the stampings at the tops and bottoms of the
page) matches the highest leveled-security security classification paragraph
of any of the paragraphs on that page (or, perhaps in the entire report--I
think that might be more accurate). I think that is how it is done.
Open Source materials, in and of themselves, are not classified; but if they
are dove-tailed into a classified examination, then they are part of the
entire "work product" of the level levied for that report. And that is what
attracts the classification stampings, I am fairly certain. It is how the
open source materials are used, that turns them into classified support
In my most current text in Space Chronicle, the CIA has a mention of a quote
from cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov. The magazine from which Komarov's
quotation was taken from was probably innocuous. However, the page itself
upon which the comment by Komarov (and some evaluation of it) was ranked Top
So open source materials are an integrally linked feature of classified
examinations of topics of interest.
From: Sven Grahn [mailto:svengrahn at telia.com]
Sent: Friday, November 16, 2007 1:35 AM
To: Peter Pesavento
Cc: fpspace at friends-partners.org
Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] US tracking of early Soviet lunar and planetary
probes,use of open sources in secret documents
----- Original Message ----- >
> I do agree with your notion Sven, that much of the time, "Secret"
> are of publicly-sourced data. But what is also supposed to happen in such
> classified level reports is that the reason why it is stamped "Secret" is
> because of the evaluations done on the open-sourced data.
Yes, of course, this is quite true...
> So one has to be careful to not say that "Secret" documents are merely
> equivalent to articles in Spaceflight looked over by bored government
> boffins/apparatchiks, and slapped with a rubber red stamping at the tops
> bottoms of pages.
Funny that you should mention Spaceflight articles, because the reason I
asked the question to that intelligence officer is because he had my own
articles to Spaceflight stamped "secret" (a big red stamp) - we were
discussing what was in them. And, this was not some bored apparatchnik - he
was a sharp guy.
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