[FPSPACE] a little bit more on declassified documents, as highlighted in "Lifting the Veil"
pjp961 at svol.net
Sun Nov 18 22:02:03 EST 2007
I think I should bring up one more issue or topic that is highlighted in the
text "Lifting the Veil" that hasn't been touched upon, but I feel is quite
During my research for this article project, I learned that a number of
documents-with the same title, serial number, and date of issuance-had
actually significantly different content, and number of pages.
What I learned was that when a document had different security
classifications within a general level, then the documents were
I learned, for example, that in documents from the 1960s at the Top Secret
level (such as NIEs-National Intelligence Estimates) one can have:
a) documents ranked Top Secret;
b) documents ranked Top Secret codeword;
c) documents ranked Top Secret All Source;
d) documents ranked Top Secret All Source Restricted Data.
All of these documents would have the same title, serial number, and date of
issuance; however, their content would be surprisingly different. And some
of the documents would have exceptionally more detail, while others (for
example those generally labled "Top Secret") would have less detail.
I learned for example, that one particular "Memorandum to Holders" of an NIE
on the Soviet space program has at least two different versions. Both
versions were successfully declassified at my request, but at different
times. One was in 2004, I believe, and the other was just earlier this
year. One was eleven pages in length (one that was ranked "Top Secret");
but the other, 18 (ranked "Top Secret two codewords").
The "Lifting the Veil" text describes what I learned while comparing the two
documents, as well as to the significance as to why these classifications
were extant. I additionally describe the significant new data contained in
the document version that was released earlier this year.
The full stroke and import of the significance of this personal discovery
(although it may have been known to analysts working in the milieu, it has
not-to my knowledge-ever been broached before in a scholarly publication for
open reading) is only beginning to be understood.
Just another wrinkle for space historians to consider as they look at
What this means, however, is that researchers are going to have to examine
more closely the security rankings of the documents that get released by US
government entities. For example, I checked out the NIEs on the website of
the CIA. And I learned that NIEs on Soviet space on the CIA's electronic
reading room are the lowest-ranked security-classified versions. In other
words, the CIA released the least-detailed documents on the topic.
That means space historians have their work cut out for them to ask for, get
declassified, and acquire the most detail that can be had.
Just a "heads up" for everyone to recognize this.
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