- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) mistakenly published on the Internet Tuesday a detailed 268-page dossier disclosing the addresses and specifications of hundreds of U.S. nuclear weapons-related facilities — including reactors.

The document is a draft declaration of facilities to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear watchdog, required under agreements the United States signed in 2004. It is considered highly sensitive though technically not classified.

“It’s a mistake and it should not have been released, especially not with ‘safeguards/confidential’ still written on it,” said David Albright, a former nuclear inspector and president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington think tank. But he added, “It’s probably more embarrassing than dangerous.” Many of the sites disclosed are civilian labs related to related to weapons research and reactors that produce fissile material. The locations of missile silos were not disclosed.

That said, Mr. Albright added, “If we had published it, all hell would break loose.”

The pages of the document, which are marked “highly confidential, safeguards sensitive,” appeared on the GPO Web site. An accompanying letter from President Obama dated May 5 said the United States “regards this information as ‘sensitive but unclassified.’” The document was sent to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

A anti-government secrecy expert, Steven Aftergood, praised the decision to publish the dossier. “It is significant on a few different levels,” said Mr. Aftergood, who runs the project on government secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists.

“It is a rather comprehensive selection of data on hundreds of U.S. nuclear sites and activities in a single document. It is important as a reference document. It is important as an indication of U.S. engagement in the arms control process.”

The United States ratified the additional protocol agreement in 2004 with certain conditions.

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