The Manhattan Project Resources

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Dr. Edward Teller's Remarks on Secrecy

The following pages are remarks prepared by Dr. Teller in preparation for a meeting in 1989 at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California. The meeting concerned the continued classification of national security and nuclear weapon information.

In his remarks, Dr. Teller notes the important role of the government in keeping secret those things which are specific and vital to national security, especially the precise details of scientific and technical information as they relate to military operations. However, he does make the case for reducing "secrecy so that its enforcement become practical and compatible with the American way of life." Additionally, Teller proposes a limit on the length of time that information is designated secret. Dr. Teller compares and contrasts Soviet and American intelligence against the backdrop of the Cold War and concludes American secrecy practices "seem not to have been effective." He asserts we need to be more selective about what we attempt to keep secret, more realistic about the length of time that secrecy can be maintained, and more flexible in the application of laws pertaining to classification.

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See other documents in the OpenNet database authored/co-authored by Dr. Teller