TRACKING NUCLEAR MATERIALS-HSPD-17


Extract from May 8, 2008 Secrecy News–FAS-

“PROGRAM TRACKS NUCLEAR MATERIALS WORLDWIDE

An interagency program established in 2006 by a classified Presidential
directive is working to gather information on the status and security of
nuclear materials around the world and to characterize them for forensic
purposes.  Remarkably, such a thing had never been done before in a
rigorous way.

“On August 28, 2006, the national-level Nuclear Materials Information
Program (NMIP) was established via National and Homeland Security
Presidential Directive (NSPD-48/HSPD-17),” said Rolf Mowatt-Larssen,
director of the Department of Energy Office of Intelligence and
Counterintelligence at an April 2, 2008 hearing of the Senate Homeland
Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

“While the specifics of NMIP are classified, the goal of NMIP is to
consolidate information from all sources pertaining to worldwide
nuclear materials holdings and their security status into an integrated
and continuously updated information management system,” he said.

“We have prioritized this program to focus on countries and facilities
that we regard in the intelligence community to be of the highest
risk,” said Mr. Mowatt-Larssen at another hearing last October 10.  “So
we have in fact identified the high-risk sites.  We have identified what
type of material is there.  We have an assessment, an ongoing
assessment, it’s being updated every day, on the status at the highest
priority level.  It’s a work in progress.  It’s going to take a number
of years to complete.”

“I’m very enthusiastic about what they’re doing,” said Matt Bunn, a
nonproliferation expert at Harvard who has long advocated this kind of
database development.  “My hat’s off to them,” he said, adding that the
Bush Administration deserved credit for surpassing previous efforts in
this direction.

The subject matter of the classified Presidential directives NSPD-48
and HSPD-17 had not been publicly identified before Mr.
Mowatt-Larssen’s testimony last month.  Thanks to Jeffrey Richelson of
the National Security Archive who noticed the disclosure.  A list of
known Bush Administration National Security Presidential Directives is
available here:

     http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/nspd/index.html

Organizations involved in implementation are currently unknow but the open source information out of DHS indicates very little DHS is doing other than its S&T Directorate under Dr. Tara O’Toole.

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