Who else is withholding information on the Israeli MIAs?

December 24, 2010

The three Israeli MIAs missing in the battle of Sultan Yaqub since 1982

In an article entitled “Foreign Office says no to MIA report” (16 December 2010 ) the Jewish Chronicle reported that:

“The British government is refusing to release documents which could shed light on the fate of three Israeli soldiers missing since 1982 because it says sensitive information could harm diplomatic relations with Syria.

This statement seems to intimate that the Syrians have a hand in the 28-year ongoing travesty of human morality and decency.  This is not surprising, given Syria’s track record of human rights.  The fact that the British government is a partner to this travesty is somewhat more surprising.

Graphic showing the Freedom of Information ActDon’t assume that the British are the only ones withholding information about the three Israeli soldiers missing in action.  On 2 August 2009 I submitted a formal request from the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Security Service (CSS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regarding the Israeli MIAs.  In the request I wrote:

Persuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), I hereby request the following information that exists or is archived in NSA:

  • Information related, or pertaining, to all Israeli MIAs (“Missing In Action”) in the Sultan Yakoub (or Sultan Yaqub) battle in Eastern Lebanon on June 11, 1982, the sixth day of the Israel-Lebanon War.
  • Intelligence reports related to any of the Israeli MIAs referred to, from 1982 to the present date.
  • The request is specific to all, or all, of the following MIAs:
    • Zack Baumel
    • Zachary Baumel
    • Zecharia Baumel
    • Tzvi Feldman
    • Zvi Feldman
    • Yehuda Katz

A week later I received NSA’s reply (page 1 and page 2) in the mail.  The relevant part said:

“We have determined that the fact of the existence or non-existence of the materials you request is a currently and properly classified matter in accordance with Executive Order 12958, as amended.  Thus, your request is denied … the FOIA does not apply to matter that specifically authorized under criteria …”

I suspect that behind the legalese lies the fact that NSA/CSS is privy to information regarding the Israeli soldiers, but political expediency prevents the Americans, like the British, from doing what is morally correct.

It remains to be seen if WikiLeaks will shed any further light on this perversion of human decency.  In any case, here’s one person who wishes Miriam Baumel the best of success in releasing the British report on her son and the other MIAs.

oreign Office says no to MIA report


Flickr-Based Cryptographic Photo Collections

May 8, 2009

You know how things work on the Internet.  A search for something in Google displays a link, which leads to another page, which leads to a third, etc.  Before you know it, you’ve discovered goldmines you never knew existed.

NationalCryptologicMuseumThis past week I searched for “PURPLE” in Google’s image database (I think that’s what I did — it was oh so many link clicks ago :-)).  Perusing the booty uncovered a link to a link to a link etc. until I chanced upon some cryptographically-related photo collections on Flickr.  I have spent many an hour since enjoying the eye candy there and in other locations.  I’d like to share some of these sites with you. Read the rest of this entry »

Easy Indexed Access to Declassified NSA/CSS Documents

April 27, 2009

The NSA/CSS Declassification Initiatives web page contains the following easily overlooked paragraph:

“An index of 4,923 entries containing approximately 1.3 million pages of previously declassified documents, which have been released to NARA is provided. The documents are from the pre-World War I period through the end of World War II.”

The links refers to a fascinating listing of cryptologic documents declassified by NSA/CSS in Project OPENDOOR (1996) and released to the U.S. National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C. In the very long, unsorted list one could easily overlook such gems as:

NSA/CSS declassified documents

April 7, 2009

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Security Service (CSS) periodically release declassified documents or indexes to these documents to the public.  This is all part of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States Government.

If cryptology and cryptanalysis are your cup of tea, just browse over to NSA’s Declassification Initiatives web page and dive in.   You’ll need a few hours to do this justice, so plan on returning a few times.

Here are some juicy finds: Read the rest of this entry »