Defense

The Navy's quixotic quest to bury an unclassified laser leak

Bookmark this for a fun lunch read: Wired's Danger Room blog has a lengthy, entertaining report on its wrangling with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service over an unclassified document describing a fictional laser weapon, that NCIS insists was "leaked." The Navy's interest in who shared a five-year-old document, marked For Official Use Only but not classified as "secret," fits in with the current "leak fever" zeitgeist, but the weapon described in the document is kind of ridiculous. It's basically a laser that can target insurgents and burn their clothing, and eventually their insides. (Shades of Real Genius?)
 
Wired's report, by Sharon Weinberger and Noah Shachtman, is a good way to understand how an official policy cracking down on leaks can get out of hand until it "provides official justification for reprisals, even when the threat to national security teeters on the absurd." Come for the straight-faced descriptions of outrageous sci-fi weaponry, stay for the serious examination of military policy. 

Read more at The Atlantic Wire.

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