Boffey, Philip M. "Censorship Action Angers Scientists," New York Times, 5 September 1982,

 

Boffey, Philip M. "Censorship Action Angers Scientists," New York Times, 5 September 1982,
pp. 1 and 16.

The Pentagon moved at the very last minute to block the presentations of some 100 technical
papers at the meeting of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers, held in San
Diego. The military forced the elimination of about 1 paper in 6 scheduled for presentation. The
claim was that the Soviets could benefit from the open exchange of technical data on such things
as submarine communication devices and the use of lasers and mirrors in communications.

Even (Scientific Advisor) Keyworth called the incident "both unfortunate and ill-timed."
Although the papers had not been denied clearance, and though the Pentagon had not objected to
this well-publicized meeting over the previous several months, all of a sudden, CENSORSHIP.
"People just didn't know what to do," said one participant. "Rather than take a chance of
violating some regulation, they decided not to present their papers."

I do not know what happened in San Diego when the Pentagon denied permission. Did some Lt.
Colonel get on the podium and read a list of names of authors who would be prosecuted if they
went on? Was it something more dramatic? In any case, here is an example of the Reagan
administration at work, clumsily dealing with "secrecy" with its slightly updated version of
McCarthyism. It probably results from some bureaucrat's notion of what is good for the country.