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Author sues over China nuclear weapons book

Los Alamos
The author, Danny Stillman, was an employee of the U.S. nuclear weapons lab at Los Alamos for 28 years  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The author of a book about Chinese nuclear secrets is suing several U.S. government agencies in a bid to get his book published.

The move comes after the Department of Energy, acting on a recommendation from the Defense Department, denied Danny Stillman permission to publish his memoir, "Inside China's Nuclear Weapons Program".

The Department of Energy, in a memo dated October 2000, denied Stillman the right to publish, warning that if certain information was revealed it could damage national security and U.S. relations with China.

The memo said the manuscript contained "extensive information about intelligence sources and methods, and could, therefore, reasonably be expected to damage national security of the United States."

"Additionally, open publication could also damage American relations with China and have a deleterious effect on future scientific exchanges between the two countries." Until 1993 Stillman was employed by the University of California as a private-contractor at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Secrecy agreement

In nine trips to China before and after his retirement Stillman visited nuclear weapons facilities and met Chinese scientists working there as a guest of the Chinese government.

His attorney, Mark Zaid, said he briefed U.S. intelligence officials upon his return.

Under the terms of his employment he had to submit any writings for pre-publication review in accordance with a secrecy agreement that was a condition of his 28-year career at Los Alamos.

However, Zaid says the information in the book is unclassified and contains "important and invaluable information" that will "favorably impact our relations with China."

He said the lawsuit, to be filed Monday, will ask the Departments of Defense and Energy, the Defense Intelligence Agency and Central Intelligence Agency not to block the publication.

• U.S. Defense Link
• Los Alamos National Laboratory
• Chinese government link

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