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News Release


Release No: 205-95
April 18, 1995


The Department of Defense today announced the results of the U.S. Central Command investigation into the possible compromise of U.S. classified material discovered at the United Nations Operations Somalia (UNOSOM) compound in Mogadishu during Operation UNITED SHIELD. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff , General John Shalikashvili, ordered the investigation following the February 27, 1995, discovery by U.S. personnel of classified documents in the former commander of UNOSOM forces headquarters building. The completed investigation was forwarded to Secretary of Defense William Perry on April 6, 1995, and was forwarded to Congress today.

The United Nations (U.N.) has also been investigating this matter. They have indicated a willingness to cooperate in assisting the U.S. government effort.

The investigation included a thorough review of approximately 100 U.S. and U.N. classified documents, including two examples of tactical imagery and more than 50 computer discs. The operational environment in Somalia necessitated the on-site destruction of the remainder of the documents by U.S. personnel, prior to their successful evacuation of the remaining UNOSOM forces.

The investigation determined that:

. From all available evidence, the security of the United States was not compromised, nor were U.S. forces or U.S. sources or methods put in jeopardy.

. Of all the documents reviewed, only one contained sensitive material which should not have been passed to UNOSOM at the time, but no harm was caused to the United States or its intelligence sources and methods because of this error.

. Seven other U.S. documents were appropriate for release to UNOSOM, but were improperly labeled by U.S. personnel.

. U.S. procedures for intelligence sharing were sound and, except as noted, were followed by U.S. personnel.

. The information security practices followed by UNOSOM forces prior to their evacuation were not in consonance with U.S. or U.N. policy and standards.

In his review of the investigation, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff underscored the importance of sharing information with the U.N. when it advances U.S. interests. He concluded that to prevent future problems, the U.S. must ensure that sound information security practices and procedures are developed and enforced. When providing appropriately sanitized information to the U.N. forces, the U.S. must be satisfied that the deployed United Nations' contingent is organized to properly receive, handle and dispose of the material in a safe and timely manner.

The next step in this process is to review with the U.N. those portions related to their operations and to develop a joint review, training and inspection mechanism to insure information security. We expect to proceed with this effort in the coming days.

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