There are few items that escape the grasp of the Export Administration Regulations. Included on the short list of items are books that can be found in a public library. For this reason government export regulators must be careful about items that go into books that will be widely distributed, and before the item is released. This article from the New York Times details the travails of Kenneth W. Ford, as he tried to comply with government requests to clear technical details contained in his memoir before the book was published. The author and the federal government had widely different views about what constituted acceptable release of technical details.
The episode highlights the difficulty of working with even dated material that relates to the country’s nuclear secrets. While the article predicts penalties for Dr. Ford may be minimal or non-existent, companies would be unwise to share nuclear-related information and technology without clear approval from federal regulators.