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A New Intelligence Award for “Reporting Wrongdoing”

Organizations give out awards not only in order to recognize individual excellence, but also to advance and reinforce values prized by their sponsors. So it is both telling and somewhat unexpected that the U.S. intelligence community is creating a new award for certain kinds of dissidents and whistleblowers. “The intelligence community has […] committed to […]

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DEA Will Not Decontrol Marijuana, and More from CRS

After a 5 year review process, the Drug Enforcement Agency decided to reject a petition to reduce or eliminate legal controls on marijuana. However, it agreed to authorize increased legal cultivation of marijuana for research purposes. The current state of affairs was summarized by the Congressional Research Service in DEA Will Not Reschedule Marijuana, But […]

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Increasing Nuclear Bomber Operations

By Hans M. Kristensen CBS’s 60 Minutes program Risk of Nuclear Attack Rises described that Russia may be lowering the threshold for when it would use nuclear weapons, and showed how U.S. nuclear bombers have started flying missions they haven’t flown since the Cold War: Over the North Pole and deep into Northern Europe to send a warning to […]

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When the President Pardoned a Leaker

In recent discussions of whether President Obama should pardon Edward Snowden, it has gone unnoticed that a presidential pardon was once granted to a person who committed an unauthorized disclosure of classified information to the press, effectively erasing his crime. In 1985, Samuel L. Morison, a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, was convicted under the Espionage […]

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Syrian Refugee Resettlement, & More from CRS

Last month, the 10,000th Syrian refugee was admitted to the United States in FY2016, the Congressional Research Service noted in a newly updated report. The report “details the U.S. refugee admissions process and the placement and resettlement of arriving refugees in the United States.” See Syrian Refugee Admissions and Resettlement in the United States: In […]

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Sorting Through the Snowden Aftermath

Public discussion of the Edward Snowden case has mostly been a dialog of the deaf, with defenders and critics largely talking past each other at increasing volume. But the disagreements became sharper and more interesting over the past week. “Mr. Snowden is not a patriot. He is not a whistleblower. He is a criminal,” wrote […]

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Judicial Vacancies Rose Under Obama, & More from CRS

The number of district court vacancies during the Obama presidency grew from 41 vacancies in January 2009 to 75 vacancies in September 2016 — an unusual 83% increase, according to a new assessment from the Congressional Research Service. By contrast, the number of vacancies decreased over the course of the George W. Bush Administration from […]

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Secrecy Reduced at Justice Dept, Audit Finds

The Department of Justice has streamlined its national security classification activities over the last several years, resulting in the production of a diminishing number of secrets, according to a new report from the Department’s Inspector General. Specifically, the IG found: *     the Department reduced the number of Original Classification Authorities (i.e. officials who are authorized […]

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FAS Website Blocked by US Cyber Command, Then Unblocked

For at least the past six months, and perhaps longer, the Federation of American Scientists website has been blocked by U.S. Cyber Command. This week it was unblocked. The “block” imposed by Cyber Command meant that employees throughout the Department of Defense who attempted to access the FAS website on their government computers were unable […]

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