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Streamlining Declassification: Imagery and Image Products

A 2014 memorandum from Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, released this week under the Freedom of Information Act, drew a new distinction between intelligence satellite images and the intelligence products that are derived from those images. The subtle new distinction affects the classification and declassification of the two categories of information, and may […]

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“Notwithstanding Any Other Provision of Law,” and More from CRS

The phrase “notwithstanding any other provision of law” has already appeared in bills introduced in the current Congress more than 600 times, according to a new analysis from the Congressional Research Service. “Does the presence of this phrase in an enactment really mean that no other statutes apply, as is sometimes suggested? The short answer […]

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Pentagon Portrays Nuclear Modernization As Response to Russia

By Hans M. Kristensen The final defense budget of the Obama administration effectively crowns this administration as the nuclear modernization leader of post-Cold War U.S. presidencies. While official statements so far have mainly justified the massive nuclear modernization as simply extending the service-life of existing capabilities, the Pentagon now explicitly paints the nuclear modernization as […]

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SSCI Holds Open Hearing on Worldwide Threats

Last year Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), the new chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee (SSCI), abandoned the Committee’s longstanding practice of holding a public hearing with intelligence agency heads on the global threat environment. But yesterday, the annual threat hearing was once again held in public. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) noted last year’s lapse. “It’s […]

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Intelligence Budgets on a Downward Slope

Intelligence community budgets appear set to continue on the modest downward slope of the last several years. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said yesterday that it was requesting $53.5 billion for the National Intelligence Program (NIP) in FY 2017, a slight reduction from the $53.9 billion that was requested for the NIP […]

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Oman, Saudi Arabia, and More from CRS

New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public disclosure include the following. Oman: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy, updated February 5, 2016 Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations, updated February 5, 2016 Senate Committee Rules in the 114th Congress: Key Provisions, February 8, 2016 Medicare Trigger, updated […]

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FAS Roundup: February 9, 2016

From the Blogs RAND Report Questions Nuclear Role In Defending Baltic States: The RAND Corporation has published an interesting new report on how NATO would defend the Baltic States against a Russian attack. Hans Kristensen, director of the FAS Nuclear Information Project, analyzes the report’s observations and offers recommendations for “a better strategy.” Declassified: US Nuclear Weapons At […]

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NSC Staffer John Ficklin Retires

John W. Ficklin retired last month from his position as Senior Director for Records and Access Management at the National Security Council. In that capacity he was responsible for declassification of White House records, among other records management duties. He also chaired an interagency classification reform committee that met (and still meets) to consider improvements […]

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The Gig Economy, and More from CRS

A new report from the Congressional Research Service examines the “gig” economy and its implications for workers. “The gig economy is the collection of markets that match providers to consumers on a gig (or job) basis in support of on-demand commerce. In the basic model, gig workers enter into formal agreements with on-demand companies (e.g., […]

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Coming to Terms with Secret Law

The topic of “secret law” is probed at great length in a new law review paper, which substantiates the concept and suggests a set of principles for addressing it. See “Coming to Terms with Secret Law” by Dakota S. Rudesill, to be published in the Harvard National Security Journal. Secret law is defined here as […]

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