FAS Roundup: July 1, 2013

U.S. secrecy system, patenting life and much more.

From the Blogs

Secrecy System Shows Signs of Contraction: Recently released government data shows that the creation of new national security secrets dropped sharply in 2012. While the proper boundaries of official secrecy remain a matter of intense dispute, the secrecy system itself is showing surprising new signs of restraint and even contraction. In 2012, the number of original classification decisions, or decisions to classify new information, decreased by 42 percent from the year before to 73,477, which is the lowest reported level of new classification activity since at least 1989 and possibly longer.

Patenting Life: The human genome is the end result of a few billion years of evolution; many of our genes are shared with other organisms. Only 5% of our genome is unique to humanity. The Supreme Court recently decided that companies can’t patent a gene, but agreed that synthetic genes, and that laboratory methods for identifying a specific gene can be patented. In a new post on the ScienceWonk Blog, Dr. Y investigates this controversy.

Intelligence Accountability Reviews: An Unused Oversight Tool: In 2007, Congress passed legislation to grant the Director of National Intelligence “new authority to conduct accountability reviews of significant failures or deficiencies with the Intelligence Community.” Up to now, however, that authority has never been exercised. In 2011, the DNI issued Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 111 on “Accountability Reviews.” That recently disclosed Directive “establishes policy and procedures governing the conduct of such reviews.” In response to a query about how many accountability reviews have been conducted, and on which topics, Michael G. Birmingham of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence this week said that “There have been no accountability reviews conducted under the authorities in ICD 111.”

Science and Technology in the 113th Congress and More from CRS: Secrecy News has obtained recently released CRS reports on topics such as next steps in nuclear arms control with Russia, science and technology issues for Congress and federal laws related to cybersecurity.

Workshop on Terrorism Analysis: July 25-26, 2013

FAS Senior Fellow on State and Non-State Threats Mr. Charles Blair will be hosting a workshop  at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, titled Terrorism Analysis: Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methodologies and Tools on July 25-26, 2013.

This non-credit course introduces participants to a variety of quantitative and qualitative methodologies for the study of terrorism and learn how to create and utilize analytical tools for preventing, preparing for, responding to, or predicting terrorism.

Due to overwhelming demand, early bird registration has been extended until July 15. For more information on the workshop and to register and save 25%, click here.

FAS in the News

Leave a Reply