The 2014 Ebola Outbreak, and More from CRS

The current outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa has infected and killed more people than all previous outbreaks combined. A new report from the Congressional Research Service provides detailed background on the spread of the disease, the weaknesses of the health care infrastructure in the affected countries, and related policy issues for congressional consideration. See The 2014 Ebola Outbreak: International and U.S. Responses, August 26, 2014. Next week, NATO leaders will hold their […]

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Gov’t Resists Court Review of State Secrets

It is “not appropriate” for a court to conduct its own independent review of evidence that the government asserts is protected by the state secrets privilege, attorneys for the government argued last week. They were objecting to an order that was issued in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the “no fly” list in the case of Gulet Mohamed v. Eric Holder. On August 6, Judge Anthony J. Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia […]

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Climate Change and Existing Law, and More from CRS

New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following. Climate Change and Existing Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Past, Present, and Future, updated August 20, 2014 The “Militarization” of Law Enforcement and the Department of Defense’s “1033 Program”, CRS Insights, August 20, 2014 China’s Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States, updated August 21, 2014 Clean Coal Loan Guarantees […]

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WWII Atomic Bomb Project Had More Than 1,500 “Leaks”

The Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bomb during World War II was among the most highly classified and tightly secured programs ever undertaken by the U.S. government. Nevertheless, it generated more than 1,500 leak investigations involving unauthorized disclosures of classified Project information. That remarkable fact is noted in the latest declassified volume of the official Manhattan District History (Volume 14, Intelligence & Security) that was approved for release and posted online by the […]

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Domestic Terrorism Again a Priority at DOJ, and More from CRS

The threat of domestic terrorism is receiving greater attention at the Department of Justice with the reestablishment in June of the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee, the Congressional Research Service noted last week. “The reestablishment suggests that officials are raising the profile of domestic terrorism as an issue within DOJ after more than a decade of heightened focus on both foreign terrorist organizations and homegrown individuals inspired by violent jihadist groups based abroad,” CRS wrote. See […]

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Leaked Document to be Introduced in State Secrets Case

The plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the use of the “no fly list” to bar a US citizen from boarding an aircraft said last week that he would introduce a leaked copy of the government’s Watchlisting Guidance “to show just how objectionable and evidence-free Defendants’ watch listing process is.” The government said it did not acknowledge the authenticity of the leaked document, and that the case should be dismissed since the Attorney General had invoked […]

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Manufacturing Nuclear Weapon Pits, and More from CRS

A critical assessment of the feasibility of reaching the Department of Defense’s goal of producing 80 plutonium pits (or triggers) for nuclear weapons was prepared by the Congressional Research Service. It provides new analysis of the space and material requirements needed to achieve the declared goal. See Manufacturing Nuclear Weapon “Pits”: A Decisionmaking Approach for Congress, August 15, 2014. Other new or updated CRS reports obtained by Secrecy News include the following. The U.S. Military […]

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Insider Threat Program Advances, Slowly

Nearly two years after President Obama issued a National Insider Threat Policy “to strengthen the protection and safeguarding of classified information” against espionage or unauthorized disclosure, the effort is still at an early stage of development. Only last week, the U.S. Air Force finally issued a directive to implement the 2012 Obama policy. (AF Instruction 16-1402, Insider Threat Program Management). And even now it speaks prospectively of what the program “will” do rather than what […]

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Ebola-Stricken Americans Returning from Abroad, and More from CRS

New products from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following. Safe at Home? Letting Ebola-Stricken Americans Return, CRS Insights, August 5, 2014: 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review: Evolution of Strategic Review, CRS Insights, August 6, 2014 Reducing the Budget Deficit: Overview of Policy Issues, August 7, 2014 Juvenile Victims of Domestic Sex Trafficking: Juvenile Justice Issues, August 5, 2014 U.S.-EU Cooperation on Ukraine and Russia, CRS Insights, […]

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Congress Grapples with Classification Issues

A bill introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) would direct the President to reduce the amount of classified information by 10%. It is one of several new congressional initiatives seeking to rectify perceived defects in the national security classification system. Most prominently, the Senate Intelligence Committee is engaged in an ongoing dispute with the Administration over declassification of the Committee’s report on the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program. Sen. […]

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