When the Administration Asks Itself to Declassify

In preparing its recent report on the Section 702 surveillance program, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) demonstrated an unusual mode of declassification, in which one executive branch agency asks another agency to declassify information. In this case, the process was remarkably productive, and it may offer a precedent for future declassification efforts. “During the process of preparing this report we sought and obtained declassification of facts about this still highly classified [Section […]

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Measuring the Loss of Manufacturing Jobs, and More from CRS

New or newly updated publications from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following. Free Exercise of Religion by Closely Held Corporations: Implications of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., July 23, 2014 What Is the Farm Bill?, July 23, 2014 Deploying 5G (Fifth Generation) Wireless Technology: Is the United States on Track?, CRS Insights, July 23, 2014 Federal Student Loan Forgiveness and Loan Repayment Programs, July 22, […]

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A Look Behind President Clinton’s Veto of an Anti-Leak Bill

In 2000, both houses of Congress passed legislation that would have made any leak of classified information a felony. The provision, contained in the FY2001 intelligence authorization act, was designed “to ensure the prosecution of all unauthorized disclosures of classified information.” said Sen. Richard Shelby, the primary sponsor of the provision, at the time. While some unauthorized disclosures of classified information were already prohibited by statute (including the Espionage Act), others have not been specifically […]

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U.S. Sanctions on Russia, and More from CRS

New publications from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following. U.S. Sanctions on Russia in Response to Events in Ukraine, July 18, 2014 Use of Force Considerations in Iraq, July 15, 2014 The Kurds and Possible Iraqi Kurdish Independence, July 15, 2014 Unaccompanied Alien Children: A Processing Flow Chart, July 16, 2014 District of Columbia: Marijuana Decriminalization and Enforcement; Issues of Home Rule and Congressional Oversight, July […]

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Senate Bill Requires Report on “All” NSA Bulk Collection

Updated below The National Security Agency would be required to prepare an unclassified report on “all NSA bulk collection activities,” the Senate Appropriations Committee directed in its report on the Fiscal Year 2015 Department of Defense Appropriations bill, published yesterday. The Committee told the NSA to prepare a report “describing all NSA bulk collection activities, including when such activities began, the cost of such activities, what types of records have been collected in the past, […]

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DNI Issues New Policy on Leak Damage Assessments

The Director of National Intelligence has issued new guidance on assessing damage resulting from the unauthorized disclosure of classified intelligence information to ensure that the damage assessments “are produced in an efficient, timely, consistent and collaborative manner.” Leak damage assessments should be used iteratively and the lessons learned from them should be applied “to strengthen the protection of classified national intelligence and prevent future unauthorized disclosures or compromises.” In addition to the facts and circumstances […]

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Wanted: A Chef with a Top Secret Clearance

A secure U.S. government facility in Herndon, Virginia needs a master chef who holds or who can obtain a Top Secret security clearance. The job opening was announced by Sodexo, the international food service company. “Sodexo’s Government Services Division is seeking a strong Executive Chef to manage all the culinary operations at a high profile government dining account in Northern Virginia. The successful candidate must be able to obtain a TS/SCI clearance,” the announcement said. […]

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House Amendment Would Cut NSC Budget by a Third

The House of Representatives yesterday approved an amendment to cut the budget for the National Security Council by one third in response to NSC moves to block congressional access to information. “Over the last few months, we have had several instances in which the National Security staff has mandated that the Department of Defense and other agencies selectively withhold information from congressional oversight committees,” complained Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), who introduced the amendment. It was […]

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Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund, and More from CRS

The Obama Administration has requested $5 billion to create a new Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund (CTPF). The program would “build on existing tools and authorities” to establish a “more sustainable and effective” counterterrorism approach, focusing on building the counterterrorism capacity of partners worldwide through “train-and-equip” and other activities, according to the Congressional Research Service. “The CTPF proposal raises many questions regarding counterterrorism strategy, roles, responsibilities, authorities, and Congressional oversight,” said CRS in a brief overview of […]

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New USAF Bomber Already Under Development, Says CRS

A Request for Proposals from industry to develop a new Air Force Long Range Strike Bomber is said to be imminent. But in fact, the aircraft may already be under development, the Congressional Research Service said last week. The projected funding stream for the proposed new aircraft “resembles a production program more than a typical development profile,” CRS said. “This may indicate that significant LRS-B [Long Range Strike Bomber] development has already been completed, presumably […]

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