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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Rising Sea Levels and U.S. Coasts, & More from CRS

“With few exceptions, sea levels are rising relative to the coastlines of the contiguous United States, as well as parts of the Alaskan and Hawaiian coastlines,” a new report from the Congressional Research Service observes. “Although the extent of future sea-level rise remains uncertain, sea-level rise is anticipated to have a range of effects on […]

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Terrorism and the First Amendment, & More from CRS

Incitement to commit an imminent act of violence is not protected by the First Amendment, and may be restricted by the government. But advocacy of terrorism that stops short of inciting “imminent” violence probably falls within the ambit of freedom of speech. A new report from the Congressional Research Service examines the legal framework for […]

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On Covert Action in Angola in the Carter Years

U.S. covert action in Angola during the Carter Administration is among the topics documented in a new volume of the official Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series that was released yesterday. See Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977–1980, Volume XVI, Southern Africa. The CIA had secretly intervened in Angola in 1975, during […]

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How Big Should the Army Be?

In its version of the pending defense authorization bill, the House of Representatives said that the U.S. Army should consist of 480,000 soldiers at the end of FY2017. That would be an increase of 5,000 over the current year level of 475,000. But the Senate said that 460,000 soldiers would be sufficient, a decrease of […]

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