Inspectors General with Guns, and More from CRS

Offices of Inspector General (OIGs) are generally known for performing investigations of executive branch agencies in order to combat waste, fraud and abuse. But many IGs also have a law enforcement function, and many of their employees are armed. The most recent data available (from 2008) indicate that 33 Offices of Inspector General had a total of 3,501 agents who were authorized to carry firearms, according to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service. […]

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Nuclear Attribution and Hot Cognition

The challenges of identifying the perpetrators of a nuclear attack on the United States and communicating that information to senior leadership were considered in a 2009 workshop sponsored by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. A declassified report on the workshop was released last week in heavily redacted form. See “Transforming Nuclear Attribution: Culture, Community, and Change (SHARP 2009)” (redacted), Office of the Director of National Intelligence, July 2009. One of the challenges […]

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CIA Asks to Destroy Email of Non-Senior Agency Officials

The Central Intelligence Agency has asked for authority to destroy email messages sent by non-senior officials of the Agency. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has tentatively approved the proposal. In an August 18 appraisal of the CIA request, Meredith Scheiber of NARA wrote that any permanently valuable material in the emails would almost certainly be captured in other permanent CIA records. “It is unlikely that permanent records will be found in these email […]

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CIA Says Redaction of Commodore Amiga Cost was an Error

The CIA should not have redacted the amount that was paid for a Commodore Amiga portable computer in 1987 from a recently declassified article, a CIA official said today. (CIA: Cost of Personal Computer in 1987 is a Secret, Secrecy News, September 29). “The redaction of the cost of the Commodore Amiga computer was in fact an error,” said Joseph W. Lambert, Director of CIA Information Management Services. “Although we would normally redact budget figures, […]

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CIA: Cost of Personal Computer in 1987 is a Secret

Updated below Under the prevailing information policies of the Central Intelligence Agency, even some well-known public facts, such as the price of a popular personal computer, may be withheld from public disclosure. “We bought our first Commodore Amiga in 1987 for less than [price redacted] including software,” according to a paper entitled “NPIC, Amiga, and Videotape” from the CIA journal Studies in Intelligence. It was among hundreds of papers posted online this month in response […]

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DNI Issues Directive on Polygraph Policy

Polygraph testing is here to stay, judging from a new directive issued by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The directive governs the use of polygraph testing in vetting executive branch agency personnel for security clearances or determining their eligibility for “sensitive” positions. The new Security Executive Agent Directive 2 on the use of the polygraph was obtained by Marisa Taylor of McClatchy News, who has done a series of in-depth news reports on polygraph […]

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Use of US Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2014, and More from CRS

Noteworthy new products of the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following. Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2014, September 15, 2014 American Foreign Fighters and the Islamic State: Broad Challenges for Federal Law Enforcement, CRS Insights, September 19, 2014 Man without a Country? Expatriation of U.S. Citizen “Foreign Fighters”, Legal Sidebar, September 15, 2014 Proposed Train and Equip Authorities for Syria: In Brief, September […]

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Energy Dept to Review Classification Standards for Clarity

The Department of Energy will review its classification standards to improve their clarity and to eliminate possible ambiguities, the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration told the Federation of American Scientists this week. The issue arose in response to the case of James Doyle, a Los Alamos political scientist who published an article on nuclear weapons policy that was initially cleared for publication, but then was said to contain classified information. Doyle’s employment at […]

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State Secrets Privilege Used Improperly, Court is Told

When the government intervened in a private lawsuit to assert the state secrets privilege and to seek dismissal of the entire proceeding (Secrecy News, September 15), it acted improperly and misused the state secrets privilege, the attorney for the plaintiff in the case told the Court yesterday. “The Government has improperly invoked the state secrets privilege, deprived Plaintiffs of the opportunity to test the Government’s claims through the adversarial process, and limited the Court’s opportunity […]

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CIA Posts Hundreds of Declassified Journal Articles

The Central Intelligence Agency has posted hundreds of declassified and unclassified articles from its in-house journal Studies in Intelligence, in an effort to settle a lawsuit brought by a former employee, Jeffrey Scudder. Until lately, the CIA had resisted release of the requested articles in softcopy format (Secrecy News, March 17), but the Agency eventually relented. “Of the 419 documents that remain in dispute in Scudder, the CIA has produced 249 in full or in […]

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