“Insider Threat” Program Lags Behind Schedule

The government-wide effort to contain the threat to classified information and sensitive facilities from trusted insiders is falling behind schedule. Currently, the anticipated achievement of an Initial Operating Capability for insider threat detection by January 2017 is “at risk,” according to a new quarterly progress report. Meanwhile, the date for achieving a Full Operating Capability cannot even be projected. See “Insider Threat and Security Clearance Reform, FY2014, Quarter 4.” One aspect of the insider threat […]

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IC Inspector General Finds No Overclassification

“We do overclassify,” Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, admitted at his 2010 confirmation hearing. It’s a theme he has reiterated on a number of occasions on which he has spoken of the need for increased transparency in intelligence. So it comes as a surprise and a disappointment that a new study of the subject from the Intelligence Community Inspector General failed to identify a single case of unnecessary or inappropriate classification. “IC IG […]

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DoD Cyber Operations, and More from CRS

A new report from the Congressional Research Service presents an introduction to U.S. military operations in cyberspace and the thorny policy issues that arise from them. “This report presents an overview of the threat landscape in cyberspace, including the types of offensive weapons available, the targets they are designed to attack, and the types of actors carrying out the attacks. It presents a picture of what kinds of offensive and defensive tools exist and a […]

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Size of U.S. Nuclear Arsenal Remains Classified

The U.S. government will not categorically declassify the number of weapons in the U.S. nuclear arsenal once and for all, but it will consider declassification of the size of the prior year’s arsenal on a case by case basis, the Department of Energy said last week. In May 2010, the Obama Administration declassified the fact that there were 5,113 warheads in the U.S. arsenal as of September 2009. It was the first time in the […]

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Congressional Oversight Manual, & More from CRS

The Congressional Research Service has updated its Congressional Oversight Manual. The 150-page document describes the tools and procedures that Congress has at its disposal to perform the oversight function. Other noteworthy new CRS reports that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following: The Political Question Doctrine: Justiciability and the Separation of Powers, December 23, 2014 Human-Induced Earthquakes from Deep-Well Injection: A Brief Overview, December 22, 2014

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Solidarity with Charlie Hebdo? Subscribe!

What can anyone do in response to the horrific murders of twelve persons associated with the French weekly Charlie Hebdo? One way of expressing solidarity with the victims, and opposition to the killers, would be to purchase a subscription to the satirical (often deliberately offensive) publication, whether for yourself or for a local library. In the U.S., subscriptions to Charlie Hebdo are conveniently available through Amazon.com (h/t Jack Shafer). The surviving staff said that next […]

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Post-9/11 War Costs Reach $1.6 Trillion

The U.S. has spent $1.6 trillion on post-9/11 military operations, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other counterterrorism activities, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service. “Based on funding enacted from the 9/11 attacks through FY2014, CRS estimates a total of $1.6 trillion has been provided to the Department of Defense, the State Department and the Department of Veterans Administration for war operations, diplomatic operations and foreign aid, and medical […]

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Dept of State Delays Release of Iran History

The U.S. Department of State has blocked the publication of a long-awaited documentary history of U.S. covert action in Iran in the 1950s out of concern that its release could adversely affect ongoing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. The controversial Iran history volume, part of the official Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, had been slated for release last summer. (“History of 1953 CIA Covert Action in Iran to be Published,” Secrecy News, […]

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CRS Resources on Detention and Interrogation

New products from the Congressional Research Service obtained by Secrecy News include the following. Selected CRS Materials on Detention and Interrogation of Terrorist Suspects and Enemy Belligerents, CRS Legal Sidebar, December 16, 2014 The SSCI Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program: Issues to Consider, CRS Insights, December 16, 2014 Big Deal? U.S. Changes Stance on Cruelty Prohibition, CRS Legal Sidebar, December 16, 2014 Special Prosecutors: Investigations and Prosecutions of Police Use of Deadly […]

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Set Priorities for Declassification, Study Urges

Each year millions of pages of government records are declassified that few if any members of the public will ever look at. This is an awkward fact which is not often discussed because it might call into question the whole declassification enterprise. “Statistical Records Relating to Ship Stability, 1918-67,” anyone? A new collection of declassified records on that subject was among those processed for release recently by the National Declassification Center. Like too many other […]

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