ODNI Declassifies Data on Frequency of Surveillance

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the “2013 Statistical Transparency Report” detailing the frequency of use of various intelligence surveillance authorities and the estimated number of targets affected by the surveillance. While the reported numbers give some rough sense of the scale of intelligence surveillance — civil liberties groups said the estimated numbers are bound to be misleadingly low — the report provides no basis for evaluating the utility or legitimacy of […]

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The C-130 Hercules Aircraft, and More from CRS

The C-130 Hercules aircraft, which was introduced over half a century ago, is often flown by crew members who are younger than the plane they are flying. And that peculiar arrangement is likely to continue into the foreseeable future, says a new report from the Congressional Research Service. “The C-130 has been the cornerstone of the U.S. tactical airlift fleet since the late 1950s. Military planners believe that C-130 aircraft provide the United States an […]

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“For Official Use Only” is Used Too Much at DHS, House Says

There is too much information that is marked “For Official Use Only” at the Department of Homeland Security, the House Appropriations Committee said in its report on DHS Appropriations for 2015. Efforts to sort out what is really sensitive have “wasted substantial staff resources,” the report said. Therefore, the Committee would require any official who marked a document FOUO to identify himself or herself on the document, along with a justification for doing so. The […]

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Iraq Crisis and U.S. Policy, and More from CRS

The implications of the conflict in Iraq for U.S. policy were examined in a new report from the Congressional Research Service. See Iraq Crisis and U.S. Policy, June 20, 2014. The CRS report notably includes open source reporting and translations from the DNI Open Source Center. This sort of material had been routinely available to the public for decades until the CIA cut off public access to it last December 31. The CRS report on […]

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Army Directive Prohibits Retaliation for Reporting a Crime

The Secretary of the Army last week issued a directive specifying that retaliating against someone for reporting a crime is itself a crime. “No Soldier may retaliate against a victim, an alleged victim or another member of the Armed Forces based on that individual’s report of a criminal offense,” the new Directive states. See Prohibition of Retaliation Against Soldiers for Reporting a Criminal Offense, Army Directive 2014-20, June 19, 2014. Prohibited forms of retaliation include […]

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Rep. Holt Adds Funds for IC Whistleblower Support

Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) devised an amendment to the 2015 Defense Appropriations bill that would earmark $2 million for investigation of intelligence community whistleblower complaints.  The amendment was approved by the House of Representatives on June 18. The money was taken from the intelligence community management account and allocated to the IC whistleblowing and source protection directorate within the IC Office of the Inspector General. “Currently, this directorate is literally a one-man operation,” Rep. Holt explained on the House […]

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IC Media Policy Should be Revised, Sen. Wyden Says

An Intelligence Community Directive that prohibited unauthorized contacts with the news media is overbroad and needs to be corrected, said Sen. Ron Wyden last week on the Senate floor. “I will tell you, I am troubled by how sweeping in nature this is,” Senator Wyden said about the Directive, ICD 119, issued last March. (See Intelligence Directive Bars Unauthorized Contacts with News Media, Secrecy News, April 21). “The new policy makes it clear that intelligence […]

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Unaccompanied Alien Children, and More from CRS

“The number of unaccompanied alien children arriving in the United States has reached alarming numbers that strain the system put in place over the past decade to handle such cases,” says a new report from the Congressional Research Service. See Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview, June 13, 2014. Other new or newly updated CRS reports that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following. Domestic Federal Law Enforcement Coordination: Through the Lens of […]

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The Fourth Amendment Third-Party Doctrine, & More from CRS

People who voluntarily share information with a third party are not entitled to an expectation of privacy concerning that information under the so-called “third-party doctrine” that currently prevails in judicial interpretations of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. The implications of the third-party doctrine are profound, a new report from the Congressional Research Service explains. It “permits the government access to, as a matter of Fourth Amendment law, a vast amount of information about individuals, […]

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US Army Reflections on the Value of Military History

Far from being a subject of merely antiquarian interest, military history is an essential tool for training of soldiers and for institutional accountability, according to newly updated Army doctrine. But only if it is done right. In Military History Operations (ATP 1-20, June 2014), the Army discusses what military history is for, its development over time, and the proper way to produce it. Some excerpts: “The history of Army operations and activities is not documented […]

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