FRUS on Investigating Intelligence in the 1970s

“There is too much disclosure,” complained George H. W. Bush, then-Director of Central Intelligence, in a 1976 memo to President Gerald Ford. “We are continually pressed by Congress, by the courts, by the Freedom of Information Act, to give up sensitive material,” DCI Bush added. “We are trying to hold the line but there is a continuous erosion which gives away classified information at home and complicates our liaison relationships abroad. I am frustrated by […]

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Two New Judges Appointed to FISA Court

The Chief Justice of the United States has named two new judges to the eleven-member Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the Court announced last week. Chief Justice Roberts designated Judge James P. Jones of the Western District of Virginia and Judge Thomas B. Russell of the Western District of Kentucky to serve on the FISC beginning May 19, 2015. Judge Jones and Judge Russell were both nominated to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton. […]

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DHS Seeks Increase in Domestic HUMINT Collection

The Department of Homeland Security aims to increase its domestic human intelligence collection activity this year, the Department recently told Congress. In a question for the record from a September 2014 congressional hearing, Rep. Paul C. Broun (R-GA) asked:  “Do we currently have enough human intelligence capacity–both here in the homeland and overseas–to counter the threats posed by state and non-state actors alike?” The Department replied, in a response published in the full hearing volume […]

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Cultural Understanding in U.S. Army Doctrine

“Understanding culture is essential in conducting irregular warfare.” That is the opening sentence in the introduction to a new U.S. Army publication on Cultural and Situational Understanding. “Irregular warfare requires a deliberate application of an understanding of culture due to the need to understand a populated operational environment, what specifically is causing instability, the nature of the threat, and the ability to work with host-nation governments and security forces.” The new Army doctrine on cultural […]

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Domestic Drones & Privacy, and More from CRS

The anticipated deployment of thousands of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) — or drones — in American skies raises unresolved privacy concerns that have barely begun to be addressed, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service. The CRS report provides “a primer on privacy issues related to various UAS operations, both public and private, including an overview of current UAS uses, the privacy interests implicated by these operations, and various potential approaches to […]

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DoD Cut Security Clearances by 15% in Last Two Years

In a significant retrenchment of the national security bureaucracy, the Department of Defense has reduced the number of employees and contractors who hold security clearances in the past two years by more than 700,000 persons, a cut of 15% in the total security-cleared population in DoD. The previously undisclosed reductions were reported in data provided by DoD to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. This is the first documented drop in the overall […]

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H-Bomb History Published Over Government Objections

Physicist Kenneth W. Ford, who participated in the design of the hydrogen bomb in the early 1950s, has published a memoir of his experiences despite the objections of Energy Department reviewers who requested substantial redactions in the text. “Building the H Bomb: A Personal History” was released this month in softcopy by World Scientific Publishing Company. Hardcopy editions are to appear in May. The dispute between the author and the government over the book’s publication was […]

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Growing Data Collection Inspires Openness at NGA

A flood of information from the ongoing proliferation of space-based sensors and ground-based data collection devices is promoting a new era of transparency in at least one corner of the U.S. intelligence community. The “explosion” of geospatial information “makes geospatial intelligence increasingly transparent because of the huge number and diversity of commercial and open sources of information,” said Robert Cardillo, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), in a speech last month. Hundreds of small […]

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Cybersecurity Information Sharing: A Legal Morass, Says CRS

Several pending bills would promote increased sharing of cybersecurity-related information — such as threat intelligence and system vulnerabilities — in order to combat the perceived rise in the frequency and intensity of cyber attacks against private and government entities. But such information sharing is easier said than done, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service, because it involves a thicket of conflicting and perhaps incompatible laws and policy objectives. “The legal issues […]

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Petraeus Deal Cited in Sterling Leak Defense

Attorneys for former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who was found guilty on nine felony counts involving unauthorized disclosure of classified information, argued yesterday that the Sterling verdict should be set aside in view of the misdemeanor plea agreement that was recently offered to former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus for mishandling classified information. Sterling’s attorneys suggested that the disparate treatment of the two cases was attributable to improper considerations of rank and race. They noted […]

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