Court Denies Motion to Dismiss State Secrets Case

Updated/corrected below A federal court yesterday denied a government motion to dismiss a pending lawsuit that the Obama Administration said involved state secrets. It appears to be the first time that such a motion for dismissal has ever been rejected in a state secrets case. [Update: Not so. There was a previous instance; see below.] The lawsuit, Gulet Mohamed v. Eric H. Holder, concerns the constitutionality of the “no fly” list. The government filed its […]

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DoD Leaks Now Termed “Serious Security Incidents”

Unauthorized disclosures of classified information, leaks to the news media, acts of espionage, and certain other information security offenses are now to be collectively designated as “serious security incidents,” according to a Department of Defense directive that was published this week. The new terminology was adopted in order to standardize procedures for preventing, identifying, investigating and reporting such violations when they occur. See “Management of Serious Security Incidents Involving Classified Information,” DoD Directive 5210.50, October […]

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State Secrets Claim Challenged in Defamation Lawsuit

The U.S. Government overreached by intervening in a private defamation lawsuit to assert the state secrets privilege without providing a public explanation or even identifying which agency was asserting the privilege, the plaintiff in that lawsuit yesterday. That argument was bolstered by an amicus brief from civil liberties organizations concerning the proper use of the privilege and the alternatives to dismissal of the case. The issue arose after Greek businessman Victor Restis filed the lawsuit […]

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Defense Intelligence Mission Expands

On October 24, the Pentagon issued an updated version of DoD Directive 5143.01 defining the role of the Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence), the Department’s principal intelligence advisor and manager of military intelligence programs. The new directive is about 30% longer than the 2005 version that it replaces. The differences between the two directives reflect changes in the global environment as well as in the intelligence mission, and in the role of the USD(I) in particular. Cybersecurity. Insider threats. Unauthorized disclosures […]

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Can the President Bar Travelers from Ebola-Stricken Countries?, and More from CRS

New and updated products from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following. Can the President Bar Foreign Travelers from Ebola-Stricken Countries from Entering the United States?, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 23, 2014 The Appointment Process for U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations: An Overview, October 22, 2014 No Second Amendment Cases for the Supreme Court’s 2014-2015 Term…Yet, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 23, 2014 JPMorgan Data Breach Involves […]

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Offensive Cyber Operations in US Military Doctrine

A newly disclosed Department of Defense doctrinal publication acknowledges the reality of offensive cyberspace operations, and provides a military perspective on their utility and their hazards. Attacks in cyberspace can be used “to degrade, disrupt, or destroy access to, operation of, or availability of a target by a specified level for a specified time.” Or they can be used “to control or change the adversary’s information, information systems, and/or networks in a manner that supports […]

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New Authorization for Use of Military Force?, and More from CRS

New publications from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public disclosure include the following. A New Authorization for Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State: Comparison of Current Proposals in Brief, October 21, 2014 U.S. Citizens Kidnapped by the Islamic State, CRS Insights, October 17, 2014 Smartphone Data Encryption: A Renewed Boundary for Law Enforcement?, CRS Insights, October 17, 2014

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Govt Rebuts Criticism of State Secrets Privilege

Last week government attorneys submitted 28 documents concerning “watchlisting” procedures to a federal court for in camera review that they said should be protected from disclosure under the state secrets privilege.  The documents had been sought by the plaintiff in Gulet Mohamed v. Eric Holder, a case challenging the constitutionality of the “no fly” list. The government had previously argued that it was “not appropriate” for a court to perform its own review of such […]

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Cybercrime: An Overview of Federal Law, and More from CRS

New and updated publications from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following. Cybercrime: An Overview of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute and Related Federal Criminal Laws, October 15, 2014 Insurance and Climate Change: Do Governments Have a Duty to Protect Property Owners?, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 16, 2014 Home Is Where They Have To Take You In: Right to Entry For U.S. Citizens, CRS Legal […]

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Al Qaeda-Affiliated Groups, and More from CRS

The executive branch interprets the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force to permit military action against terrorist groups that are “associated” with Al Qaeda. Such associated forces are considered co-belligerents with Al Qaeda and the Taliban and are therefore legal targets of U.S. military force. But some groups or individuals may be “affiliated” with Al Qaeda ideologically or otherwise without being “associated” with it operationally. Those affiliated (but non-associated) groups would not be authorized […]

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