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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FAS Roundup: December 8, 2014

From the Blogs Invention Secrecy Orders Reach a 20 Year High: Under the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951, secrecy orders may be imposed whenever, in the judgment of an executive branch agency, the disclosure of a patent application would be “detrimental to the national security.” At the end of FY14, there were 5, 520 invention secrecy orders in effect, the highest number since 1994. But, it is unclear whether this reflects growing innovation in sensitive technology areas, […]

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Iran: Interim Nuclear Agreement, and More from CRS

New products from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following. Iran: Interim Nuclear Agreement and Talks on a Comprehensive Accord, November 26, 2014 U.S. International Corporate Taxation: Basic Concepts and Policy Issues, December 2, 2014 Taxation of Internet Sales and Access: Legal Issues, December 1, 2014 The Corporate Income Tax System: Overview and Options for Reform, December 1, 2014 How OFAC Calculates Penalties for Violations of Economic […]

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US Military Casualty Statistics, and More from CRS

Noteworthy new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following. A Guide to U.S. Military Casualty Statistics: Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation New Dawn, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom, November 20, 2014 Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions, November 21, 2014 U.S. Secret Service Protection Mission Funding and Staffing: Fact Sheet, November 25, 2014 The Obama Administration’s November 2014 […]

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FAS Roundup: November 24, 2014

How to Monitor Iran’s Nuclear Agreement  Today is the deadline to reach an agreement with Iran regarding their nuclear program. If a deal is reached, how can the program be peacefully monitored and what sort of inspections will be needed to verify that Iran is complying with the agreement? In an interview with Robert McMahon of the Council on Foreign Relations, Chris Bidwell, Senior Fellow for Nonproliferation Law and Policy and co-chair of FAS’s Nuclear […]

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Some State Secrets Cases Are a Secret, Govt Says

The government has occasionally invoked the state secrets privilege in a legal proceeding without ever publicly revealing that it had done so, government attorneys disclosed in a pending state secrets case this week. Last September, observers were surprised when the government intervened and asserted the state secrets privilege in a private defamation lawsuit brought by Greek businessman Victor Restis against the anti-Iran advocacy organization United Against Nuclear Iran. (“Private Lawsuit Jeopardizes State Secrets, US Says,” […]

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Energy Policy and National Security: The Need for a Nonpartisan Plan

As I write this president’s message, the U.S. election has just resulted in a resounding victory for the Republican Party, which will have control of both the Senate and House of Representatives when the new Congress convenes in January. While some may despair that these results portend an even more divided federal government with a Democratic president and a Republican Congress, I choose to view this event as an opportunity in disguise in regards to the important and urgent issue of U.S. energy policy. President Barack Obama has staked a major part of his presidential legacy on combating climate change. He has felt stymied by the inability to convince Congress to pass comprehensive legislation to mandate substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, his administration has leveraged the power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to craft rules that will, in effect, force the closure of many of the biggest […]

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A Looming Crisis of Confidence in Japan’s Nuclear Intentions

Nearly two years into Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s second stint at governing Japan, his tenure has been characterized by three primary themes. The first two themes include his major legislative priorities: enabling Japan’s economic revival and bringing Japan closer to the status of a “normal” country that takes on a greater share of its own security needs. Both of these priorities are largely celebrated in the United States, which longs to see Japan become a more able and active partner in the region.  A third theme has not been well received in Washington: the prime minister’s apparent efforts to whitewash Japan’s wartime past.  Through personal expressions of admiration for convicted war-criminals, an official reinvestigation of past apologies for war-time atrocities, and appointments of hardline nationalists to prominent posts (such as the NHK board of governors), the prime minister’s actions have raised the spectre among wary neighbors of a Japanese return […]

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The CTBT: At the Intersection of Science and Politics

Recent high-level meetings in Washington, D.C., the United Nations, California and Utah about the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) might lead one to believe that finally action might be taken towards ratification of the treaty. At the meeting in New York, foreign ministers and senior officials from 90 countries met on September 29 to acclaim the treaty and its value—both scientific and political. “This treaty isn’t just a feel-good exercise. It’s in all of our national security interests, and it’s verifiable,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. “In fact, its verification regime is one of the great accomplishments of the modern world.” 1)U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, “Remarks At The Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Ministerial,” United Nations, Sept. 26, 2014, http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/09/232219.htm In Washington, key U.S. officials—Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, NNSA Director Frank Klotz, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller, Assistant Secretary […]

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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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