FAS Roundup: March 30, 2015

From the Blogs 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, and provides an eyewitness account of several crucial episodes in the development of the hydrogen bomb. Growing Data Collection Inspires Openness […]

Read More

U.S. Hits the Debt Limit, and More from CRS

The U.S. Government reached the statutory debt limit today, exhausting its normal ability to borrow money. In order to meet the government’s financial obligations, the Secretary of the Treasury must now take certain extraordinary measures. A newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service provides background on federal debt policy and explains the current state of affairs.  See The Debt Limit Since 2011, March 9, 2015. Other new or newly updated CRS reports that Congress […]

Read More

Another State Secrets Case Ends in Dismissal

Last week, a federal court dismissed a lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency after the government asserted the state secrets privilege and argued that the case could not be litigated without jeopardizing national security. Former CIA officer Jacob E. Abilt (a pseudonym) had charged the Agency with employment discrimination, improper retaliation and wrongful termination. In December, CIA Director John Brennan invoked the state secrets privilege to block the lawsuit. “The facts of Mr. Abilt’s employment […]

Read More

FAS Roundup: February 2, 2015

Big Data: Stealth Control Everyone who uses the Internet is implicated in a web of data collection; it relies on user data to produced tailored advertising revenue to support growth and free use. This digital profiling produces “the black box society,” in which basic societal functions are performed in deliberate obscurity via collection and algorithmic manipulation of personal data such as location, age and political affiliation. In a new study, law professor Frank Pasquale examines how […]

Read More

The Nuclear Weapons “Procurement Holiday”

By Hans M. Kristensen It has become popular among military and congressional leaders to argue that the United States has had a “procurement holiday” in nuclear force planning for the past two decades. “Over the past 20-25 years, we took a procurement holiday” in modernizing U.S. nuclear forces, Major General Garrett Harencak, the Air Force’s assistant chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, said in a speech yesterday. Harencak’s claim strongly resembles the […]

Read More

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, […]

Read More

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, […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More