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 Sidebar, October 16, 2014

Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges, October 15, 2014

EPA’s Upcoming Ozone Standard: How Much Will Compliance Cost?, CRS Insights, October 15, 2014

Eleventh Circuit Provides Guidance for the Definition of “Foreign Official” under the FCPA, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 15, 2014

Nuclear Energy Policy, October 15, 2014

Turkey-U.S. Cooperation Against the “Islamic State”: A Unique Dynamic?, CRS Insights, October 15, 2014

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 targets of U.S. military operations under the 2001 AUMF.

Which groups are which? That is classified.

“A Pentagon spokesperson in mid-2013 stated that a list identifying which groups the Administration viewed as associated forces should remain classified, arguing that its release would damage national security by bolstering the groups’ credibility,” a new report from the Congressional Research Service noted.

Some officials say that even the more expansive category of “affiliated” groups has become too confining. “A broader category is that of ‘like-minded groups’ that may or may not be operationally linked with Al Qaeda, but potentially share at least some of its traits,” CRS said.

The CRS report profiles many of the Al Qaeda-affiliated organizations based on open sources, including reports from the CIA Open Source Center that are not publicly available. See Al Qaeda-Affiliated Groups: Middle East and Africa, October 10, 2014.

Other noteworthy new CRS products include the following.

(No) Papers, Please: No Passports for U.S. “Foreign Fighters”, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 10, 2014

Federal and State Quarantine and Isolation Authority, updated October 9, 2014

Ebola Outbreak: Select Legal Issues, and More from CRS

New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

The Ebola Outbreak: Select Legal Issues, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 6, 2014

Ebola: Basics About the Disease, October 3, 2014

As Midterm Election Approaches, State Election Laws Challenged, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 7, 2014

Child Welfare: Profiles of Current and Former Older Foster Youth Based on the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD), October 6, 2014

Agriculture in the WTO Bali Ministerial Agreement, October 6, 2014

Ozone Air Quality Standards: EPA’s 2015 Revision, October 3, 2014

Beverage Industry Pledges to Reduce Americans’ Drink Calories, CRS Insights, October 6, 2014

Palestinian Authority: U.S. Payments to Creditors as Alternative to Direct Budgetary Assistance?, CRS Insights, October 6, 2014


Inspectors General with Guns, and More from CRS

Offices of Inspector General (OIGs) are generally known for performing investigations of executive branch agencies in order to combat waste, fraud and abuse. But many IGs also have a law enforcement function, and many of their employees are armed.

The most recent data available (from 2008) indicate that 33 Offices of Inspector General had a total of 3,501 agents who were authorized to carry firearms, according to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service. Intelligence community IGs do not appear to be among them.

Why does the US Department of Agriculture IG, for example, need staff with guns?

Agriculture IG employees regularly conduct undercover operations, according to information that USDA provided to CRS. “The types of investigations conducted by OIG special agents include criminal activities such as fraud in farm programs; significant thefts of Government property or funds; bribery and extortion; smuggling; and assaults and threats of violence against USDA employees engaged in their official duties.” See Offices of Inspector General and Law Enforcement Authority: In Brief, September 8, 2014.

Other new and updated CRS reports that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty: Background and Current Developments, updated September 29, 2014

Increased Department of Defense Role in U.S. Ebola Response, CRS Insights, October 1, 2014

Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Progress and Continuing Challenges, CRS Insights, October 1, 2014

Israel’s Iron Dome Anti-Rocket System: U.S. Assistance and Coproduction, CRS Insights, September 30, 2014

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses, updated October 1, 2014

India-U.S. Economic Relations: In Brief, September 26, 2014

Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations, updated October 2, 2014

Temporary Professional, Managerial, and Skilled Foreign Workers: Legislation in the 113th Congress, September 30, 2014

Reauthorizing the Office of National Drug Control Policy: Issues for Consideration, updated September 30, 2014

Dark Pools in Equity Trading: Policy Concerns and Recent Developments, September 26, 2014

Hydraulic Fracturing: Selected Legal Issues, updated September 26, 2014

Legislative Research for Congressional Staff: How to Find Documents and Other Resources, updated September 25, 2014


Use of US Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2014, and More from CRS

Noteworthy new products of the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2014, September 15, 2014

American Foreign Fighters and the Islamic State: Broad Challenges for Federal Law Enforcement, CRS Insights, September 19, 2014

Man without a Country? Expatriation of U.S. Citizen “Foreign Fighters”, Legal Sidebar, September 15, 2014

Proposed Train and Equip Authorities for Syria: In Brief, September 16, 2014

Climate Summit 2014: Warm-Up for 2015, CRS Insights, September 22, 2014

Lame Duck Sessions of Congress, 1935-2012 (74th-112th Congresses), September 19, 2014

Poverty: Major Themes in Past Debates and Current Proposals, September 18, 2014

The U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA): Provisions and Implications, September 16, 2014

Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive, September 22, 2014

Russia’s Compliance with the INF Treaty, CRS Insights, September 18, 2014

The No Fly List: Procedural Due Process and Hurdles to Litigation, September 18, 2014

Iraqi and Afghan Immigrant Visa Programs, and More from CRS

New products from the Congressional Research Service that have been withheld from online public distribution include the following.

Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs, September 12, 2014

The Federal Trade Commission’s Regulation of Data Security Under Its Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices (UDAP) Authority, September 11, 2014

Diplomatic and Embassy Security Funding Before and After the Benghazi Attacks, September 10, 2014

Military Action Against the Islamic State, and More from CRS

A new report from the Congressional Research Service considers the legal underpinning of U.S. military action against the so-called Islamic State, including the sources and limits of presidential authority, and the relevance of past Authorizations for Use of Military Force. See U.S. Military Action Against the Islamic State: Answers to Frequently Asked Legal Questions, September 9, 2014.

See also Considerations for Possible Authorization for Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State, CRS Insights, September 9, 2014, and The “Islamic State” Crisis and U.S. Policy, September 10, 2014.

Other new or newly updated CRS products include the following.

Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings, updated September 9, 2014

U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: Recent Trends and FY2015 Appropriations, September 10, 2014

Export-Import Bank Reauthorization: Frequently Asked Questions, updated September 10, 2014

DOJ & Bank of America Enter Biggest Civil Settlement in U.S. History, CRS Legal Sidebar, September 10, 2014

Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment, updated September 8, 2014

The Constitution’s Take Care Clause, and More from CRS

The so-called Take Care Clause in the U.S. Constitution (requiring that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed….”) “would appear to stand for two, at times diametrically opposed propositions–one imposing a ‘duty’ upon the President and the other viewing the Clause as a source of Presidential ‘power’,” according to a new study from the Congressional Research Service. See The Take Care Clause and Executive Discretion in the Enforcement of Law, September 4, 2014.

Other recent CRS products obtained by Secrecy News include the following.

The Doctrine of Constitutional Avoidance: A Legal Overview, September 2, 2014

Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response, updated September 8, 2014

Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy, updated September 8, 2014

Asylum and Gang Violence: Legal Overview, September 5, 2014

Defense Surplus Equipment Disposal, Including the Law Enforcement 1033 Program, updated September 5, 2014

Aviation War Risk Insurance: Background and Options for Congress, September 5, 2014

Medal of Honor: History and Issues, updated September 5, 2014

Protection of Trade Secrets: Overview of Current Law and Legislation, September 5, 2014

China’s Leaders Quash Hong Kong’s Hopes for Democratic Election Reforms, CRS Insights, September 5, 2014

Political Unrest in Pakistan, and More from CRS

As Congress plumbs new depths of futility and irrelevance, analysts at the Congressional Research Service continue to churn out policy-relevant studies that are informative and free of partisan embellishment. How long can it be until they are punished?

The latest CRS products that Congress has withheld from online public access include the following.

Pakistan Political Unrest: In Brief, September 3, 2014

The “1033 Program,” Department of Defense Support to Law Enforcement, August 28, 2014

Special Immigrant Juveniles: In Brief, August 29, 2014

Unaccompanied Children from Central America: Foreign Policy Considerations, August 28, 2014

The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq: A Possible Threat to Jordan?, CRS Insights, August 28, 2014

The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), August 27, 2014

U.S. Textile Manufacturing and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations, August 28, 2014

A Primer on the Reviewability of Agency Delay and Enforcement Discretion, September 4, 2014

Congressional Participation in Article III Courts: Standing to Sue, September 4, 2014

The Elder Justice Act: Background and Issues for Congress, September 3, 2014

Common Core State Standards and Assessments: Background and Issues, September 2, 2014

Designating Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFIs), CRS Insights, August 28, 2014

Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?, August 28, 2014

The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP): Issues in Brief, August 27, 2014

“Dark Pools” In Equity Trading: Significance and Recent Developments, CRS Insights, August 27, 2014

Can Body Worn Cameras Serve as a Deterrent to Police Misconduct?, CRS Insights, August 28, 2014

The 2014 Ebola Outbreak, and More from CRS

The current outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa has infected and killed more people than all previous outbreaks combined.

A new report from the Congressional Research Service provides detailed background on the spread of the disease, the weaknesses of the health care infrastructure in the affected countries, and related policy issues for congressional consideration. See The 2014 Ebola Outbreak: International and U.S. Responses, August 26, 2014.

Next week, NATO leaders will hold their first meeting since Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine. A new CRS report offers a preview of the meeting’s anticipated agenda and objectives. See NATO’s Wales Summit: Expected Outcomes and Key Challenges, August 26, 2014.

Some other CRS products that have been recently updated include the following.

Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues, August 26, 2014

Membership of the 113th Congress: A Profile, August 26, 2014

Bills of Attainder: The Constitutional Implications of Congress Legislating Narrowly, August 26, 2014

Time out: Secrecy News will be back the week of September 8.