A New Intelligence Award for “Reporting Wrongdoing”

Organizations give out awards not only in order to recognize individual excellence, but also to advance and reinforce values prized by their sponsors. So it is both telling and somewhat unexpected that the U.S. intelligence community is creating a new award for certain kinds of dissidents and whistleblowers. “The intelligence community has […] committed to […]

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Increasing Nuclear Bomber Operations

By Hans M. Kristensen NBC’s 60 Minutes program Risk of Nuclear Attack Rises described that Russia may be lowering the threshold for when it would use nuclear weapons, and showed how U.S. nuclear bombers have started flying missions they haven’t flown since the Cold War: Over the North Pole and deep into Northern Europe to send a warning to […]

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When the President Pardoned a Leaker

In recent discussions of whether President Obama should pardon Edward Snowden, it has gone unnoticed that a presidential pardon was once granted to a person who committed an unauthorized disclosure of classified information to the press, effectively erasing his crime. In 1985, Samuel L. Morison, a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, was convicted under the Espionage […]

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Sorting Through the Snowden Aftermath

Public discussion of the Edward Snowden case has mostly been a dialog of the deaf, with defenders and critics largely talking past each other at increasing volume. But the disagreements became sharper and more interesting over the past week. “Mr. Snowden is not a patriot. He is not a whistleblower. He is a criminal,” wrote […]

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Secrecy Reduced at Justice Dept, Audit Finds

The Department of Justice has streamlined its national security classification activities over the last several years, resulting in the production of a diminishing number of secrets, according to a new report from the Department’s Inspector General. Specifically, the IG found: *     the Department reduced the number of Original Classification Authorities (i.e. officials who are authorized […]

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FAS Website Blocked by US Cyber Command, Then Unblocked

For at least the past six months, and perhaps longer, the Federation of American Scientists website has been blocked by U.S. Cyber Command. This week it was unblocked. The “block” imposed by Cyber Command meant that employees throughout the Department of Defense who attempted to access the FAS website on their government computers were unable […]

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On Covert Action in Angola in the Carter Years

U.S. covert action in Angola during the Carter Administration is among the topics documented in a new volume of the official Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series that was released yesterday. See Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977–1980, Volume XVI, Southern Africa. The CIA had secretly intervened in Angola in 1975, during […]

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How Big Should the Army Be?

In its version of the pending defense authorization bill, the House of Representatives said that the U.S. Army should consist of 480,000 soldiers at the end of FY2017. That would be an increase of 5,000 over the current year level of 475,000. But the Senate said that 460,000 soldiers would be sufficient, a decrease of […]

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Autonomous Military Technology at a “Tipping Point”

Autonomous military technologies that are capable of independently selecting a course of action to achieve a goal are maturing rapidly, the Defense Science Board said in a newly published study. “Autonomy, fueled by advances in artificial intelligence, has attained a ‘tipping point’ in value,” the DSB study said. “Autonomy will deliver substantial operational value–in multiple […]

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