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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Rumors About Nuclear Weapons in Crimea

The news media and private web sites are full of rumors that Russia has deployed nuclear weapons to Crimea after it invaded the region earlier this year. Many of these rumors are dubious and overly alarmist and ignore that a nuclear-capable weapon is not the same as a nuclear warhead. Several U.S. lawmakers who oppose nuclear arms control use the Crimean deployment to argue against further reductions of nuclear weapons. NATO’s top commander, U.S. General […]

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CRS Resources on Detention and Interrogation

New products from the Congressional Research Service obtained by Secrecy News include the following. Selected CRS Materials on Detention and Interrogation of Terrorist Suspects and Enemy Belligerents, CRS Legal Sidebar, December 16, 2014 The SSCI Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program: Issues to Consider, CRS Insights, December 16, 2014 Big Deal? U.S. Changes Stance on Cruelty Prohibition, CRS Legal Sidebar, December 16, 2014 Special Prosecutors: Investigations and Prosecutions of Police Use of Deadly […]

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Set Priorities for Declassification, Study Urges

Each year millions of pages of government records are declassified that few if any members of the public will ever look at. This is an awkward fact which is not often discussed because it might call into question the whole declassification enterprise. “Statistical Records Relating to Ship Stability, 1918-67,” anyone? A new collection of declassified records on that subject was among those processed for release recently by the National Declassification Center. Like too many other […]

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Cybersecurity Information Sharing, and More from CRS

New products from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following. Legislation to Facilitate Cybersecurity Information Sharing: Economic Analysis, December 11, 2014 FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act: Selected Military Personnel Issues, December 11, 2014 Analysis of H.R. 5781, California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014, December 11, 2014 Addressing the Long-Run Budget Deficit: A Comparison of Approaches, December 9, 2014 Cost-Benefit and Other Analysis Requirements in the Rulemaking […]

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CIA Torture Report: Oversight, But No Remedies Yet

The release of the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation program is, among other things, an epic act of record preservation. Numerous CIA records that might not have been disclosed for decades, or ever, were rescued from oblivion by the Senate report and are now indelibly cited and quoted, even if many of them are not yet released in full. That’s not a small thing, since the history of […]

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The Role of Inspectors General, and More from CRS

Noteworthy new reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following. Federal Inspectors General: History, Characteristics, and Recent Congressional Actions, December 8, 2014 Attorney General Nominations Since the Reagan Administration, CRS Insights, December 4, 2014 Army Active Component (AC)/Reserve Component (RC) Force Mix: Considerations and Options for Congress, December 5, 2014 Nuclear Energy Cooperation with Foreign Countries: Issues for Congress, December 8, 2014 Hospital-Based Emergency Departments: Background […]

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Congress Tells DoD to Report on Leaks, Insider Threats

For the next two years, Congress wants to receive quarterly reports from the Department of Defense on how the Pentagon is responding to leaks of classified information. The reporting requirement was included in the pending National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2015 (Sec. 1052). “Compromises of classified information cause indiscriminate and long-lasting damage to United States national security and often have a direct impact on the safety of warfighters,” the Act states. “In 2010, hundreds […]

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Defense Authorization Act Highlights, and More from CRS

New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following. Fact Sheet: Selected Highlights of H.R. 3979, the Carl Levin and Howard “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for FY2015, December 3, 2014 FY2015 Budget Requests to Counter Ebola and the Islamic State (IS), December 4, 2014 Proposed Train and Equip Authorities for Syria: In Brief, December 3, 2014 U.S. Assistance Programs in China, December […]

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FAS at Vienna Conference on Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons

By Hans M. Kristensen For the next week I’ll be in Vienna for the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. This is the third in a series of conferences organized and attended by a growing number of countries and humanitarian organizations to discuss the unique risks nuclear weapons pose to humanity and life on this planet. According to the Austrian government: “With this conference, Austria wishes to strengthen the global nuclear disarmament and […]

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