SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2011, Issue No. 86
September 13, 2011

Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

SOCIAL MEDIA AND DISASTERS, AND MORE FROM CRS

The growing use of social media -- such as Twitter and Facebook -- in responding to emergency situations is examined in a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

"In the last five years social media have played an increasing role in emergencies and disasters," the report notes. "Social media sites rank as the fourth most popular source to access emergency information. They have been used by individuals and communities to warn others of unsafe areas or situations, inform friends and family that someone is safe, and raise funds for disaster relief."

While they have still untapped potential for improving emergency communications, social media can also be used -- inadvertently or maliciously -- to disseminate false or misleading information, the report observes. See "Social Media and Disasters: Current Uses, Future Options, and Policy Considerations," September 6, 2011.

With few exceptions, congressional leaders of both parties are opposed to allowing direct public access to Congressional Research Service reports like this one. Perhaps they wish to foster a healthy public skepticism about the validity of official restrictions on government information, or a heightened appreciation for unauthorized disclosures.

At any rate, some recent CRS reports that are not publicly available from CRS include the following.

"India: Domestic Issues, Strategic Dynamics, and U.S. Relations," September 1, 2011. (This report notes in passing the curious statistic that "some 40% of American hotel rooms are owned by Indian-Americans.")

"Desalination: Technologies, Use, and Congressional Issues," August 15, 2011.

"U.S. Energy: Overview and Key Statistics," July 29, 2011.

"U.S. Renewable Electricity Generation: Resources and Challenges," August 5, 2011.


JOINT CHIEFS ON LEGAL SUPPORT TO MILITARY OPERATIONS

A newly updated doctrinal publication from the Joint Chiefs of Staff describes the infrastructure of legal review and support to all phases of military operations.

"It is DoD policy that members of the DoD components comply with the law of war during all armed conflicts, however such conflicts are characterized, and in all other military operations."

"Legal advisors actively participate in the entire planning process from joint intelligence preparation of the operational environment [...], to mission analysis, to course of action development and recommendation, through execution." See "Legal Support to Military Operations," Joint Publication 1-04, August 17, 2011:


NATIONAL SECURITY LAW: THE TEXTBOOK

The legal and constitutional framework for military operations, intelligence collection and other national security activities is explored in depth in the new edition of "National Security Law," the preeminent casebook on the subject for law students. It presents concise treatments of dozens of topics -- from secrecy to rendition and interrogation -- with case studies and questions for discussion.

See "National Security Law" by Stephen Dycus, Arthur L. Berney, William C. Banks, and Peter Raven-Hansen, Fifth Edition, Aspen Publishers, August 2011:

******************************

Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

The Secrecy News blog is at:
      http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, go to:
     http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/subscribe.html

To UNSUBSCRIBE, go to:
      http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/unsubscribe.html

OR email your request to [email protected]

Secrecy News is archived at:
      http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/index.html

SUPPORT the FAS Project on Government Secrecy with a donation here:
      http://www.fas.org/member/donate_today.html