Steven Aftergood

Recent Activity from Steven Aftergood

Use of US Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2019

There are only nineteen years since 1798 when the U.S. did not have armed forces engaged in military operations abroad, according to an updated tally from the Congressional Research Service. See Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2019, updated July 17, 2019. The most recent year in which U.S. military forces were […]

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CIA Can Selectively Disclose Information, Court Affirms

The Central Intelligence Agency can disclose restricted information to reporters without waiving its right to withhold the same information from other members of the public, a federal appeals court ruled last week. The appeals court affirmed a 2018 decision in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by reporter Adam Johnson against the CIA. He had requested copies […]

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PCLOB Releases Its Oversight Agenda

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is conducting oversight in nearly a dozen areas broadly related to intelligence and counterterrorism. The PCLOB oversight agenda was detailed in a statement this week. “This document describes the Board’s active oversight projects and other engagements. . . .The shorthand descriptions below are intended to provide public transparency, consistent with the protection […]

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CIA Seeks Expanded Definition of “Covert Agents”

At the request of the Central Intelligence Agency, the pending intelligence authorization bill includes a provision that would expand the definition of “covert agents” whose identities are protected from unauthorized disclosure. The identities of intelligence officers who are serving abroad or who have done so within the past 5 years are already protected by current […]

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DoD Doctrine on Nuclear Operations Published, Taken Offline

The Joint Chiefs of Staff briefly published and then removed from public access a new edition of their official doctrine on the use of nuclear weapons. But a public copy was preserved. See Joint Publication 3-72, Nuclear Operations, June 11, 2019. The document presents an unclassified, mostly familiar overview of nuclear strategy, force structure, planning, targeting, command […]

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Battle Lines Drawn Over Naval Reactor Fuel

Decisions that are made in the near future will determine whether or not the US Navy will be able — decades from now — to reduce or eliminate the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in nuclear reactors aboard US aircraft carriers and submarines. Since HEU can be used in nuclear explosives, reducing the production, […]

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The Impeachment Process, and More from CRS

Noteworthy new publications from the Congressional Research Service include the following. The Impeachment Process in the House of Representatives, June 14, 2019 National Security Implications of Fifth Generation (5G) Mobile Technologies, CRS In Focus, June 12, 2019 U.S. Overseas Diplomatic Presence: Background and Issues for Congress, June 6, 2019 Maintaining Electric Reliability with Wind and […]

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Administrative Subpoenas for Leak Investigations?

The possibility of using subpoenas to compel testimony from reporters or others in leak investigations outside of a criminal prosecution is being floated by the Intelligence Community Inspector General. But such authority would have to be granted legislatively, and so far there is no sign that Congress is considering doing so. The government’s interest in […]

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National Security Space Budget Request, and More from CRS

Noteworthy new reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following. FY2020 National Security Space Budget Request: An Overview, CRS In Focus, June 7, 2019 U.S. Military Electronic Warfare Program Funding: Background and Issues for Congress, June 6, 2019 The International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and Tariffs: Historical Background and Key Issues, CRS Insight, […]

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Trump Demotes DNI to Empower AG Barr

President Trump issued a memorandum last week that transfers to the Attorney General the authority of the Director of National Intelligence to declassify intelligence information concerning the 2016 election. The memorandum effectively amends Executive Order 13526 on classification on national security information, but in a highly customized way: It applies only to Attorney General William […]

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