Steven Aftergood

Recent Activity from Steven Aftergood

CRS Previews Public Release of its Reports

The Congressional Research Service said this week that it will begin publishing some of its non-confidential reports on a publicly accessible congressional website by September 18, as required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act that was signed into law last March 23. “For the initial public release, the Library will make available in PDF format all of CRS’s […]

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Superiority in Cyberspace Will Remain Elusive

Military planners should not anticipate that the United States will ever dominate cyberspace, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a new doctrinal publication. The kind of supremacy that might be achievable in other domains is not a realistic option in cyber operations. “Permanent global cyberspace superiority is not possible due to the complexity of […]

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Secrecy About Secrecy: The State Secrets Privilege

The Justice Department has not reported to Congress on the government’s use of the state secrets privilege since 2011, the Department acknowledged this week, contrary to a policy promising regular reporting on the subject. In a 2009 statement of policy and procedures concerning the state secrets privilege, then-Attorney General Eric Holder said that “The Department […]

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Laws on Aliens at the Border, and More from CRS

“The situation at the border and U.S. immigration authorities’ response to it has prompted significant attention and, in some cases, confusion regarding the governing laws and policies,” the Congressional Research Service said with some understatement in a new brief. The CRS document reviews the laws on admission and exclusion of aliens at the U.S. border, […]

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DHS Moves to Protect US Against Threats from Canada

With exquisitely strange timing, the Department of Homeland Security today unveiled a “Northern Border Strategy” to protect the United States against threats originating in Canada. The new Trump Administration strategy acknowledges that “the Northern Border remains an area of limited threat in comparison to the U.S. Southern Border.” “However,” it goes on to say, “the […]

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The Opioid Epidemic, and More from CRS

The annual number of drug overdose deaths in the United States involving opioids has more than quadrupled since 1999, a new report from the Congressional Research Service notes. “CDC estimates that in 2016, more than 63,000 people died from a drug overdose, and more than 42,000 of these deaths involved prescription or illicit opioids.” See […]

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National Declassification Center Seeks Director

The National Declassification Center at the National Archives is looking for a director to help implement its declassification agenda. The National Declassification Center was established by President Obama’s 2009 executive order 13526 “to streamline declassification processes,” and it has had some success in bringing order to an often arbitrary declassification environment. One of the Center’s […]

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Reading DoD Reports to Congress

The U.S. Department of Defense spent $11.3 billion on purchases abroad in 2015, including $1.6 billion worth of goods or services from the United Arab Emirates, according to a newly released DoD report to Congress. The majority of foreign purchases by DoD were for fuel, services, construction and subsistence. The DoD report breaks down the total […]

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Iran Asks US Supreme Court to Help Protect Its Assets

Iran’s central bank has filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn a lower court ruling that would have transferred Iranian funds to the U.S. and made them potentially available for awards to victims of terrorism. At issue is the legal interpretation of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. A new brief from the Congressional […]

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Withdrawal from Iran Nuclear Deal: A Legal Analysis

The US is no longer complying with the Iran nuclear deal and is poised to re-impose some previously lifted sanctions on Iran and its trading partners. But the legal basis for that action is a bit murky and contested. A new analysis from the Congressional Research Service tries to make legal sense of what has […]

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