FAS Roundup: June 18, 2012

By June 18, 2012

Potential drone sites, leaks of classified information, new CRS reports and much more.

From the Blogs

  • Not All Leaks of Classified Information Violate the Law: A resolution introduced by Sen. John McCain and twenty Republican colleagues calling for appointment of a special counsel to investigate recent leaks stated flatly that “the unauthorized disclosure of classified information is a felony under Federal law.” Steven Aftergood writes that while some unauthorized disclosures of classified information are indeed contrary to law, it is not the case that all such disclosures violate the law.  In fact, there is no law that categorically prohibits the release of classified information.
  • Pentagon Lists 110 Potential Drone Sites: The Department of Defense has identified 110 sites in the U.S. that could serve as bases for military unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones. The actual or potential drone bases are located in 39 of the 50 states, from Fort McClellan in Alabama to Camp Guernsey in Wyoming, as well as Guam and Puerto Rico.
  • Nuclear Explosives: In the 1950s and 1970s there was a big push to find a way to use nuclear explosives peacefully-in high explosives in road construction, mining, and even some aspects of industry. In a new post on the ScienceWonk Blog, Dr. Y examines the history of nuclear explosive use for industry.

  • Some Unauthorized Disclosures of Classified Info are Routine: The brewing controversy over leaks of classified information presumes that disclosures of classified information to unauthorized persons are always impermissible and undesirable.  But that presumption does not correspond precisely to the reality of government operations as they are conducted in practice.
  • Loophole in Law May Allow Warrantless Surveillance of Americans: Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are divided over whether there is a loophole in current law which would permit government agencies to monitor the communications of American citizens without any kind of warrant or other judicial authorization. The dispute was presented but not resolved in a new Senate Intelligence Committee report on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act (FAA) Sunsets Extension Act, which would renew the provisions of the FISA Amendments Act through June 2017.


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