FAS Roundup: December 23, 2013

By December 23, 2013

Intel review group urges reduced secrecy, radioactive incidents and more.

From the Blogs

Intel Review Group Urges Reduced Secrecy:  The report of a White House advisory group on intelligence surveillance said that reducing undue secrecy was one of its main objectives. The Review Group specifically recommended that “detailed information” about legal authorities to compel disclosure about communications records be made public and that “general data” concerning orders to disclose telephone records and other business records be routinely disclosed as well. In a more tentative, roundabout way, the report implied that the NSA program to collect telephone metadata in bulk should not have been classified.

Declassification as a Confidence-Building Measure: In order to restore public trust, the U.S. intelligence community ought to be “aggressive” about reducing classification, former intelligence officials said last week. Michael Leiter, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center from 2007 to 2011, said that secrecy is an “enormous problem,” but did not specify what information should cease to be classified or reforms to classification policy.

Counterinsurgency Should Address “Root Causes”:  The latest edition of U.S. joint military doctrine on counterinsurgency states that while working to defeat and contain insurgency, efforts should also be made to “address its root causes.” The latest revision also emphasizes the importance of gaining and retaining “US public support” for counterinsurgency programs.

The Mexican Radiation Accident Part 2: In a new post on the ScienceWonk Blog, Dr. Y takes a look at lessons recognized from past radiation accidents and recommendations for radioactive materials security.

Court Rebukes White House Over “Secret Law”:  On December 17, DC District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle ordered the Obama Administration to release a copy of an unclassified presidential directive, and she said the attempt to withhold it represented an improper exercise of “secret law.” The Obama White House has a “limitless” view of its authority to withhold presidential communications from the public, she wrote, but that view is wrong. The document in question is the Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 6, which provides information on foreign aid and development.

2014 Defense Authorization and More from CRS:  Secrecy News has obtained recently released CRS reports on topics such as the FY14 defense authorization and appropriations, China’s economic rise, nanotechnology  andforeign investments in the United States.

DoD Reports to Congress to be Posted Online:  Reports to Congress from the Department of Defense are to be posted online, according to a provision in the pending FY 2014 defense authorization act. The online publication requirement would not apply to DoD reports that contained classified or proprietary information, or that are otherwise exempt from disclosure under FOIA.

DNI Directive on Supply Chain Risks:  Because the Intelligence Community utilizes commercial products including those that may be manufactured abroad, it could be vulnerable to threat or compromise through its supply chain. DNI released a new directive to the intelligence community on December 7 which discusses supply chain risk management.

Course on Nuclear Nonproliferation

FAS and George Mason University are hosting a three-day short course on nuclear nonproliferation from February 3 to February 5, 2014 at the George Mason Arlington campus. The course is designed to introduce participants to the challenges facing the world that result from the proliferation of nuclear technologies, and the scope of nuclear capabilities and arsenals in the world today.

Early bird registration is $1100 and will last until January 10, 2014.

Click here for more information on course registration, instructors and course topics.

FAS in the News

Dec 20: Mother Jones“You’ll Never Guess Where This FBI Agent Left A Secret Interrogation Manual”

Dec 19: The Sacramento Bee“Bioterrorism Concerns Keep Genetic Code For New Strain Of Botulism Under Wraps”

Dec 19: Reuters“Chinese Army’s Secret Of Success? European Engineering”

Dec 17: Washington Free Bacon“Iran Reveals New Details Of Shoulder-Fired Missiles”

Dec 17: Washington Examiner“Stakes Rise For Obama’s NSA Review”

Dec 16: Federal Times“NRO Aligns Network Operations With Shared IT Strategy”

Dec 15: Voice of Russia“‘Russian Megatons To Megawatts’ Now Costlier For The US”

Categories: FAS Roundup