FAS Roundup: September 22, 2014

By September 22, 2014

From the Blogs

Energy Dept to Review Classification Standards for Clarity: The Department of Energy will review its classification standards to improve clarity and eliminate ambiguities, the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration told FAS in a letter of response to the case of James Doyle. Doyle is a political scientist who worked at Los Alamos and published an article on nuclear weapons policy that was initially cleared for publication, but then was said to contain classified information. Doyle’s employment at Los Alamos was later terminated.

Private Lawsuit Jeopardizes State Secrets, US Says: Greek businessman Victor Restis filed a lawsuit last year against the private advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), alleging that the group had falsely and maliciously accused Restis of engaging in illicit commerce with Iran. Last week, an unidentified agency within the U.S. government asserted the state secrets privilege in the case, for reasons that were not disclosed, and asked the court to dismiss the entire proceeding. On September 17, the plaintiff’s attorney told the Court that the government acted improperly and misused the state secrets privilege. 

PDD 62: Counterterrorism Policy Prior to 9/11: A newly declassified White House Presidential Policy Directive takes a look at counterterrorism policy prior to 9/11. Presidential Policy Directive 62, Protection Against Unconventional Threats to the Homeland and Americans Overseas was issued by President Bill Clinton in May 1998.

CIA Posts Hundreds of Declassified Journal Articles: The Central Intelligence Agency has posted hundreds of declassified and unclassified articles from its in-house journal Studies in Intelligence, in an effort to settle a lawsuit brought by a former employee, Jeffrey Scudder. Until lately, the CIA had resisted release of the requested articles in softcopy format.

Iraqi and Afghan Immigrant Visa Programs and More from CRS:  Secrecy News has obtained recently released CRS reports on topics such as diplomatic and embassy security funding before and after the Benghazi attacks and Iraqi and Afghan special immigrant visa programs.

Court Requires Review of State Secrets Documents: Over the objections of government attorneys, a federal judge said yesterday that he would require in camera review of documents that the government says are protected by the state secrets privilege. The issue arose in the case of Gulet Mohamed v. Eric Holder, challenging the constitutionality of the “no fly” list. The government had argued that it is “inappropriate” for a court to review such records to verify that they are validly privileged, and that instead the court should grant dismissal of case on the basis of official declarations.


New Report Examines Verification Requirements for Nuclear Agreement with Iran

Negotiations are currently underway with Iran regarding its nuclear program; as a result, one of the main questions for U.S. government policymakers is what monitoring and verification measures and tools will be required by the United States, its allies, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure Iran’s nuclear program remains peaceful.

To answer this question, FAS convened a non-partisan, independent task force to examine the technical and policy requirements to adequately verify a comprehensive or other sustained nuclear agreement with Iran. Through various methods, the task force interviewed or met with over 70 experts from various technical and policy disciplines and compiled the results in the new report, “Verification Requirements for a Nuclear Agreement with Iran.” Authored by task force leaders Christopher BidwellOrde KittrieJohn Lauder and Harvey Rishikof, the report outlines nine recommendations for U.S. policymakers relating to a successful monitoring and verification agreement with Iran.

Full Report available here.
Report summary and findings available here.

Christopher Bidwell, Senior Fellow for Nonproliferation Law and Policy and co-author of the report, participated in a podcast with Jeffrey Lewis on the Arms Control Wonk blog. Listen to the podcast here. 

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Categories: FAS Roundup