CIA Historical Review Panel Put on Hiatus

The Historical Review Panel that advises the Central Intelligence Agency on declassification of historical intelligence records said this week that its planned December 2018 meeting was canceled by CIA, and that no future meetings were scheduled. But CIA said yesterday that the Panel would be reconvened following some administrative changes. “We have recently been informed […]

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More Light on Black Program to Track UFOs

The Defense Intelligence Agency disclosed this week that it had funded research on warp drive, invisibility cloaking, and other areas of fringe or speculative science and engineering as part of a now-defunct program to track and identify threats from space. From 2007 to 2012, the DIA spent $22 million on the activity, formally known as […]

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JASON Endorses Further Fusion Power Research

The JASON scientific advisory panel cautiously endorsed further research into what is known as Magneto-Inertial Fusion (MIF) as a step towards achieving fusion-generated electricity. “Magneto-Inertial Fusion (MIF) is a physically plausible approach to studying controlled thermonuclear fusion in a region of parameter space that is less explored than Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) or Magnetic Confinement Fusion (MCF).” […]

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Can the Defense Department Build a Border Wall?

If the President were to declare a national emergency in order to justify building a “wall” on the border with Mexico, there would be certain legal authorities that he could invoke to initiate construction operations. But the scope of those legal authorities is uncertain and would almost certainly trigger litigation to challenge their application, the Congressional […]

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Defense Primers, and More from CRS

“The President does not need the concurrence of either his military advisors or the U.S. Congress to order the launch of nuclear weapons,” the Congressional Research Service reminded readers last month in an updated “defense primer” on “Command and Control of Nuclear Forces.” The CRS defense primer series consists of two-page introductions to a variety […]

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New Pre-Publication Review Policy is Coming

Two years ago, the House Intelligence Committee asked the Director of National Intelligence to improve the government’s controversial policy on reviewing books, articles and speeches by current and former intelligence employees prior to their publication, so as to make the process more uniform, timely and fair. That has still not been accomplished, but a new […]

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DNI Orders Security Clearance “Reciprocity”

One of the most vexatious aspects of the system of granting security clearances for access to classified information has been the reluctance of some government agencies to recognize the validity of clearances approved by other agencies, and to require new investigations and adjudications of previously cleared personnel. A new directive from the Director of National […]

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Congressional Oversight of Intelligence, and More from CRS

Noteworthy new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following. Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Background and Selected Options for Further Reform, December 4, 2018 The War Powers Resolution: Concepts and Practice, updated December 11, 2018 U.S. International Food Assistance: An Overview, December 6, 2018 U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues, and Implications, updated […]

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US Sanctions on Russia, and More from CRS

The US has imposed several categories of sanctions on Russia in response to malicious or objectionable Russian activity. A new report from the Congressional Research Service provides an overview of US sanction tools and authorities, and their application to the case of Russia. It also discusses the various sanction regimes, their targets, their effectiveness, and […]

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