Changing of the Guard: Recent Retirements

Several government officials who collectively represent much of the public face of the national security secrecy system have retired recently. They include: *    Sheryl Shenberger, Director of the National Declassification Center *    Stephen Randolph, Historian of the State Department *    David J. Sherman, NSA Associate Director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy *    Joseph Lambert, CIA […]

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Recovering Radioactive Nuclear Sources

Over the past decade the Department of Energy/NNSA has recovered thousands of sealed radioactive isotope sources from around the world that were abandoned, unwanted or no longer needed. Sealed nuclear sources are utilized for a variety of industrial, medical or military purposes. But at the end of their useful life they can still pose a […]

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Net Neutrality Revisited, and More from CRS

The principle of “net neutrality,” which requires telecommunications companies to provide equal, non-discriminatory access to the Internet, is likely to be weakened next month when the Federal Communications Commission takes up a proposal to modify Obama-era regulations on net neutrality. The Congressional Research Service produced a newly updated report on the subject, suggesting that congressional […]

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Was Obama Administration the Most Transparent or the Least?

“After early promises to be the most transparent administration in history, the Obama administration turned out to be one of the most secretive,” wrote Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan last year. Speaking at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center last month, former ACLU litigator Jameel Jaffer didn’t go quite that far. He acknowledged that Obama had taken […]

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Against Naive Transparency

“Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants,” Louis Brandeis famously wrote a century ago in praise of publicity. But in fact there are many better disinfectants, such as iodine and alcohol. And in excess, sunlight itself can induce sunburn or even skin cancer. Likewise, by analogy, “transparency” as a political virtue is rife […]

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US B-1B bomber assurance missions to Korea

Two USAF B-1B Lancer bombers fly alongside a JASDF F-2 over the East China Sea, October 21, 2017. Photo: PACAF, http://www.pacaf.af.mil/News/Photos/igphoto/2001830673/ By Adam Mount As the Trump administration has prioritized North Korea, it has expanded military exercises around the peninsula to attempt to coerce the regime and assure US allies in Seoul and Tokyo. Perhaps […]

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A Bumpy Road for Controlled Unclassified Information

The effort to establish a uniform policy for Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) is meeting opposition from some executive branch agencies who see it as unnecessary and unwelcome. CUI refers to information that is unclassified but that requires protection for reasons other than national security– such as privacy, proprietary concerns, law enforcement sensitivity, and so on. […]

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Harvey Response Depends on Congressional Action

Aside from immediate needs for food, shelter, and medical care incurred by Hurricane Harvey, there are important disaster response and recovery tasks that will require prompt attention from Congress, according to an overview from the Congressional Research Service. These tasks include appropriation of supplemental funds and extension of needed authorities. “Special attention will be paid […]

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