A Leaker’s Motives Are Irrelevant, Gov’t Says

Disclosing classified information without authorization is a crime even if the leaker had good intentions and was motivated by a larger public interest, the government said this week. Therefore, any mention of the purpose of the disclosure should be ruled out of bounds in trial, government attorneys argued. The issue arose in pre-trial motions in […]

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Yemen: Civil War and Regional Intervention (CRS)

Noteworthy new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following. Yemen: Civil War and Regional Intervention, updated September 17, 2019 Attacks Against Saudi Oil Rattle Markets, CRS Insight, September 16, 2019 U.S.-China Trade and Economic Relations: Overview, CRS In Focus, updated September 12, 2019 Immigration Detention: A Legal Overview, September 16, 2019 Antitrust and […]

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Garwin on Serendipity and Solar Sailing

In July, the Planetary Society’s Lightsail 2 spacecraft demonstrated the viability of “solar sailing,” becoming “the first spacecraft in Earth orbit propelled solely by sunlight.” But the practicality of solar sailing was first described six decades earlier by physicist Richard L. Garwin. “It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of solar radiation pressure for the propulsion […]

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Election “Emergency” Order Again Yields No Culprits

A “national emergency” declared by President Trump last year to deal with the threat of foreign interference in U.S. elections has still not resulted in the identification or punishment of any perpetrators of such interference, according to the second periodic report to Congress on the emergency. “No entities or individuals have been designated pursuant to E.O. 13848,” […]

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Avoiding “Behavioral Drift” in DoD Detainee Operations

The treatment of detainees in U.S. military custody will be observed by military psychologists in order to help discourage and detect unethical or abusive behavior, the Department of Defense said in a directive that was issued last week. “It is DoD policy to use BSS [behavioral science support] . . . for detainee operations or intelligence […]

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Defense Primers for Members of Congress

The Congressional Research Service developed “a series of short primers to provide Members of Congress an overview of key aspects of the Department of Defense and how Congress exercises authority over it.” The defense primers, several of which have been recently updated, can be found here. Other noteworthy recent CRS publications include the following. Overseas […]

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White House Issues a “National” Science & Tech Agenda

A new White House budget memo presents science and technology as a distinctly American-led enterprise in which U.S. dominance is to be maintained and reinforced. The document is silent on the possibility or the necessity of international scientific cooperation. “The five R&D budgetary priorities in this memorandum ensure that America remains at the forefront of […]

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Modernization of Secrecy System is Stalled

Today’s national security classification system “relies on antiquated policies from another era that undercut its effectiveness today,” the Information Security Oversight Office told the President in a report released yesterday. Modernizing the system is a “government-wide imperative,” the new ISOO annual report said. But that is a familiar refrain by now. It is much the same message that […]

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Army Playing Cards Feature Iranian Weapons

In a not very subtle sign of the times, the U.S. Army has produced a deck of playing cards featuring weaponry used or held by Iran in order to familiarize soldiers with Iran’s inventory of weapons and presumably to facilitate their recognition on the battlefield. The Iran collection follows similar decks of playing cards illustrated with Chinese and Russian weapons. Another […]

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Kashmir, Autonomous Weapons, and More from CRS

Noteworthy new publications from the Congressional Research Service include the following. Kashmir: Background, Recent Developments, and U.S. Policy, August 16, 2019 Global Trends in HIV/AIDS, CRS In Focus, updated August 15, 2019 Retroactive Legislation: A Primer for Congress, CRS In Focus, August 15, 2019 Words Taken Down: Calling Members to Order for Disorderly Language in the House, […]

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