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Revisiting Intelligence History

Earlier this month the Director of National Intelligence asked intelligence community historians to recommend topics in the history of intelligence which, if declassified and disclosed, “would help the public better understand the work of the IC and contribute to a public dialogue surrounding significant historical events.” DNI James R. Clapper directed that historical topics shall […]

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Structure of the DoD Research Budget, & More from CRS

Nearly half of all federal research and development dollars go to the Department of Defense, a new report from the Congressional Research Service observes. The Pentagon research budget is more than twice that of the next largest recipient, the Department of Health and Human Services. The structure of the DoD research budget, which has “its […]

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On Declassification of “Properly Classified” Information

The 2009 executive order 13526 on classification allows for the possibility that — “in some exceptional cases” — the protection of classified information may be outweighed by the public interest in disclosure of the information so that the information should be declassified (sect. 3.1d). The order says that “when such questions arise,” they should be […]

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Presidential Authority Over Trade, & More from CRS

The Trump transition team has promised vaguely that the incoming Administration¬†will deliver “a seismic and transformative shift in trade policy.” But executive authority over trade policy exists within a framework of law, as a new report from the Congressional Research Service explains, and there are legal limits to what the President can do. “The United […]

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Wrongful Spending Hits Record Levels, & More From CRS

The government mistakenly disbursed more than $137 billion in Fiscal Year 2015, the highest annual level of wrongful spending ever reported, the Congressional Research Service noted last week. Over $1 trillion in improper payments have been made by government agencies since 2004. Improper payments “are payments made in an incorrect amount, payments that should not […]

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Overclassification, Declassification At Issue

The enduring problem of overclassification and the challenge of effective declassification are the subject of two public events this week. The House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, chaired by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), will hold a hearing on Wednesday, December 7 on “examining the costs of overclassification on transparency and security.” The witnesses include […]

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The Federal Anti-Nepotism Law, and More from CRS

The “disruptive” character of the Trump transition is already keeping the analysts and lawyers at the Congressional Research Service busy. One new CRS analysis responds to the question of whether the employment of Trump family members in the transition or the Administration would violate the federal law against nepotism, which generally prohibits the hiring of […]

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2017 Intelligence Bill Passes the House

The Director of National Intelligence shall “review the system by which the Government classifies and declassifies information” and shall “develop recommendations… to make such system a more effective tool… and to support the appropriate declassification of information.” That’s just one of the many requirements included in the Fiscal Year 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act (in section […]

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Refugee Admissions and Resettlement, & More from CRS

The total number of refugees that can be admitted to the United States this year — termed the worldwide refugee ceiling — is 110,000 persons. The total amount is allocated among refugees from Africa (35,000), East Asia (12,000), Europe and Central Asia (4,000), Latin America/Caribbean (5,000), and Near East/South Asia (40,000), with an unallocated reserve […]

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