Leakers May Be Worse Than Spies, Gov’t Says

One might presume that foreign spies do more damage to national security than those who leak classified information to the press. But the opposite could be true, government attorneys told a court this week, because the leaked information is circulated more widely. “While spies typically pass classified national defense information to a specific foreign government, leakers, […]

Read More

Falling Space Reactors: Assessing the Risk

A new NASA report examines various scenarios in which nuclear reactors that are used to power spacecraft could accidentally reenter the Earth’s atmosphere. “There are a number of types of reentry events that can potentially occur with missions containing fission reactors. Each type of reentry event can produce a variety of possible adverse environments for the […]

Read More

Impeachment Investigations: Law and Process (CRS)

The procedures that govern congressional impeachment investigations are largely left to the discretion of the House and, in the case of a trial, to the discretion of the Senate. A new publication from the Congressional Research Service summarizes the options. It “also describes some of the ways in which an impeachment investigation, as compared to a more […]

Read More

Defending Democracy in Ukraine

Persons who threaten democracy in Ukraine also represent a threat to the United States, according to a 2014 executive order issued by President Obama following Russia’s invasion and seizure of the Crimean region. In fact, the resulting threat to US national security and foreign policy is so severe as to constitute a “national emergency,” said Executive Order […]

Read More

Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protections (CRS)

Noteworthy new and updated publications from the Congressional Research Service include the following. Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protections: In Brief, updated September 23, 2019 U.S.-Iran Tensions and Implications for U.S. Policy, updated September 23, 2019 U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress, updated September 23, 2019 U.N. Peacekeeping Operations in Africa, September 23, […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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,” […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More