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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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Mark Bradley Named To Be New ISOO Director

In what must be one of the very last national security-related posts to be filled in the Obama Administration, national security lawyer and former CIA officer Mark A. Bradley was named as the next director of the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), which is responsible for oversight of the national security secrecy system government-wide. He […]

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What Can President Trump “Undo”?, & More from CRS

The steps that the incoming Trump Administration could take to revise or reverse policies of the Obama Administration are considered in several new publications from the Congressional Research Service. “While the Constitution does not permit the President to single-handedly repeal or amend statutes, there is much that a new President can do to rapidly reverse […]

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Presidential Transitions, & More from CRS

The complexities and some of the potential pitfalls of the presidential transition period are described in a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service. “A variety of events, decisions, and activities contribute to what some may characterize as the unfolding drama of a presidential transition. Interparty transitions in particular might be contentious.” The report […]

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Security Clearances and Presidential Authority

“Security clearances are not mandated for the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, or other constitutional officers,” a recentCongressional Research Service report explains. “The criteria for election or appointment to these positions are specified in the U.S. Constitution, and except by constitutional amendment, no additional criteria (e.g., holding a security clearance) may […]

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Garwin to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

The celebrated and accomplished individuals selected by President Obama to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — include figures such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill and Melinda Gates, Robert Redford, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jordan– and Richard L. Garwin. As noted by a November 16 White House news release, “Richard Garwin […]

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Melvin Laird: A Declassified History

Melvin R. Laird, who served as Secretary of Defense during the Nixon Administration, passed away on November 16. His tenure as Secretary was described in an official history published last year by the Department of Defense that is based in part on classified government archives. “Although the text has been declassified, some of the official […]

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