Intelligence Issues in Congress
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper went a little out of his way to praise the Government Accountability Office at a Senate hearing on security clearance reform on November 16. “I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize the crucial role that GAO continues to play in keeping the heat on the executive branch for security clearance reform and, also, on areas they have identified where more work is required,” DNI Clapper told a subcommittee hearing chaired by Senator Daniel Akaka.
As required by the FY2010 intelligence authorization act, the DNI is preparing a directive to authorize and regulate GAO access to intelligence information, a step that should portend an increased role for GAO in intelligence oversight. In the future, GAO access to intelligence “will be similar to the GAO’s access to the Department of Defense’s Special Access Programs,” suggested Sen. Rockefeller.
In pursuing a new cybersecurity agenda, “the government must be as transparent as possible with the American people,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse yesterday. “I doubt very much that the Obama administration would abuse new authorities in cyberspace to violate Americans’ civil liberties. But on principle, I firmly and strongly believe that maximum transparency to the public and rigorous congressional oversight are essential. We have to go about this right.”
Retiring Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Christopher Bond offered his valedictory thoughts on intelligence policy on the Senate floor yesterday, launching darts in multiple directions. Among other recommendations, he called for an increased number of prosecutions to combat leaks.
“We must first deter and neutralize the leakers. There should be significant criminal, civil, and administrative sanctions that can be imposed on leakers. Leakers should face significant jail time, pay heavy fines, forfeit any profits, lose their pensions, and be fired from their jobs. We should also not allow the first amendment to be used as a shield for criminal activity. It should be a crime to knowingly solicit a person to reveal classified information for an unauthorized purpose or to knowingly publish or possess such information. Leaks will not stop until a significant number of leakers have been appropriately punished,” Sen. Bond said.
Technically, any alert reader of national newspapers “possesses” classified information and would therefore be criminally liable under Senator Bond’s rash formulation.
The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons, and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987.. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]
On 14 April 2023, the Belarusian Ministry of Defence released a short video of a Su-25 pilot explaining his new role in delivering “special [nuclear] munitions” following his training in Russia. The features seen in the video, as well as several other open-source clues, suggest that Lida Air Base––located only 40 kilometers from the Lithuanian border and the […]
A photo in a Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) student briefing from 2022 shows four people inspecting what appears to be a damaged B61 nuclear bomb.
In early-February 2023, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) had informed Congress that China now has more launchers for Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) than the United States. The report is the latest in a serious of revelations over the past four years about China’s growing nuclear weapons arsenal and the deepening […]