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Classification Laws Apply to Everyone, Judge Says

In a startling pronouncement that can only heighten tensions between the press and the government, a federal judge said last week that the laws governing classified information apply to anyone who is in receipt of such information, including reporters who are the recipients of “leaks.” “Persons who have unauthorized possession, who come into unauthorized possession […]

01.25.06 | 2 min read
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White House Rebuffed 2002 Effort to Relax FISA Standard

The Bush Administration rejected a Congressional initiative in 2002 that would have lowered the legal threshold for conducting surveillance of non-US persons under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act from “probable cause” that the target is a terrorist or agent of a foreign power to “reasonable suspicion.” Administration officials said at the time that the legislative […]

01.25.06 | 2 min read
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CIA Limits Web Publication of Critical Reports

The Central Intelligence Agency has selectively declined to publish on its web site at least three unclassified reports produced by the Center for the Study of Intelligence that present an unflattering picture of the Agency, US News reported this week. See “A Tangled Web Woven,” by David E. Kaplan, US News and World Report, January […]

01.23.06 | 1 min read
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Protection of Classified Information by Congress (CRS)

The rules and procedures for protecting classified information in Congress — which differ in the House and the Senate — are described in another new CRS report. See “Protection of Classified Information by Congress: Practices and Proposals,” updated January 11, 2006.

01.23.06 | 1 min read
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Kinetic Energy Kill for Ballistic Missile Defense (CRS)

A new report from the Congressional Research Service presents a skeptical overview of the development of kinetic energy interceptors — anti-missile missiles — for defense against incoming ballistic missiles. “The data on the U.S. flight test effort to develop a national missile defense (NMD) system are mixed and ambiguous. There is no recognizable pattern to […]

01.23.06 | 1 min read
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Patriot Act Reauthorization: A Legal Analysis (CRS)

The existing controversy over reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act — portions of which will “sunset” if they are not renewed — acquired a new dimension with the disclosure last month of an NSA domestic surveillance operation. Some now argue that the Patriot Act should not be reauthorized before the Bush Administration’s claims of inherent […]

01.23.06 | 1 min read
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Congressional Oversight in Theory and in Practice

The rudiments of Congressional oversight — its legal basis, its functions, and the diverse forms it takes — are concisely described in a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service. “Congressional oversight refers to the review, monitoring, and supervision of federal agencies, programs, activities, and policy implementation…. Congress’s oversight authority derives from its ‘implied’ […]

01.23.06 | 1 min read
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NSA: Redacting With Confidence

The National Security Agency has issued new guidance to assist officials in redacting (censoring) documents in Microsoft Word format and producing unclassified Adobe Portable Document (PDF) files without inadvertently disclosing sensitive information. “MS Word is used throughout the DoD and the Intelligence Community (IC) for preparing documents, reports, notes, and other formal and informal materials. […]

01.20.06 | 1 min read
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The Legal Significance of Presidential Signing Statements

When he signed the 2006 Defense Appropriations Act, which included a prohibition against torture of detainees in U.S. custody, President Bush issued a signing statement implying that he could disregard the new prohibition in his capacity as commander in chief. “The executive branch shall construe [the statute], relating to detainees, in a manner consistent with […]

01.20.06 | 1 min read
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Justice Dept Issues White Paper on NSA Surveillance

The Department of Justice renewed its legal defense of warrantless domestic intelligence surveillance by the National Security Agency in a 42 page white paper transmitted to Congress yesterday. The white paper essentially reiterates at greater length the previous defenses articulated by the Bush Administration: (1) the surveillance action was authorized by Congress when it passed […]

01.20.06 | 1 min read
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Nuclear Weapons
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Article: Preparing For The Failure Of Deterrence

The Royal Canadian Military Institute (RCMI) has published an article by FAS’s director of the Nuclear Information Project about how U.S. nuclear planners are preparing for the failure of deterrence by putting new strike plans into operation onboard long-range bombers and strategic submarines. This includes options to strike preemptively with nuclear weapons, if adversaries make […]

12.09.05 | 1 min read
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Nuclear Weapons
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Lawmakers Object To Nuclear Doctrine

Sixteen members of Congress have asked President George W. Bush to intervene in the Pentagon’s revision of Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations. In a joint letter published by Representative Ellen Tauscher’s office, the lawmakers object to language that appears to broaden the role of U.S. nuclear weapons. The letter follows my critique of the doctrine […]

12.07.05 | 1 min read
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