Debate Simmers Over Disclosing Warrantless Spying - NYTimes.com

"Obama administration lawyers have been debating whether the Treasury Department must inform the people or groups it sanctions as foreign terrorists when it relies on warrantless surveillance as the basis for the designation, according to officials familiar with the deliberations.

Intelligence officials are said to oppose being more forthcoming about who has been subjected to surveillance, especially in cases involving noncitizens abroad — who do not have Fourth Amendment privacy rights — because such information would tip them off that the National Security Agency had intercepted their communications.
But a provision in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, requires the government to disclose when it uses information from eavesdropping in any “proceeding” against people. In 2008, Congress made the N.S.A.’s warrantless surveillance program a part of FISA, but the full implications of applying its disclosure provision to that program were initially overlooked.”

"

Whether a war should be authorized is a separate question from who has the power to authorize it. [… But] there are good reasons to believe that if the Congress took its war powers more seriously than either it or the executive branch presently does, it would act as another barrier—however imperfect—against the capricious resort to military force.

Certainly, the most reflexive advocates for war seem to think so.

"

Jim Antle, "Seven Awful Reasons for Bypassing Congress on ISIS" (via hipsterlibertarian)

Secrecy News - Federation Of American Scientists

Secrecy News


“CIA: Cost of Personal Computer in 1987 is a Secret
Posted on Sep.29, 2014 in CIA, Secrecy by Steven Aftergood
Under the prevailing information policies of the Central Intelligence Agency, even some well-known public facts, such as the price of a popular personal computer, may be withheld from public disclosure. “We bought our first Commodore Amiga in 1987 for less than [price redacted] including software,” according to a paper entitled “NPIC, Amiga, and Videotape” from the CIA journal Studies in Intelligence. It was among hundreds of papers posted online this month in response to a […]”

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“DNI Issues Directive on Polygraph Policy
Posted on Sep.29, 2014 in polygraph, Security Clearances by Steven Aftergood
Polygraph testing is here to stay, judging from a new directive issued by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The directive governs the use of polygraph testing in vetting executive branch agency personnel for security clearances or determining their eligibility for “sensitive” positions. The new Security Executive Agent Directive 2 on the use of the polygraph was obtained by Marisa Taylor of McClatchy News, who has done a series of in-depth news reports on polygraph […]”

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Spy Agencies Urge Caution on Phone Deal - NYTimes.com

Free trade is all well and good when it comes to outsourcing your job. But spy agencies demand protection. - David C.Unger

cynicalidealism:

Cartoon: The infinite “war on terror”

cynicalidealism:

Cartoon: The infinite “war on terror”

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.
The ICC will probe possible war crimes in the Central African Republic.
Fighters in Nigeria’s Boko Haram drive fear in neighboring Cameroon.
The number of refugees fleeing violence in South Sudan nears 2 million.
French mountaineering guide Herve Gourdel was beheaded by Jund al-Khilafah, an Algerian extremist group who has aligned themselves with ISIS.
The Syrian army has overrun the town of Adra al-Omalia, about 30km from Damascus.
A great visual guide to ongoing strikes in Iraq and Syria. 
The British debate joining the airstrikes.
The Al-Nusra Front leader Abu Yousef al-Turki was reportedly killed in strikes.
International law and strikes inside Syria - from Just Security.
The UAE’s bombing mission against ISIS targets was led by its first female fighter pilot, Mariam al-Mansouri. Fox News correspondents later joked that she represented “boobs on the ground”* and that she had probably been unable to park her jet. 
A newly-discussed terrorist element, Khorasan, appeared in the news this week. Khorasan is often misleadingly characterized in reports as a separate terrorist group, but this AP report is a really comprehensive explanation of who these people are.
The White House has said that any ISIS prisoners captured will not end up in Guantánamo.
The main theme of President Obama’s speech at the UN this week was ISIS and the plans to combat them.
The US believes about 20 to 30 Americans are currently fighting in Syria. 
Sameera Salih Ali al-Nuaimy, an Iraqi lawyer who fought for women’s rights, was executed by an ISIS firing squad after several days of torture — another instance of the group’s targeting of professional women.
The IAEA rejected an Arab bid to push Israel to sign the global anti-nuclear weapons pact. 
Hamas and Fatah have reached an understanding that paves the way for a unity government.
Radical cleric Abu Qatada was acquitted of terrorism charges in a Jordanian court.
The US has ordered some diplomats out of Yemen. Is the country on the brink of civil war?
Adam Baron on the myth of the “Yemen model” of counterterrorism.
Ashraf Ghani is now officially Afghanistan’s president-elect. 
Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan seized the Ajrestan district of Ghazni province Thursday night, killing 70 people.
A suspected drone strike killed 10 Uzbek and Pakistani militants near the border with Afghanistan on Wednesday. 
Photographer Massimo Berruti documents the injuries and traumas of victims of drone strikes.
The US transferred 14 Pakistani prisoners from military detention to Pakistani custody.
Human Rights Watch calls out abuses of political prisoners in Uzbekistan.
50 people were reported killed in Xinjiang last Sunday in what Chinese police are calling an act of terrorism.
The US is preparing to ease the Vietnam arms embargo.
Pro-Ukrainian residents remaining in the east live in a world of intense scrutiny and propaganda.
Latvia fears Kremlin aggression.
Hungary suspended gas supplies to Ukraine.
The Treasury Dept named 12 Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
Interpol is expanding its foreign fighters database.
The FBI has identified the killer responsible for the beheadings of James Foley, Steven Sotloff and David Haines, but is not revealing that information to the public.
The US is undergoing a major atomic renewal, an overhaul and update of its nuclear weapons systems (despite previous ideas floated about disarmament).
The Boston bombing trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been delayed two months. 
Elliott Ackerman wrote a beautiful essay for The New Yorker about the two photos marking a beginning and a kind of end for his war.
*As well as being sexists, Fox correspondents also apparently do not have the greatest grasp of the difference between aerial bombing and ground warfare.
Photo: Suruc, Turkey. Syrian Kurd refugees gather at the Syrian-Turkish border. Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.

  • The ICC will probe possible war crimes in the Central African Republic.
  • Fighters in Nigeria’s Boko Haram drive fear in neighboring Cameroon.
  • The number of refugees fleeing violence in South Sudan nears 2 million.
  • French mountaineering guide Herve Gourdel was beheaded by Jund al-Khilafah, an Algerian extremist group who has aligned themselves with ISIS.
  • The Syrian army has overrun the town of Adra al-Omalia, about 30km from Damascus.
  • A great visual guide to ongoing strikes in Iraq and Syria. 
  • The British debate joining the airstrikes.
  • The Al-Nusra Front leader Abu Yousef al-Turki was reportedly killed in strikes.
  • International law and strikes inside Syria - from Just Security.
  • The UAE’s bombing mission against ISIS targets was led by its first female fighter pilot, Mariam al-Mansouri. Fox News correspondents later joked that she represented “boobs on the ground”* and that she had probably been unable to park her jet. 
  • A newly-discussed terrorist element, Khorasan, appeared in the news this week. Khorasan is often misleadingly characterized in reports as a separate terrorist group, but this AP report is a really comprehensive explanation of who these people are.
  • The White House has said that any ISIS prisoners captured will not end up in Guantánamo.
  • The main theme of President Obama’s speech at the UN this week was ISIS and the plans to combat them.
  • The US believes about 20 to 30 Americans are currently fighting in Syria. 
  • Sameera Salih Ali al-Nuaimy, an Iraqi lawyer who fought for women’s rights, was executed by an ISIS firing squad after several days of torture — another instance of the group’s targeting of professional women.
  • The IAEA rejected an Arab bid to push Israel to sign the global anti-nuclear weapons pact. 
  • Hamas and Fatah have reached an understanding that paves the way for a unity government.
  • Radical cleric Abu Qatada was acquitted of terrorism charges in a Jordanian court.
  • The US has ordered some diplomats out of Yemen. Is the country on the brink of civil war?
  • Adam Baron on the myth of the “Yemen model” of counterterrorism.
  • Ashraf Ghani is now officially Afghanistan’s president-elect. 
  • Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan seized the Ajrestan district of Ghazni province Thursday night, killing 70 people.
  • A suspected drone strike killed 10 Uzbek and Pakistani militants near the border with Afghanistan on Wednesday. 
  • Photographer Massimo Berruti documents the injuries and traumas of victims of drone strikes.
  • The US transferred 14 Pakistani prisoners from military detention to Pakistani custody.
  • Human Rights Watch calls out abuses of political prisoners in Uzbekistan.
  • 50 people were reported killed in Xinjiang last Sunday in what Chinese police are calling an act of terrorism.
  • The US is preparing to ease the Vietnam arms embargo.
  • Pro-Ukrainian residents remaining in the east live in a world of intense scrutiny and propaganda.
  • Latvia fears Kremlin aggression.
  • Hungary suspended gas supplies to Ukraine.
  • The Treasury Dept named 12 Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
  • Interpol is expanding its foreign fighters database.
  • The FBI has identified the killer responsible for the beheadings of James Foley, Steven Sotloff and David Haines, but is not revealing that information to the public.
  • The US is undergoing a major atomic renewal, an overhaul and update of its nuclear weapons systems (despite previous ideas floated about disarmament).
  • The Boston bombing trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been delayed two months. 
  • Elliott Ackerman wrote a beautiful essay for The New Yorker about the two photos marking a beginning and a kind of end for his war.

*As well as being sexists, Fox correspondents also apparently do not have the greatest grasp of the difference between aerial bombing and ground warfare.

Photo: Suruc, Turkey. Syrian Kurd refugees gather at the Syrian-Turkish border. Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty

Wrong Turn on Syria: No Convincing Plan - NYTimes.com

"There isn’t a full picture — because Mr. Obama has not provided one — of how this bombing campaign will degrade the extremist groups without unleashing unforeseen consequences in a violent and volatile region. In the absence of public understanding or discussion and a coherent plan, the strikes in Syria were a bad decision.

Mr. Obama has failed to ask for or receive congressional authorization for such military action. The White House claims that Mr. Obama has all the authority he needs under the 2001 law approving the use of force in Afghanistan and the 2002 law permitting the use of force in Iraq, but he does not.”

Use of US Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2014, and More from CRS

Secrecy News 


“Use of US Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2014, and More from CRS
Posted on Sep.23, 2014 in CRS by Steven Aftergood
Noteworthy new products of the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2014, September 15, 2014

American Foreign Fighters and the Islamic State: Broad Challenges for Federal Law Enforcement, CRS Insights, September 19, 2014

Man without a Country? Expatriation of U.S. Citizen “Foreign Fighters”, Legal Sidebar, September 15, 2014

Proposed Train and Equip Authorities for Syria: In Brief, September 16, 2014

Climate Summit 2014: Warm-Up for 2015, CRS Insights, September 22, 2014

Lame Duck Sessions of Congress, 1935-2012 (74th-112th Congresses), September 19, 2014

Poverty: Major Themes in Past Debates and Current Proposals, September 18, 2014

The U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA): Provisions and Implications, September 16, 2014

Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive, September 22, 2014

Russia’s Compliance with the INF Treaty, CRS Insights, September 18, 2014

The No Fly List: Procedural Due Process and Hurdles to Litigation, September 18, 2014”

Important news context:

thepoliticalnotebook:

This past few days there have been reports that there is a ”just as bad as ISIS” terror group plotting international attacks from the same region — a group named Khorasan.

The director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., said on Thursday that “in terms of threat to the…

bostonreview:

TOMORROW NIGHT: Poets Stephen Burt, Dan Chelotti, Jorie Graham, Robert Pinsky, and Thera Webb read excerpts from their contributions to Privacy Policy: The Anthology of Surveillence Poetics at the Harvard Book Store at 7:00 p.m.
The event is free and open to the public.
In the meantime, several poems from the collection are featured here.

bostonreview:

TOMORROW NIGHT: Poets Stephen Burt, Dan Chelotti, Jorie Graham, Robert Pinsky, and Thera Webb read excerpts from their contributions to Privacy Policy: The Anthology of Surveillence Poetics at the Harvard Book Store at 7:00 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

In the meantime, several poems from the collection are featured here.