from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 38
April 6, 2007

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Contractors accompanying U.S. military forces in Iraq or elsewhere who commit crimes may be beyond the reach of law enforcement, a recent Army publication warns, because the Defense Department has not yet updated its regulations to conform to a Congressional mandate, resulting in a "gap" in legal jurisdiction.

"In November 2006, Congress expanded UCMJ [Uniform Code of Military Justice] authority over contractor personnel authorized to accompany the force. However, as of February 2007, DOD has provided no implementation guidance for this change in law."

As of mid-March, there was still no such implementation guidance.

"The liability and accountability of contractor personnel in most cases is already provided for in U.S. law, international agreements, conventions, treaties, and Status of Forces Agreements."

"However, in some cases a gap may emerge where the contractor personnel are not subject to the UCMJ (only in time of declared war) and the contractor commits an offense in an area that is not subject to the jurisdiction of an allied government (for example, an offense committed in enemy territory)."

"In such cases, the contractor's crime may go unpunished unless other federal laws, such as the military extraterritorial jurisdiction act (MEJA) or the war crimes act (WCA) apply, or the contractor is otherwise subject to the UCMJ (for example, a military retiree)."

See "Contractors Accompanying the Force - Training Support Package," 12 March 2007:

and related explanatory material:


Declassified transcripts of dozens of closed hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1967 have now been published.

The hearings feature testimony by Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms and other Johnson Administration officials on Soviet nuclear weapons policy, anti-ballistic missiles, Vietnam, the Middle East, and other topics of contemporary concern.

See "Executive Sessions of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Together with Joint Sessions with the Senate Armed Services Committee (Historical Series)," Volume XIX, 1967, made public in 2007:


"The humanitarian crisis many feared would take place in March 2003 as a result of the war in Iraq appears to be unfolding," says a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

"It is estimated that in total (including those displaced prior to the war) there may be two million Iraqi refugees who have fled to Jordan, Syria, and other neighboring states, and approximately two million Iraqis who have been displaced within Iraq itself."

See "Iraqi Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons: A Deepening Humanitarian Crisis?," March 23, 2007:

Another Congressional Research Service report provides a detailed examination of the pending defense supplemental appropriations bills, which include congressional direction on redeployment or withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

See "FY2007 Supplemental Appropriations for Defense, Foreign Affairs, and Other Purposes," updated March 28, 2007:

Other recent CRS products which have not been made readily available to the public include the following.

"V-22 Osprey Tilt-Rotor Aircraft," updated March 13, 2007:

"U.S. Assistance to the Former Soviet Union," updated March 1, 2007:

"Nuclear Power: Outlook for New U.S. Reactors," updated March 9, 2007:

"Military Medical Care: Questions and Answers," updated March 7, 2007:

"Military Construction, Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs: FY2007 Appropriations," updated March 6, 2007:

"U.S. International HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Spending: FY2004-FY2008," updated March 6, 2007:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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