from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2012, Issue No. 33
April 11, 2012

Secrecy News Blog:


Last week, the Department of Defense published the 2012 edition of the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM).

The Manual contains the Rules for Courts-Martial (RCM), the Military Rules of Evidence (MRE), and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The latest edition incorporates legislative amendments and other changes introduced since the previous edition was published in 2008.

The Manual details the elements of various crimes such as "Aiding the Enemy" (Article 104), which is among the charges pending against Bradley Manning, who is suspected of having provided classified and other restricted records to WikiLeaks without authorization.

"No unauthorized communication, correspondence, or intercourse with the enemy is permissible," according to the Manual's explanation of Article 104 (which has not been amended recently).

"The intent, content, and method of the communication, correspondence, or intercourse are immaterial. No response or receipt by the enemy is required. The offense is complete the moment the communication, correspondence, or intercourse issues from the accused. The communication, correspondence, or intercourse may be conveyed directly or indirectly."

"Giving intelligence to the enemy is a particular case of corresponding with the enemy made more serious by the fact that the communication contains intelligence that may be useful to the enemy for any of the many reasons that make information valuable to belligerents. This intelligence may be conveyed by direct or indirect means."

See, more generally, "Military Justice: Courts-Martial, An Overview" from the Congressional Research Service, March 14, 2012:


The elimination of the congressional Office of Technology Assessment in 1995 was a self-inflicted wound that left Congress with diminished capacity to evaluate the challenging scientific and technological issues that continue to confront it.

But the need for such an enterprise to support the legislative process has not gone away, and to a limited extent it is now being addressed by the Congressional Research Service (as well as the Government Accountability Office).

Last month, CRS completed a substantial 139 page report entitled "Energy Storage for Power Grids and Electric Transportation: A Technology Assessment." At first glance, it looks like an informative piece of work.

"This report attempts to summarize the current state of knowledge regarding energy storage technologies for both electric power grid and electric vehicle applications. It is intended to serve as a reference for policymakers interested in understanding the range of technologies and applications associated with energy storage, comparing them, when possible, in a structured way to highlight key characteristics relevant to widespread use."

Two other recent CRS reports discuss the implications of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," the controversial technology for injecting fluids into underground wells to stimulate oil and gas production.

See Hydraulic Fracturing and Safe Drinking Water Act Issues, April 10, 2012:

and Hydraulic Fracturing: Chemical Disclosure Requirements, April 4, 2012:

Some other newly updated CRS reports that Congress has declined to make available to the public include the following.

Defining Homeland Security: Analysis and Congressional Considerations, April 3, 2012:

Small Business Size Standards: A Historical Analysis of Contemporary Issues, April 10, 2012:

Medicare Trigger, April 9, 2012:

Western Sahara, April 5, 2012:

Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations, April 10, 2012:


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

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