from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2016, Issue No. 88
November 1, 2016

Secrecy News Blog:


As of last year, there were 1,009 federal advisory committees comprised of 72,220 members who provided advice to the government at a cost of more than $367 million.

The operations of these federal advisory committees -- which may also include commissions, councils, task forces, or working groups -- are examined in a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service. See Federal Advisory Committees: An Introduction and Overview by Wendy Ginsberg and Casey Burgat, October 27, 2016:

Other new and updated CRS reports that have not been made publicly available online include the following.

Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy, updated October 28, 2016:

Iran: Politics, Human Rights, and U.S. Policy, updated October 25, 2016:

Israel: Background and U.S. Relations, updated October 28, 2016:

Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy, updated October 27, 2016:

Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Program: Background and Issues for Congress, updated October 25, 2016:

Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress, updated October 25, 2016:

Navy Columbia Class (Ohio Replacement) Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN[X]) Program: Background and Issues for Congress, updated October 25, 2016:

Department of Homeland Security Preparedness Grants: A Summary and Issues, October 28, 2016:

DHS Appropriations FY2017: Security, Enforcement, and Investigations, October 27, 2016:

Treatment of Noncitizens Under the Affordable Care Act, updated October 27, 2016:

Video Broadcasting of Congressional Proceedings, October 28, 2016:

The Social Security Retirement Age, October 28, 2016:

Social Security: Calculation and History of Taxing Benefits, updated October 27, 2016:

Did a Thermostat Break the Internet?, CRS Insight, October 26, 2016:


The Central Intelligence Agency yesterday released a long-sought draft of the fifth volume of its internal history of the 1961 invasion of the Bay of Pigs.

The release was among the first tangible results of this year's amendments to the Freedom of Information Act, which imposed a 25 year limit on the exemption for "deliberative" files. As a result, the 1984 draft history could no longer be legally withheld.

CIA said in a cover note that "This fifth draft volume was not publishable in its present form, in the judgment of CIA Chief Historians as well as other reviewers, because of serious shortcomings in scholarship, its polemical tone, and its failure to add significantly to an understanding of the controversy over the Bay of Pigs operation."

Indeed, the new "volume is strange, in some respects, and interesting," said Villanova Prof. David M. Barrett, who had filed a lawsuit last summer for release of the draft history.

"Essentially, it is a critical history of the Inspector General's critical report on Bay of Pigs, which mainly blamed CIA incompetence for the failure at Bay of Pigs. [The author, CIA historian Jack] Pfeiffer says IG Lyman Kirkpatrick's report was, itself, biased and incompetent. Pfeiffer says the most obvious cause of failure at Bay of Pigs was JFK's decision to cancel a planned 2nd airstrike in support of the invaders at Bay of Pigs," Barrett said.

He noted several highlights:

"Not quite earth-shaking history, but I think the real story is that CIA spent much effort and money over the past 5 years to prevent [release] of this document," Barrett said.

The National Security Archive, which had previously filed suit to obtain the document, hailed its release here:


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

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