from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2016, Issue No. 98
December 2, 2016

Secrecy News Blog:


The Director of National Intelligence shall "review the system by which the Government classifies and declassifies information" and shall "develop recommendations... to make such system a more effective tool... and to support the appropriate declassification of information."

That's just one of the many requirements included in the Fiscal Year 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act (in section 708) that was approved by the House of Representatives on November 30, following negotiations with the Senate.

The House and Senate Intelligence Committees also produced an Explanatory Statement that presents extensive "unclassified congressional direction" on all kinds of intelligence policy matters high and low.

The joint Statement, included in the Congressional Record, notably adopts House language on reforming the pre-publication review requirement that current and former intelligence community employees (and certain others) must comply with. The Statement requires the DNI to "issue an IC-wide policy regarding pre-publication review" within 180 days that includes various specified elements that should improve the timeliness, clarity, and fairness of the review process.

The intelligence bill was crafted in response to Obama Administration policies and, in all likelihood, in anticipation of a Hillary Clinton Administration. But assuming that it is enacted into law, it will come into full effect in a Trump Administration of uncertain character and composition.

"There are many unknowns about the incoming administration, particularly how it will utilize and interact with the IC," said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee.

"It is now more important than ever that we give the IC the tools it needs to keep us safe and provide the necessary oversight required to ensure that they act in a manner consistent with our values and at all times," he said on the House floor.


The total number of refugees that can be admitted to the United States this year -- termed the worldwide refugee ceiling -- is 110,000 persons.

The total amount is allocated among refugees from Africa (35,000), East Asia (12,000), Europe and Central Asia (4,000), Latin America/Caribbean (5,000), and Near East/South Asia (40,000), with an unallocated reserve of 14,000 persons.

Background on law and policy affecting refugees is presented in a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service. See Refugee Admissions and Resettlement Policy, November 30, 2016:

The number of government employees involved in acquisition of U.S. military systems, equipment and services reached 158,212 as of March 2016, according to another new CRS report. See The Civil Defense Acquisition Workforce: Enhancing Recruitment Through Hiring Flexibilities, November 22, 2016:

The U.S. has gone from being a net exporter of fruits and vegetables in the 1970s to being a net importer today, CRS found. On the other hand, U.S. production of nuts is strong. As far as nuts are concerned, there have been "continued increases and, generally, a growing U.S. trade surplus." See The U.S. Trade Situation for Fruit and Vegetable Products, updated December 1, 2016:

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

Demographic and Social Characteristics of Persons in Poverty: 2015, November 30, 2016:

Child Welfare: An Overview of Federal Programs and Their Current Funding, updated November 30, 2016:

Agency Final Rules Submitted After June 2, 2016, May Be Subject to Disapproval, CRS Insight, updated November 30, 2016:

The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction, November 30, 2016:

Authorization of Appropriations: Procedural and Legal Issues, updated November 30, 2016:

Federal Income Tax Treatment of the Family, updated November 23, 2016:

Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?, updated November 23, 2016:

Conflict of Interest and "Ethics" Provisions That May Apply to the President, CRS memorandum, November 22, 2016:

Iran's Nuclear Program: Status, updated November 30, 2016:

The Central African Republic: Background and U.S. Policy, updated December 1, 2016:

What Happens if Johnny Hacks His Seventh Grade Report Card?, CRS Legal Sidebar, December 1, 2016:


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

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