from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2019, Issue No. 2
January 14, 2019

Secrecy News Blog:


If the President were to declare a national emergency in order to justify building a "wall" on the border with Mexico, there would be certain legal authorities that he could invoke to initiate construction operations.

But the scope of those legal authorities is uncertain and would almost certainly trigger litigation to challenge their application, the Congressional Research Service said last week.

"Whether these authorities -- individually or in combination -- extend to the construction of a border wall would present a reviewing court with several questions of first impression," CRS said. See Can the Department of Defense Build the Border Wall?, CRS Legal Sidebar, January 10, 2019:

On the other hand, the National Emergencies Act has been effectively invoked on two previous occasions to authorize military construction activity overseas (by Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush), CRS said in another new publication. See Military Construction Funding in the Event of a National Emergency, CRS Insight, updated January 11, 2019:

Some other noteworthy new and updated publications from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

Mexico's Immigration Control Efforts, CRS In Focus, updated January 3, 2019:

How a Government Shutdown Affects Government Contracts, CRS Legal Sidebar, January 10, 2019:

Defense Primer: FY2018 Department of Defense Audit Results, CRS In Focus, updated January 9, 2019:

New CRS Series: Introduction to Financial Services, CRS Insight, updated January 11, 2019:

Federal Grand Jury Secrecy: Legal Principles and Implications for Congressional Oversight, January 10, 2019:

U.S. Sanctions on Russia, updated January 11, 2019:

Cluster Munitions: Background and Issues for Congress, updated January 7, 2019:

U.S.-Proposed Missile Technology Control Regime Changes, CRS In Focus, January 10, 2019:


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

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