Posts from September, 2008

New Light on Private Security Contractors in Iraq

The use of thousands of private security contractors in Iraq represents a quantitatively new feature of U.S. military operations, but relatively little has been publicly disclosed about the contractual arrangements involved. The war in Iraq “is apparently the first time that the United States has depended so extensively on contractors to provide security in a [...]

The post New Light on Private Security Contractors in Iraq appears on Secrecy News from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy.

Dept of Defense Role in Foreign Assistance, and More from CRS

The structure, development and ramifications of growing U.S. Department of Defense foreign assistance activities are described in a major new report from the Congressional Research Service. See “The Department of Defense Role in Foreign Assistance: Background, Major Issues, and Options for Congress” (pdf), August 25, 2008. Other noteworthy new reports from CRS that have not [...]

The post Dept of Defense Role in Foreign Assistance, and More from CRS appears on Secrecy News from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy.

Ideological Conflict Puts Al Qaeda on the Defensive

Al Qaeda is “imploding,” a State Department counterterrorism official told the Associated Press last week, as a result of growing opposition in the Muslim world. The implication that al Qaeda’s demise may be imminent is almost certainly incorrect. But what is true is that “a severe intellectual conflict has emerged” within the jihadist movement, said [...]

The post Ideological Conflict Puts Al Qaeda on the Defensive appears on Secrecy News from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy.

Book: The Secret War with Iran

In 1997, acting on intelligence that a Hizballah cell was preparing to blow up the American embassy in Asuncion, Paraguay, a U.S. special forces team reportedly flew to the scene in several giant transport planes where it arrested the conspirators and prevented the attack. If that episode happened as described (and it cannot readily be [...]

The post Book: The Secret War with Iran appears on Secrecy News from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy.

FAS Presenting at the ASCE AEI Annual Conference

I’m off to Denver later this week for the American Society of Civil Engineers Architectural Engineering Institute’s Annual Conference. FAS has been asked by Dr. Mohammed Ettouney, the conference’s chair, to present our research on applying cementitious structural insulated panels to multi-story buildings at the event. I will be chairing the presentation, presenting along with […]

New SmartGrid Research Partnership

Today Google and GE announced a new partnership, teaming to develop smart grid technologies and clean energy. The concept of the smart grid is essentially bringing electricity transmission, distribution, and use into the 21st century through the use of two-way communications, advanced sensors, and distributed computers to improve the efficiency, reliability and safety of power […]

Some Thoughts on the House Energy Bill

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act (HR 6899). While the bill itself is very wide-reaching, unfortunately the majority of it its focus (and debate) has gotten caught up in the issue of off-shore drilling, an issue that has been shown to have little impact (immediate […]

Missile Watch No. 2: Somalia

CNN and AFP are reporting that the Shabaab, a militant wing of a Somali insurgent group, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), has threatened to treat “as an enemy combatant” any plane that attempts to land at Mogadishu Airport.  According to AFP, the threat, which was posted on the Internet, was confirmed by Shabaab leader Mukhtar [...]

The post Missile Watch No. 2: Somalia appears on the FAS Strategic Security Blog.

An Argument for Open Source Intelligence Secrecy

“There is altogether too much discussion about the deliverables that OSINT [open source intelligence] can produce,” said Jennifer Sims, a former State Department intelligence official, at a DNI conference on open source intelligence last week. Open source intelligence refers to intelligence that is derived from unclassified, legally accessible information sources. But the fact that the [...]

The post An Argument for Open Source Intelligence Secrecy appears on Secrecy News from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy.