Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 24, 2015

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on July 24, 2015

William R. Cumming Forum

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Comment by William R. Cumming

July 24, 2015 @ 8:25 am

Several items for discussion:

1. My first and last formal prediction for outcome of November 2016 Presidential race.

IMO the candidates based on a number of factors including money will be a Republican ticket of Jeb Bush and John Kasich and they will trounce Hillary Clinton and ?!

Oddly the top two candidates know how important FEMA is to governance and Craig Fugate hoping to stay on! He won’t.

2. The 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in NOLA and GOM coast about to arrive. Have lessons been learned and is the federal post-Katrina investment of $80-$120B been made with wise choices as to the NEXT BIG ONE in same arena?

3. If given $3-5B to spend on PREPAREDNESS for DC Metro area what do we have to show for it?

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 24, 2015 @ 10:28 am

The longest serving Director of the independent Executive Branch Agency FEMA was Director James Lee Witt who served from 1993-2001!

Not sure of Craig Fugate’s length of service so does anyone know?

BTW IMO Florida and Ohio OEM two of the better EM shops!

A dedicated budget, staff, and clear lines of authority to the Governor.

Looking like possible referral to DoJ by House of Representatives over violations of classified document procedures by HC!

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 28, 2015 @ 8:04 am

July 28th, 2015 today and exactly 101 years ago fighting broke out beginning the suicide of Western Civilization known as World War I.

In that first year of the Great War at least five million dead and wounded from the fighting. Eventually 40 million and double that if you include the so-called SPANISH FLU that began at Fort Riley, Kansas!


Comment by William R. Cumming

July 28, 2015 @ 8:11 am

What did we know and when did we know it? What did she know and when did she know it?

I consider myself somewhat expert on personnel security policy and issues and document classification and security.

Apparently the US State Department has long had no real understanding of what is called DERIVATIVE CLASSIFICATION and IMO probably no one in the STATE DEPARTMENT ever briefed or trained Hillary Clinton on document security and classification and in particular the difference between original classification authority and derivative classification authority.


Comment by William R. Cumming

July 28, 2015 @ 8:21 am

Correction and wiki extract:

The United States government classification system is established under Executive Order 13526, the latest in a long series of executive orders on the topic. Issued by President Barack Obama in 2009, Executive Order 13526 replaced earlier executive orders on the topic and modified the regulations codified to 32 C.F.R. 2001. It lays out the system of classification, declassification, and handling of national security information generated by the U.S. government and its employees and contractors, as well as information received from other governments.

The desired degree of secrecy about such information is known as its sensitivity. Sensitivity is based upon a calculation of the damage to national security that the release of the information would cause. The United States has three levels of classification: Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret. Each level of classification indicates an increasing degree of sensitivity. Thus, if one holds a Top Secret security clearance, one is allowed to handle information up to the level of Top Secret, including Secret and Confidential information. If one holds a Secret clearance, one may not then handle Top Secret information, but may handle Secret and Confidential classified information.

The United States does not have British-style Official Secrets Act; instead, several laws protect classified information, including the Espionage Act of 1917, the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. A 2013 report to Congress noted that “…criminal statutes that may apply to the publication of classified defense information … have been used almost exclusively to prosecute individuals with access to classified information (and a corresponding obligation to protect it), who make it available to foreign agents, or to foreign agents who obtain classified information unlawfully while present in the United States. While prosecutions appear to be on the rise, leaks of classified information to the press have relatively infrequently been punished as crimes, and we are aware of no case in which a publisher of information obtained through unauthorized disclosure by a government employee has been prosecuted for publishing it.” The legislative and executive branches of government, including US presidents, have frequently leaked classified information to journalists. Congress has repeatedly resisted or failed to pass a law that generally outlaws disclosing classified information. Most espionage law only criminalizes national defense information; only a jury can decide if a given document meets that criterion, and judges have repeatedly said that being “classified” does not necessarily make information become related to the “national defense”. Furthermore, by law, information may not be classified merely because it would be embarrassing or to cover illegal activity; information may only be classified to protect national security objectives.

1 Terminology
2 Levels of classification used by the U.S. government
2.1 Core secrets
2.2 Top Secret
2.3 Secret
2.4 Confidential
2.5 Public Trust
2.6 Unclassified
2.6.1 Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)
2.7 Restricted
2.8 Classified classifications
3 Proper procedure for classifying U.S. government documents
3.1 Classification categories
4 Classifying non-government-generated information
5 Protecting classified information
5.1 Facilities and handling
5.2 Lifetime commitment
6 Classifications and clearances between U.S. government agencies
7 Categories that are not classifications
7.1 Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) and Special Access Programs (SAP)
7.1.1 Access to compartmented information
7.1.2 Groups of compartmented information
7.2 Handling caveats
7.3 Controls on atomic-energy information
7.3.1 SIGMA categories and Critical Nuclear Weapon Design Information
7.3.2 Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information
8 Sharing of classified information with other countries
9 Claims of U.S. government misuse of the classification system
10 Responsible agencies
11 Declassification
11.1 Automatic declassification
11.2 Systematic declassification
11.3 Mandatory Declassification Review
11.4 Freedom of Information Act
11.5 History of National Archives and Records Administration role
11.5.1 Presidential libraries
12 See also
13 Notes
14 References
15 External links

Derivative Classification Activity 1996-2011
In the U.S., information is called “classified” if it has been assigned one of the three levels: Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret. Information that is not so labeled is called “Unclassified information”. The term declassified is used for information that has had its classification removed, and downgraded refers to information that has been assigned a lower classification level but is still classified. Many documents are automatically downgraded and then declassified after some number of years. The U.S. government uses the terms Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU), Sensitive Security Information (SSI), Critical Program Information (CPI), For Official Use Only (FOUO), or Law Enforcement Sensitive (LES) to refer to information that is not Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret, but whose dissemination is still restricted. Reasons for such restrictions can include export controls, privacy regulations, court orders, and ongoing criminal investigations, as well as national security. Information that was never classified is sometimes referred to as “open source” by those who work in classified activities. Public Safety Sensitive (PSS) refers to information that is similar to Law Enforcement Sensitive but could be shared between the various public safety disciplines (Law Enforcement, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services). Peter Louis Galison, a historian and Director in the History of Science Dept. at Harvard University, claims that the U.S. Government produces more classified information than unclassified information.

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 28, 2015 @ 12:26 pm

Senate staff report on NFIP Storm Sandy claims:


Comment by William R. Cumming

July 29, 2015 @ 7:38 am

A prestigious group pf signers has produced a manifesto declaring war on autonomous weapons.

Perhaps its anonymous weapons that is the real problem.

The failure to prohibit land mines creates a daily cost in human suffering long after the battles over.

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 30, 2015 @ 8:02 am

Is the USA and its governments OPEN SOCIETIES or is this a fiction?

My estimate is that up to 85% of all federal programs, functions, and activities not available in general to the public.

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