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What Went Wrong with the FISA Court

March 26, 2015 Comments off

What Went Wrong with the FISA Court
Source: Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court is no longer serving its constitutional function of providing a check on the executive branch’s ability to obtain Americans’ private communications. Dramatic shifts in technology and law have changed the role of the FISA Court since its creation in 1978 — from reviewing government applications to collect communications in specific cases, to issuing blanket approvals of sweeping data collection programs affecting millions of Americans.

Under today’s foreign intelligence surveillance system, the government’s ability to collect information about ordinary Americans’ lives has increased exponentially while judicial oversight has been reduced to near-nothingness. This report concludes that the role of today’s FISA Court no longer comports with constitutional requirements, including the strictures of Article III and the Fourth Amendment. The report lays out several steps Congress should take to help restore the FISA Court’s legitimacy.

Annual Report of the Departments of Health and Human Services and Justice: Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program FY 2014

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Annual Report of the Departments of Health and Human Services and Justice: Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program FY 2014 (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/U.S. Department of Justice

During Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, the Federal government won or negotiated over $2.3 billion in health care fraud judgments and settlements , and it attained additional administrative impositions in health care fraud cases and proceedings. As a result of these efforts, as well as those of preceding years, in FY 2014, approximately $3.3 billion returned to the Federal government or paid to private persons. Of this $3.3 billion, the Medicare Trust Funds3 received transfers of approximately $1.9 billion during this period, and over $523 million in Federal Medicaid money was similarly transferred separately to the Treasury as a result of these efforts. The HCFAC account has returned over $27.8 billion to the Medicare Trust Funds since the inception of the Program in 1997.

In FY 2014, the Department of Justice (DOJ) opened 924 new criminal health care fraud investigations. Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges in 496 cases involving 805 defendants. A total of 734 defendants were convicted of health care fraud-related crimes during the year. Also in FY 2014, DOJ opened 782 new civil health care fraud investigations and had 957 civil health care fraud matters pending at the end of the fiscal year. In FY 2014, the FBI investigative efforts resulted in over 605 operational disruptions of criminal fraud organizations and the dismantlement of the criminal hierarchy of more than 142 health care fraud criminal enterprises.

FBI — Progress Report: Panel Conducts Review of FBI Since 9/11 Commission Report

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Progress Report: Panel Conducts Review of FBI Since 9/11 Commission Report
Source: FBI

A congressionally mandated panel charged with reviewing the FBI’s implementation of recommendations contained in the 9/11 Commission Report in 2004 today issued its findings.

The release of the 9/11 Review Commission’s report, The FBI: Protecting the Homeland in the 21st Century, followed 14 months of research, interviews, briefings, and field visits by commissioners and their 13-member staff. The commission—which included former Attorney General Edwin Meese, former Congressman Tim Roemer, and Georgetown University professor Bruce Hoffman—began its review in 2013 at the FBI’s request after Congress called for an appraisal of the Bureau’s progress since the 9/11 Commission issued its recommendations in 2004. A classified draft of the Review Commission’s report was sent to Congress and to other agencies mentioned in the report; the FBI released the unclassified version for the public.

That report, which can be found on FBI.gov, concludes that the FBI has “transformed itself over the last 10 years” and “made measurable progress building a threat-based, intelligence-driven national security organization.” The commission also makes recommendations on where the FBI can improve.

CRS — Cybersecurity and Information Sharing: Legal Challenges and Solutions (March 16, 2015)

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Cybersecurity and Information Sharing: Legal Challenges and Solutions (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Over the course of the last year, a host of cyberattacks has been perpetrated on a number of high profile American companies. The high profile cyberattacks of 2014 and early 2015 appear to be indicative of a broader trend: the frequency and ferocity of cyberattacks are increasing, posing grave threats to the national interests of the United States. While considerable debate exists with regard to the best strategies for protecting America’s various cyber-systems and promoting cybersecurity, one point of general agreement amongst cyber-analysts is the perceived need for enhanced and timely exchange of cyber-threat intelligence both within the private sector and between the private sector and the government. Nonetheless, there are many reasons why entities may opt to not participate in a cyber-information sharing scheme, including the potential liability that could result from sharing internal cyber-threat information with other private companies or the government. More broadly, the legal issues surrounding cybersecurity information sharing— whether it be with regard to sharing between two private companies or the dissemination of cyber-intelligence within the federal government—are complex and have few certain resolutions. In this vein, this report examines the various legal issues that arise with respect to the sharing of cybersecurity intelligence, with a special focus on two distinct concepts: (1) sharing of cyberinformation within the government’s possession and (2) sharing of cyber-information within the possession of the private sector.

CRS — International Drug Control Policy: Background and U.S. Responses (March 16, 2015)

March 25, 2015 Comments off

International Drug Control Policy: Background and U.S. Responses (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The global illegal drug trade represents a multi-dimensional challenge that has implications for U.S. national interests as well as the international community. Common illegal drugs trafficked internationally include cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. According to the U.S. intelligence community, international drug trafficking can undermine political and regional stability and bolster the role and capabilities of transnational criminal organizations in the drug trade. Key regions of concern include Latin America and Afghanistan, which are focal points in U.S. efforts to combat the production and transit of cocaine and heroin, respectively. Drug use and addiction have the potential to negatively affect the social fabric of communities, hinder economic development, and place an additional burden on national public health infrastructures.

The Net Neutrality Order: It’s Worse Than We Thought

March 25, 2015 Comments off

The Net Neutrality Order: It’s Worse Than We Thought
Source: NERA Economic Consulting

On 12 March 2015, the FCC released its much anticipated Report and Order on Remand, Declaratory Ruling, and Order (Order) that reclassified providers of broadband Internet access service (BIAS) as providers subject to Title II regulation as stipulated in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In the Order, the FCC took note of a September 2014 NERA White Paper on the economic repercussions of Title II Reclassification. CALinnovates, a California-based technology group, had commissioned the NERA White Paper in submitting its comments to the FCC for the then-pending Order.

On 17 March 2015, Dr. Christian Dippon and Jonathan Falk responded to the FCC’s comments on their paper in “The Net Neutrality Order: It’s Worse Than We Thought.”

Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2014 National Report

March 25, 2015 Comments off

Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2014 National Report
Source: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (DoJ)

Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2014 National Report is the fourth edition of a comprehensive report on juvenile crime, victimization, and the juvenile justice system. The report consists of the most requested information on juveniles and the juvenile justice system in the U.S. Developed by the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ) for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the report draws on reliable data and relevant research to provide a comprehensive and insightful view of young offenders and victims, and what happens to those who enter the juvenile justice system in the United States. The report offers to Congress, state legislators, other state and local policymakers, educators, juvenile justice professionals, and concerned citizens-empirically based answers to frequently asked questions about the nature of juvenile crime and victimization and about the justice system’s response.

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