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Documents in the News — Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program – Foreword, Findings and Conclusions, and Executive Summary

December 9, 2014 Comments off

Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program – Foreword, Findings and Conclusions, and Executive Summary
Source: U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

The Committee makes the following findings and conclusions

#1 The CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.

#2 The CIA’s justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness.

#3 The interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others.

#4 The conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were harsher than the CIA had represented to policymakers and others.

#5 The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice, impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.

#6 The CIA has actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight of the program.

#7 The CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making.

#8 The CIA’s operation and management of the program complicated, and in some cases impeded, the national security missions of other Executive Branch agencies.

#9 The CIA impeded oversight by the CIA’s Office of Inspector General.

#10 The CIA coordinated the release of classified information to the media, including inaccurate information concerning the effectiveness of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques.

#11 The CIA was unprepared as it began operating its Detention and Interrogation Program more than six months after being granted detention authorities.

#12 The CIA’s management and operation of its Detention and Interrogation Program was deeply flawed throughout the program’s duration, particularly so in 2002 and early 2003.

#13 Two contract psychologists devised the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques and played a central role in the operation, assessments, and management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. By 2005, the CIA had overwhelmingly outsourced operations related to the program.

#14 CIA detainees were subjected to coercive interrogation techniques that had not been approved by the Department of Justice or had not been authorized by CIA Headquarters.

#15 The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained, and held individuals who did not meet the legal standard for detention. The CIA’s claims about the number of detainees held and subjected to its enhanced Interrogation techniques were inaccurate.

#16 The CIA failed to adequately evaluate the effectiveness of its enhanced interrogation techniques.

#17 The CIA rarely reprimanded or held personnel accountable for serious and significant violations, inappropriate activities, and systemic and individual management failures.

#18 The CIA marginalized and ignored numerous internal critiques, criticisms, and objections concerning the operation and management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.

#19 The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program was inherently unsustainable and had effectively ended by 2006 due to unauthorized press disclosures, reduced cooperation from other nations, and legal and oversight concerns.

#20 The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program damaged the United States’ standing in the world, and resulted in other significant monetary and non-monetary costs.

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U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations — Subcommittee finds Wall Street commodities actions add risk to economy, businesses, consumers

November 25, 2014 Comments off

Subcommittee finds Wall Street commodities actions add risk to economy, businesses, consumers
Source: U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations

Wall Street banks have become heavily involved with physical commodities markets, increasing risks to financial stability, industry, consumers and markets, a two-year investigation by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has found.

The investigation’s findings, contained in a 396-page bipartisan report, add important new details to the public debate about the breakdown of the traditional barrier between commercial activities and banking. Included are previously unknown details about activities by Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, including Goldman Sachs’ controversial management of warehouses storing most of the warranted aluminum in the United States. The new details raise new questions about whether such activities harm businesses and consumers and allow for possible manipulation of the markets.

See also:
Wall Street Bank Involvement With Physical Commodities (Day One)
Wall Street Bank Involvement With Physical Commodities (Day Two)

Government Report Elimination List

November 19, 2014 Comments off

Government Report Elimination List
Source: U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) introduced bipartisan legislation that would eliminate, modify or consolidate over 300 unnecessary, duplicative and outdated reporting requirements from more than two dozen government agencies. Sen. Warner, who serves as Chairman of Senate Budget Committee’s Task Force on Government Performance, and Sen. Ayotte, who serves as Ranking Member, introduced the Government Reports Elimination Act of 2014, which will help save staff time and other resources by eliminating the reports, which include a report on violations of the Dog and Cat Fur Act, which has had only one violation in five years, and a report on the Social Security Administration’s printing activities, which is estimated to take 95 employees approximately 85 workdays but has likely never been utilized or even reviewed.

Wastebook 2014: What Washington doesn’t want you to read.

October 24, 2014 Comments off

Wastebook 2014: What Washington doesn’t want you to read.
Source: U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK)

Gambling monkeys, dancing zombies and mountain lions on treadmills are just a few projects exposed in Wastebook 2014 – highlighting $25 billion in Washington’s worst spending of the year.

Wastebook 2014 — the report Washington doesn’t want you to read —reveals the 100 most outlandish government expenditures this year, costing taxpayers billions of dollars.

Examples of wasteful spending highlighted in “Wastebook 2014” include:

  • Coast guard party patrols – $100,000
  • Watching grass grow – $10,000
  • State department tweets @ terrorists – $3 million
  • Swedish massages for rabbits – $387,000
  • Paid vacations for bureaucrats gone wild – $20 million
  • Mountain lions on a treadmill – $856,000
  • Synchronized swimming for sea monkeys – $50,000
  • Pentagon to destroy $16 billion in unused ammunition — $1 billion
  • Scientists hope monkey gambling unlocks secrets of free will –$171,000
  • Rich and famous rent out their luxury pads tax free – $10 million
  • Studying “hangry” spouses stabbing voodoo dolls – $331,000
  • Promoting U.S. culture around the globe with nose flutists – $90 million

CRS — Senate Unanimous Consent Agreements: Potential Effects on the Amendment Process (August 15, 2014)

August 25, 2014 Comments off

Senate Unanimous Consent Agreements: Potential Effects on the Amendment Process (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Senate frequently enters into unanimous consent agreements (also called “UC agreements”) that establish procedure on a bill that the Senate is considering or soon will consider. There are few restrictions on what these agreements can provide, and once agreed to, they can be altered only by a further unanimous consent action. In recent practice, the Senate often begins by adopting a general UC agreement, then adds elements in piecemeal fashion as debate continues. UC agreements often contain provisions affecting the floor amending process, most often in one or more of the ways detailed below.

CRS — The Legislative Process on the Senate Floor: An Introduction (August 13, 2014)

August 18, 2014 Comments off

The Legislative Process on the Senate Floor: An Introduction (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The standing rules of the Senate promote deliberation by permitting Senators to debate at length and by precluding a simple majority from ending debate when they are prepared to vote to approve a bill. This right of extended debate permits filibusters that can be brought to an end if the Senate invokes cloture, usually by a vote of three-fifths of all Senators. Even then, consideration can typically continue under cloture for an additional 30 hours. The possibility of filibusters encourages the Senate to seek consensus whenever possible and to conduct business under the terms of unanimous consent agreements that limit the time available for debate and amending.

Report: Women Business Owners Face Gap in Lending, Federal Contracts

August 15, 2014 Comments off

Report: Women Business Owners Face Gap in Lending, Federal Contracts
Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Women-owned businesses are a $3 trillion economic force and support 23 million jobs but still face significant barriers compared to their male-owned counterparts when it comes to obtaining loans and growing their businesses, according to a report released today by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Women entrepreneurs account for just $1 out of every $23 in small business lending, despite representing 30 percent of all small companies. Women also are more likely to be turned down for loans or receive less favorable terms than men, according to the report.

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