April 22, 2014
The U.S. government lately is sharing less information with Congress about weapons-of-mass-destruction proliferation concerns, a new Capitol Hill study finds.
“The number of unclassified reports to Congress on WMD-related issues has decreased considerably in recent years,” concludes an April 16 report by the Congressional Research Service, the internal research arm of the legislative branch.
Congress requires that the government report on the nuclear and missile programs of Iran, North Korea and Syria. Members of select House and Senate panels — such as the intelligence and armed-services committees, as well as the appropriations subpanels on defense — have access to some classified findings on weapons of mass destruction-related topics.
Lawmakers not on those panels can request closed-door briefings from administration officials on specific concerns, according to Steven Aftergood, who directs the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy.
But Congress actually has moved to reduce reporting requirements on unconventional weapon concerns, according to the CRS report. Under the fiscal 2013 Intelligence Authorization Act, a mandate for the intelligence community to provide a yearly unclassified report on the “Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions” was lifted.
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