The Evening CSIS June 1, 2015
June 1, 2015
Welcome to The Evening CSIS—my daily guide to key insights CSIS brings to the events of the day plus HIGHLY RECOMMENDED content from around the world. To subscribe, please click here and if you want to view this in your browser, click here.
This edition of The Evening CSIS is published in memory of Joseph Robinette “Beau” Biden III.
As of midnight Sunday, the US Senate allowed several provisions of the Patriot Act to expire — including Section 215, which allowed bulk phone and business records collection, reports Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post.
USA Today ’s Erin Kelly today published a concise piece that explains “what happens now that the Patriot Act provisions expired .”
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Denise Zheng author a new commentary today, “Electronic Surveillance After Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act,” in which she discusses section 215 but goes on to say that “Congress should prepare for a larger battle ahead exactly two years from today—June 1, 2017—when Section 702 of FISA, which governs foreign intelligence collection overseas, the most valuable sources of intelligence for terrorism and other national security investigations, expires.”
CSIS’s James Andrew Lewis has written extensively on surveillance issues, including “Simple Tests for Surveillance.”
Seeking Calmer Waters
Following this weekend’s Shangri-La Dialogue, issues surrounding territorial claims in the South China Sea continue to simmer, reports BBC’s Katty Kay, who caught up with Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in Haiphong, a naval port close to Vietnam’s border with China. This is a short clip of her interview that is very much worth watching.
Meanwhile, in Washington, President Obama said that land reclamation projects in the South China Sea are “counterproductive,” Reuters reports.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Mike Green, Mira Rapp Hooper, and Ernie Bower coauthored a new commentary today for CSIS’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI): “Carter Defends the South China Sea at Shangri-La.”
And CSIS’s Bonnie Glaser writes in a new commentary for AMTI about “China’s Missed Opportunity at the Shangri-La Dialogue.”
AMTI has all the latest satellite images and analysis of island building and land reclamation in the South China Sea. Explore these images and analysis by visiting the AMTI micro website.
Another good read ICYMI is CFR’s “Five Takeaways from China’s Bold, New Military Strategy,” by Lauren Dickey and Stephen E. Liszewski.
In that Number
Investigators with the Department of Homeland Security went undercover and were able to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through checkpoints in 95 percent of trials at some of the US’ busiest airports.
Source: CBS News.
Asked: What is Section 215 of the Patriot Act, and what does its expiration mean for intelligence gathering?
Answered: Denise Zheng, deputy director and senior fellow, CSIS Strategic Technologies Program: Section 215 conferred subpoena-like authority on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to order companies, organizations, and other third-party entities to turn over records and other tangible things to federal investigators. It served as the basis for the National Security Agency’s (NSA) controversial bulk telephone metadata collection program disclosed to the public by Edward Snowden, although the legality of the program is contested.
Current and former intelligence community officials and FBI director James Comey have said that Section 215 provides an essential tool and that losing the authority will “severely” impact terrorism investigations, but the truth is that the government can most likely access the same information through other surveillance statutes that did not expire.
National Security Letters and pen register/trap and trace orders enable government access to a broad range of business records and telephone metadata held domestically. Section 702 orders under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and other overseas surveillance activities conducted under Executive Order 12333 enable the collection of the contents of certain foreign communications for terrorism investigations. Together these surveillance authorities may fill the intelligence gap created by the lapse of Section 215, although it may be slower, narrower, and more cumbersome. The Department of Justice may also invoke the grandfather clause built into the sunset provision to continue to use Section 215 authorities for approved investigations that started prior to June 1, 2015.
Read the full analysis here.
One to Watch
Nedra Pickler (@nedrapickler ) is a White House correspondent for the Associated Press. Nedra’s day-to-day coverage of some of the most complex issues facing the Obama administration make her one to watch.
Although not about to take any catwalk by storm, the US Army’s new combat uniforms, with an updated camouflage pattern, have been released and will be available to soldiers starting July 1. According to Col. Robert Mortlock, program manager of soldier protection and individual equipment, the new uniforms have gone through “the most rigorous combat uniform camouflage testing in history.
CSIS’s Sarah Mendelson’s “Outsourcing Oppression: Trafficked Labor from North Korea,” Foreign Affairs, is highly recommended reading.
CSIS will host Fed governor Lael Brainard for a major public address on “US Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy.” RSVP or watch live at 10:00 a.m.
This Town Tomorrow
USIP and the FP Group will host their fourth biannual PeaceGame conference on the topic of “Combatting Extremism’s Contagion: Creating a Counter Strategy and Stemming the Tide of Foreign Fighters.” Click here to view the powerful lineup of participants. And follow at #PeaceGame.
CSIS on Demand
Everyone should watch this amazing 4-minute video on “The Past, Present, and Future of War Funding” and how US overseas contingency operations factor into the current defense budget debate.
The CogitAsia podcast this week goes in-depth on Xi Jinping’s economic reform efforts, as they go hand in hand with an anticorruption drive.
I Like It Like That
If you happened to have dropped off dropped off an extremely rare Apple I computer at the Clean Bay Area recycling facility in Milpitas, CA, or know someone who did, you might want to have them get in touch with Clean Bay Area so they can claim their $100,000 check.
You will get an incredible smile when you watch this clip of cancer survivor Harriette Thompson, who became the oldest woman ever to complete a marathon at the age of 92 years and 93 days, at San Diego’s Rock ‘n’ Roll race yesterday.
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