CIA Posts its own X-Files

from the CIA blog

The CIA declassified hundreds of documents in 1978 detailing the Agency’s investigations into Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). The documents date primarily from the late 1940s and 1950s.

To help navigate the vast amount of data contained in our FOIA UFO collection, we’ve decided to highlight a few documents both skeptics and believers will find interesting. Below you will find five documents we think X-Files character Agent Fox Mulder would love to use to try and persuade others of the existence of extraterrestrial activity. We also pulled five documents we think his skeptical partner, Agent Dana Scully, could use to prove there is a scientific explanation for UFO sightings.

The truth is out there; click on the links to find it.

Top 5 CIA Documents Mulder Would Love To Get His Hands On:

  1. Flying Saucers Reported Over East Germany, 1952 (PDF 325 KB)
  2. Minutes of Branch Chief’s Meeting on UFOs, 11 August 1952 (PDF 162 KB)
  3. Flying Saucers Reported Over Spain and North Africa, 1952 (PDF 266 KB)
  4. Survey of Flying Saucer Reports, 1 August 1952 (PDF 175 KB)
  5. Flying Saucers Reported Over Belgian Congo Uranium Mines, 1952 (PDF 262 KB)

Top 5 CIA Documents Scully Would Love To Get Her Hands On:

  1. Scientific Advisory Panel on Unidentified Flying Objects, 14-17 January 1953 (PDF 907 KB)
  2. Office Memorandum on Flying Saucers, 15 March 1949 (PDF 110 KB)
  3. Memorandum to the CIA Director on Flying Saucers, 2 October 1952 (PDF 443 KB)
  4. Meeting of the OSI Advisory Group on UFOs, 21 January 1953 (PDF 194 KB)
  5. Memorandum for the Record on Flying Saucers, 3 December 1952 (PDF 179 KB)

December 15 is Bill of Rights Day

from –bill-of-rights

Does freedom of speech protect the right to wear protest armbands at school?

Yes it does – Held by Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) – To protest the Vietnam War, Mary Beth Tinker and her brother wore black armbands to school. Fearing a disruption, the administration prohibited wearing such armbands. The Tinkers were removed from school when they failed to comply, but the Supreme Court ruled that their actions were protected by the First Amendment.

Do school administrators need a warrant to search a student suspected of wrongdoing?

No they do not – Held by New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985) – A teacher accused T.L.O. of smoking in the bathroom. When she denied the allegation, the principal searched her purse and found cigarettes and marijuana paraphernalia. A family court declared T.L.O. a delinquent. The Supreme Court ruled that her rights were not violated since students have reduced expectations of privacy in school.

December 15 is Bill of Rights Day, celebrating the day that the Constitution’s first 10 Amendments were ratified in 1791. The Educational Resources section of gives students and others a refresher on our Constitutional freedoms today, focusing on landmark federal court cases.

The Bill of Rights’ impact on young people is the focus of courtroom-ready and classroom-ready activities that lay out what is and is not permitted under the:

In a 2½-minute video(link is external), high school students relate specific Amendments and rights to their experiences and beliefs. Material on the Miranda v. Arizona case, which expanded rights under the Fifth Amendment, will be the theme of 2016 Law Day, “Miranda: Not Just Words.”

For additional resources on Bill of Rights Day, see this Federal Judges Association page(link is external), and the Civics Renewal Network(link is external).

FDR’s Speech Collection Now Online

fdrOn the 74th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum made FDR’s Master Speech File available online in digital format.  This file contains over 46,000 pages of drafts, reading copies, and transcripts created throughout FDR‘s political career, as well as the library’s complete collection of audio recordings of FDR’s voice.

It is  one of the most requested collections in the archive at the nation’s first presidential library.

Included in this collection of FDR’s speeches is perhaps his most famous one, delivered to Congress and the nation on Dec. 8, 1941 –

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”





Observing Transgender Day of Remembrance

from U.S. Dept. of Justice Blog

Courtesy of Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division


Today, on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, the Department of Justice honors the courage and the memory of victims of anti-transgender discrimination and violence.  As Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch observed earlier this week, “During this Transgender Awareness Week… which sadly commemorates lives that have been lost to anti-transgender violence – we recommit ourselves to the principles” that all transgender individuals are deserving of basic respect, equal treatment and the right to “live their lives safely and with support.”

Transgender individuals – people whose gender identity or internal sense of being male or female is different from the gender marker assigned to them at birth – face enormous obstacles.  According to a 2011 survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, discrimination against transgender individuals is pervasive.  According to that survey, 63 percent of respondents said they had experienced a serious act of discrimination that had a major impact on their quality of life and ability to sustain themselves financially or emotionally.  The survey further found that transgender individuals are four times more likely to live in extreme poverty than the general population, and 41 percent reported attempting suicide.  They are also too often the target of violent crime, including murder.  Importantly, the survey also found that transgender individuals of color fared worse than their white counterparts across the board.

In recent years, the department has worked aggressively to use all the tools at our disposal to address violence and discrimination against transgender individuals.  For example, in the Civil Rights Division, under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, we can investigate and prosecute gender-identity motivated violence.  We continue to engage in proactive outreach to the transgender community to encourage individuals to seek help from law enforcement when they believe a hate crime has taken place, and have helped train thousands of law enforcement officers on the new law and on the importance of responding to victims of anti-transgender violence.  In situations where violence has occurred, the Community Relations Service has worked with the communities affected by that violence to build bridges – by facilitating communication and building trust – with the goal of preventing future violence.

Further, all across the department we have been working, often in close partnership with other federal agencies, to end all forms of discrimination, including harassment, based on gender identity, transgender status and nonconformity with gender stereotypes.  While the Shepard-Byrd Act may be the only federal statute that explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity, the department has taken the position that federal prohibitions against sex discrimination in employment and education encompass discrimination against transgender individuals.  This year alone the Civil Rights Division has filed a number of briefs on behalf of transgender students and individuals who have been subjected to harassment and denied equal treatment and employment opportunity.

Despite the considerable work that has been done, we fully recognize that there is still much more that is still needed to break the cycle of discrimination and violence that affects far too many transgender individuals.  That is why in the upcoming weeks I, along with my colleagues from across the department, will be meeting with a number of transgender advocates and civil rights groups to learn more about the challenges faced by this community and to hear suggestions about additional steps the department can take to more effectively address anti-transgender discrimination and violence.  I look forward to this and many other conversations about this important issue, and to working towards a country where no one i

Latest Hate Crime Statistics Now Available

During the year 2014, law enforcement agencies reported 5,479 hate crime incidents involving 6,418 offenses to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.  The good news is that the number of hate crime incidents went down  (5,928 criminal incidents involving 6,933 offenses were reported in 2013).

A hate crime is defined as “a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, Congress has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.” Hate itself is not a crime—and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.”

hatecrimesSome of the highlights from this latest report:

  • Of the 5,462 single-bias incidents reported in 2014, 47 percent were racially motivated. Other motivators included sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, gender identity, disability, and gender.
  • Of the 6,418 reported hate crime offenses, 63.1 percent were crimes against persons and 36.1 percent were crimes against property. The remaining offenses were crimes against society, like illegal drug activity or prostitution.
  • The majority of the 4,048 reported crimes against persons involved intimidation (43.1 percent) and simple assault (37.4 percent).
  • Most of the 2,317 hate crimes against property were acts of destruction, damage, and vandalism (73.1 percent).
  • Individuals were overwhelmingly the most common victim of a single-bias hate crime, accounting for 82.4 percent of the reported 6,418 offenses. The remaining victim types were businesses, financial institutions, religious organizations, government, and society or the public.
  • Also during 2014, law enforcement agencies reported 5,192 known offenders in 5,479 bias-motivated incidents. (In the UCR Program, “known offender” does not imply that the suspect’s identity is known, only that some aspect of the suspect was identified by a victim or witness—such as race, ethnicity, or age.)

Beginning in January 2015, law enforcement agencies started collecting more detailed information.  The religion category has expanded bias type and the added bias type of anti-Arab will be reported in the race/ethnicity/ancestry category.  Future reports will contain this added data.



Criminal Justice Act Hearings to Be Aired Online

scales-of-justice-glass-effectOne of the most significant pieces of legislation concerning the federal criminal justice system, the Criminal Justice Act (“CJA”), 18 U.S.C. § 3006A, secures the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel for federal criminal defendants.  Enacted in 1964, the CJA provides funding for the representation of individuals with limited financial resources in federal criminal proceedings. In each federal district, a plan exists for providing representation through private panel attorneys and, where established, federal public or community defender offices.

The Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Criminal Justice Act is charged with conducting a comprehensive and impartial review of the CJA program.  The Committee will take a hard look at the strengths and weaknesses of the program, and invites participation from all stakeholders to accomplish this important task. The Committee is composed of federal judges, defense attorneys, a federal court employee, a former federal prosecutor, and a law professor. It is chaired by Judge Kathleen Cardone, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.

The first of a series of public hearings, conducted as part of a comprehensive and impartial review of the Criminal Justice Act, will take place November 16-17, 2015, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and can be seen live via online video.

The hearings will be held in the State Capitol Building, from 1:15-5:30 p.m. on November 16 and 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. on November 17. Live video, and further information about the review process, is available at  

Over the next several months, additional hearings will be held in Miami; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; Birmingham, Ala.; Philadelphia; and Minneapolis.

The Committee also welcomes written comments by email, at . Comments also can be mailed to:

CJA Study Committee
Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building, Suite 4-210
One Columbus Circle N.E.
Washington, DC 20544.

Comments may be submitted anonymously, by requesting that identifying information be concealed.

For more information about this study check out the FAQ section of the Committee’s webpage.

Higher Education Act Turns 50


During his 1964 presidential campaign, Lyndon Johnson declared a “war on poverty” and challenged Americans to build a “Great Society” that eliminated the troubles of the poor.  Part of his new programs included passing Public Law 89-329, The Higher Education Act of 1965, which he signed into law on November 8, 1965 at his alma mater, Texas State University.

The purpose of this legislation was “to strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education” as well as increase accessibility of higher education to all.  The law increased federal money given to universities, created scholarships, gave low-interest loans for students, and established a National Teachers Corps.  It promised to remove financial barriers to college for any student academically qualified.

The HEA of 1965 opened the doors of higher education to millions of academically qualified students. Like most bills that pass Congress, the HEA had resulted from numerous compromises. Congress has had several opportunities to review and modify the legislation over the years, but a solid foundation had been laid in 1965 in San Marcos, Texas, establishing a federal role in providing need-based grants, work-study opportunities, and loans to students willing to invest in themselves. Outreach programs were also created to help the most economically disadvantaged students.

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