Government Documents

Government Document in the News

On Tuesday, June 8th, the joint report by two Senate committees on intelligence sharing and security failures before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was released to the general public.  The 128-page report is called Examining the U.S. Capitol Attack: A Review of the Security, Planning, and Response Failures on January 6.  It is a Staff Report of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Rules and Administration.


50th Anniversary of the Pentagon Papers (1971)

Between 1967 and 1969, a Pentagon task force created a history of U.S. decision-making in Vietnam, using classified documents from the Pentagon, CIA, State department and the White House.  Although the study was classified top secret, a former Defense Department employee named Daniel Ellsberg copied the documents and turned them over to The New York Times.  

In June 1971, the Times began to publish excerpts of and articles about the documents, which showed that the U.S. government had misled the American public about the Vietnam War.  Soon after, The Washington Post followed suit.  The U.S. Department of Justice asked the federal courts to impose a prior restraint on further publication of the documents by the Times and the Post.  The case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the constitutional right to a free press overrode other concerns, allowing the publication to continue.  The materials published in 1971 represented only a small portion of the 7,000-page report.

For government resources on the topic, see the following:

Pentagon Papers (U.S. Dept. of Defense / National Archives, 2011)

The Pentagon Papers (U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research, 1971) -- available in print only in Documents Stacks: LC 14.2:P 38 X [92 pgs]

The Pentagon Papers as Described by the American Press:  Summaries of Major Newspaper Articles (U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research, 1971) [274 pgs]

Pentagon Papers in the Federal Courts (Federal Judicial Center, 2019) [121 pgs]

Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information (U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research, 2017) [36 pgs]

Intelligence Information: Need-to-Know vs. Need-to-Share  (U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research, 2011) [16 pgs]


Topic of the Month:

The Pentagon has released a government report on UFOs (or as they are now officially referred to "unidentified aerial phenomenons" or UAPs) which contains information on sightings that are difficult to explain.  The nine-page report called "Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" was issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  Essentially the report finds no evidence that UAPs were the handiwork of alien beings.

The report was requested by Congress last December when the government enacted the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2021 (HR 116-233, pg. 12) which called for the release of an unclassified report on unidentified aerial phenomenon.  A lack of data prevented the government in being able to definitively explain what were the sources of the 144 cases that a team of government experts examined.

It has been nearly 25 years since the federal government has last released any reports regarding UFOs/UAPs.  For additional information, see some of the previous reports:

The Roswell Report: Case Closed 1997 (Docs Stacks: D 301.2:R 73)

The Roswell Report:  Fact versus Fiction in New Mexico Desert  1995 (Docs Stacks: D 301.82/7:R 73)

Report of Air Force Research Regarding the "Roswell Incident"  1994

Unidentified Flying Objects  FBI reports, 1947-1949 (Pt. 1-16)

Also visit our display on the topic UFOs & UAPs: Unidentified Flying Objects or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena located on 2nd Floor South of the Marx Library.


Topics in the News -- Some recent reports from the Congressional Research Service:

The Palestinians: Overview, 2021 Aid, and U.S. Policy Issues (5/26/21)

An Update on Military Funding for the Border Wall  (5/24/21)

Membership of the 117th Congress: A Profile  (5/21/21)

Unemployment Rates During the COVID-19 Pandemic  (5/20/21)

Artificial Intelligence: Background, Selected Issues, and Policy Considerations  (5/19/21)

Judicial Nomination Statistics and Analysis: U.S. Circuit and District Courts, 1977-2020  (5/18/21)

Trends and Proposals for Corporate Tax Revenue  (5/17/21)

Coup in Burma [Myanmar]: Implications for Congress  (5/12/21)

Colonial Pipeline: The DarkSide Strikes  (5/11/21)

Weather and Climate Change: What’s the Difference?  (5/11/21)

Google v. Oracle: Supreme Court Rules for Google in Landmark Software Copyright Case  (5/10/21)

The Islamic State  (5/10/21)

Deep Fakes and National Security  (5/7/21)

Belarus: An Overview (5/5/21)

Origins of the COVID-19 Pandemic  (5/3/21)

Taxpayers in the Top Income Tax Bracket: Statistics and Observations  (5/3/21)





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