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In and About Town …

Trysts, Congress, and national security.  Forget the sex.  They should be looking at the large numbers of foreign nationals that work on Capitol Hill in Member and Committee offices.  The security checks, and other controls for these folks, is long overdue.

Sanctions laws and regulations, state sponsor of terrorism Iran, and Twitter.  And a view from outside the beltway on the same topic.

The State Department has published new restrictions on the export of firearms to Thailand.  According to the notice, “Bangkok and local registrars are prohibited to issue the permit for order and import of the rifles with the calibers of .223, .30-06, .308, and .338, or equivalent, or under any different name, to firearm shops and ordinary people for 6 months, June 1 – November 30, 2009.”  Read the complete notice, here.

Nuclear engineer and son of the maximum leader in Havana, Fidel Castro, Jr., is in Europe this week likely talking nuclear energy.  The more things change, the more they stay the same it seems.  Maybe some day soon, it will not just be Iran and North Korea causing trouble for the U.S. and its allies when it comes to the spread of nuclear technology.  We may have Cuba, Brazil, and others in the Western Hemisphere, trying to expand the nuclear umbrella, yet again.

At a lunch this week with Mexican Embassy officials in Washington, DC, the speaker reminded the audience that Mexico had imposed sanctions on the U.S. back in March for refusing to allow Mexican trucks on U.S. roads.  Now they have also filed a lawsuit.  It is interesting.  After decades of opposing U.S. sanctions on state sponsor of terror Cuba, as well as openly cooperating with the Cuban regime,  the Mexican government has come around on the use of economic sanctions.  One wonders if the Mexican government will ever use them against its enemies?

According to the Wisconsin Project’s Iran Watch, the Iranian Aerospace Research Institute is using U.S. technology in its high performance supercomputers.  In an article at IT Exchange, a spokesperson for Iran Watch said that “[i]t is more than troubling that an Iranian aerospace entity, affiliated with the government, and involved in sophisticated missile research and production, is using U.S. computer equipment for its development work.”  The U.S. company whose technology made its way to Iran appears to be in contact with the U.S. Government and is denying that it shipped or facilitated the alleged export.

In government, a secret is sometimes a good thing, especially in the field of national security or intelligence.  As of late, however, the leadership in Congress seems to have it the other way around.

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