The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), isn’t exactly the best-known or most widely-enforced bit of federal legislation, and it’s been at best selectively enforced throughout it’s 71-year history. In a nutshell, it requires people and organizations – including companies – which are engaged in activities in the United States on behalf of or for the benefit of foreign bodies to register their affiliation with the U.S. government. (It’s somewhat more complicated than that, but I’m stuck at the airport on an itty-bitty 8.9-inch netbook which is better than nothing, but a PITA to type on, so…)
Given President Obama’s strong promotion of openness and transparency, you’d think this sort of thing might be kind of an important priority or something, wouldn’t you?
Well, the Counter-Espionage Section of the National Security Division of the Department of Justice – the folks in charge of the FARA – haven’t published a report on the FARA since Obama took office. A report should have been published at the end of June, but doesn’t seem to have been, which is… interesting. Another is due tomorrow; anyone want to bet on whether it actually appears?