Monthly Archives: January 2016

United States Announces Nearly $100 Million in Additional Food Assistance for Ethiopia

Sunday, January 31, 2016

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Gayle Smith announced an additional $97 million in emergency assistance for Ethiopia today, to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis resulting from the impacts of the El Niño phenomenon.

Building a foundation for CS for All

High school teacher and students in computer class

Computer science has become a new basic skill, essential in order to excel in an increasingly computational and data-intensive world.

However, access to computer science (CS) at the K-12 levels remains limited. CS is taught in less than 25 percent of U.S. high schools. Rural and high-need schools are even less likely to offer it. Moreover, in schools that do offer CS, students of color and girls often participate in very low numbers.

But this is changing through a groundswell

More at

This is an NSF News item.


Dated: JAN 15, 2016 Western Trailer Company (Western) is recalling certain model year 2015-2016 Chip B-Train trailers manufactured December 29, 2014, to February 26, 2015, equipped with certain Haldex Life Seal Type 30/3…

JET CO ( 16V013000 )

Dated: JAN 14, 2016 Jet Company, Inc. (Jet) is recalling certain model year 2014 Grain dry bulk trailers manufactured November 1, 2013, to February 14, 2014, equipped with certain CBX series Trailer Suspension Systems. …

GULF STREAM ( 16V007000 )

Dated: JAN 07, 2016 Gulf Stream Coach, Inc. (Gulf Stream) is recalling certain model year 2008-2011 Caribbean, Yellowstone and Independence, 2008-2009 Crescendo, Sun Voyager, and Toy Hauler, 2008 Sun Sport, 2008-2010 Tou…

ORION ( 16V017000 )

Dated: JAN 15, 2016 Daimler Buses North America (DBNA) is recalling certain model year 2010-2012 Orion VII transit buses manufactured April 5, 2010, to October 31, 2012, equipped with certain Recaro Ergo-M Commercial Bus…

Daily Press Briefings : Daily Press Briefing – January 29, 2016

John Kirby
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
January 29, 2016



3:18 p.m. EST

MR KIRBY: Good afternoon, everybody.

QUESTION: Happy Friday.

MR KIRBY: Indeed. Okay, I got —

QUESTION: You could be in Quebec.

MR KIRBY: We all could be. Much colder. Okay, I’ve got quite a bit here at the top, so I’m going to ask your forbearance because there’s a lot of issues out there. And I also appreciate your flexibility and patience today. I know we’re starting a little bit later, but there is a lot going on so let me get right at it.

At approximately 7:00 p.m. tonight, the State Department will make publicly available online approximately 1,000 additional pages from former Secretary Clinton’s email account. As we’ve explained previously, tonight’s release will not meet the court’s due date for producing all of the remaining emails, but we are still striving to produce as many documents as possible today. All documents posted today will be fully searchable, but in an effort to process and post as many as possible, the documents in today’s release will not have fully completed data fields on the FOIA website. We’re going to be adding this data next month and expect to be done by the end of February.

I also want to address some information that, I think, some of you have seen in the news just in the last few minutes or so. I can confirm that as part of this monthly FOIA production of former Secretary Clinton’s emails, the State Department will be denying in full seven email chains found in 22 documents, representing 37 pages. The documents are being upgraded at the request of the Intelligence Community because they contain a category of top secret information. These documents were not marked classified at the time that they were sent. We have worked closely with our interagency partners on this matter, and this dialogue with the interagency is exactly how the process is supposed to work. As to whether they were classified at the time they were sent, the State Department, in the FOIA process, is focusing on whether they need to be classified today. Questions about classification at the time they were sent are being and will be handled separately by the State Department.

These emails will be denied in full, meaning that they will not be produced online on our FOIA website. And I don’t need to remind many of you that in response to a FOIA request it’s not unusual to deny or withhold a document in full. I’m not going to speak to the content of these documents. I understand there’s great curiosity. I’m just going to put that right out at the top – I am not going to speak to the content of this email traffic.

We are aware that there’s intense interest, and we’re announcing this decision now because the FOIA process regarding these emails has been completed. While we have requested a month’s extension to complete the entire review, we did not need the extension for these particular documents.

These emails denied in full are among the emails discussed recently by the Intelligence Community inspector general in a letter to Congress. We will not, however, be confirming or speaking, as I said, to every detail provided in the documents or in the ICIG’s letter. One of these emails was also among those identified by the ICIG last summer as possibly containing top secret information. And then to remind, we are focused, as the Secretary wants us to remain focused, on producing former Secretary Clinton’s emails through the FOIA process. Producing these approximately 55,000 pages is a major undertaking, and our staff is working extremely hard to get this done in a manner that both protects sensitive information and reflects our commitment to transparency and disclosure.

I’d like now to shift direction to a different aspect of today’s release, an entirely different aspect, which relates to emails exchanged between President Obama and then Secretary Clinton. As the White House has previously stated, Secretary Clinton and the President did on occasion exchange emails. As they have also said previously, such presidential records shall remain confidential to protect the President’s ability to receive unvarnished advice and counsel but will ultimately be released in accordance with the Presidential Records Act. I can confirm that 18 emails comprised of eight distinct email chains between former Secretary Clinton and President Obama are being withheld in full from the State Department’s FOIA production today of these emails of Secretary – former Secretary Clinton’s emails.

The decision to withhold presidential correspondence from State’s Freedom of Information Act production of former Secretary Clinton’s emails was widely covered months ago. In response to a FOIA request, again, it is not unusual to deny or withhold a document in full. To be clear, the emails between then Secretary Clinton and President Obama have not been determined to be classified. They are entirely separate and distinct from the emails in today’s release that were upgraded to top secret, secret, or confidential, and I’m not going to speak again to the content of that email traffic.

On Syria, UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura had a preparatory discussion today in Geneva with the Syrian Government. I think some of you have been tracking that. The Syrian opposition’s High Negotiating Committee, the HNC otherwise known, has not yet sent a delegation, and we continue to encourage them to respond positively to Mr. de Mistura’s invitation. We’re going to continue to strongly support this UN-led process, and we’re going to remain focused on the need for a political transition in Syria, a ceasefire, and the need to implement confidence-building measures, including immediate humanitarian access to all besieged and hard-to-reach areas in Syria. As we’ve said before, the Assad regime must provide full humanitarian access to the many places – 15 out of 18 besieged areas, according to the UN – in which it is blocking access now. This behavior is obviously unacceptable. And we also look to the Russian Government to help make such access happen as it committed to doing as a member of the ISSG.

We encourage the regime and the HNC to attend Geneva because it is an opportunity to test the regime’s intentions and proposed – and propose, I’m sorry, serious practical ways to implement a ceasefire and these other confidence-building measures. Even as we address issues such as humanitarian access and an end to airstrikes by the regime and its international backers on civilians on an urgent basis, we believe the opposition should attend the Geneva negotiations without preconditions. There’s no change to our policy on that.

Switching to Saudi Arabia. The United States condemns in the strongest terms today’s attack on the mosque in Mahasen, Saudi Arabia, which killed at least two people and wounded others who had peacefully gathered in Friday prayer. We express our condolences, of course, to the families and the victims, and we applaud the rapid apprehension of the attackers, which prevented further violence from unfolding. As Secretary Kerry emphasized last week during his stop in Riyadh, our relationship with Saudi Arabia remains strong and enduring. We’re working together both bilaterally and as partners in the global coalition to defeat Daesh and counter the ongoing threat of violent extremism. We stand with Saudi Arabia at this time of mourning and against these brutal extremists.

On Burundi. We underscore our deep alarm over recent reports of alleged mass graves in Burundi, including Amnesty International’s report yesterday that identified these possible graves using witness interviews and overhead imagery. As the African Union holds its 26th summit in Addis Ababa, we call on the Government of Burundi to commit publicly to allow the immediate deployment and unimpeded access of the AU human rights monitors to investigate these allegations and other reports of serious human rights abuses, and to hold perpetrators accountable. We’re also deeply concerned by today’s reports of arrest of independent journalists. While the journalists have now apparently been released without charge, we understand that Burundian authorities have stripped their credentials and continue to retain their equipment. The government continues to restrict media freedoms in Burundi. These restrictions, coupled with the government’s refusal to allow independent human rights investigations, raise deep concerns about the Government of Burundi’s commitment to transparency and accountability for human rights violations and abuses.

Finally, a travel note. I think you may have seen we put this out earlier. The Secretary will travel on the 2nd of February to Rome, Italy to lead the U.S. delegation to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL Small Group Ministerial. Coalition partners will review progress to date and discuss ways to further intensify commitments across all lines of efforts to degrade and defeat this terrorist group. Other nation countries to be represented – excuse me – include Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, the European Union, France, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and of course, the United Nations as observers.

The next day, on the 3rd, the Secretary will travel to London. And while there, he will lead the U.S. delegation to the Fourth Syria Donors’ Conference, which will include 25 world leaders from other donor nations impacted by the crisis. This conference is going to be hosted jointly by the UK, Germany, Norway, Kuwait, and the United Nations.

With that.

QUESTION: Right. Let’s start with emails – surprise, surprise. You said the documents are being upgraded at the request of the intel community because they contain a category of top secret information. Can you – I know you don’t want – won’t get into the actual content of them, but can you say what category of top secret?

MR KIRBY: No, I cannot.

QUESTION: Secondly, does this mean that the State Department has lost the argument with the IC over whether or not the – this information should be classified as top secret or not?

MR KIRBY: I never spoke that – to an argument that was had. I said that we were in constant consultations with the Intelligence Community about classification concerns on some of those emails. Again, we’ve worked closely with the Intelligence Community. At their request we’re making this upgrade.

QUESTION: Right, but the Clinton campaign – a spokesman for the campaign says that this is a case of rampant over-classification, and that they object to withholding – to you guys withholding these emails from public release. What’s your response to that?

MR KIRBY: I’m not going to get into debating or discussing candidates one way or the other on the campaign trail. What I will tell you is that we worked closely with the Intelligence Community on this as we have throughout this process, and at their request we are upgrading this particular traffic.

QUESTION: So it was not – so it was not your determination necessarily that this stuff – that this information was top secret? This was the – in fact, you guys were prepared to release it until the intel community came in and said hey, wait a second, you can’t do that?

MR KIRBY: No, I wouldn’t say – I wouldn’t say that, Matt. As I said, we had an ongoing discussion about this traffic with them. At their request we’ve decided to make this upgrade. It is a State Department decision. We’re doing it, but we’re doing it at the request of the Intelligence Community. And we’re going to continue to coordinate and consult with them going forward.

QUESTION: Lastly, for the time being at least, you said that the separate category, these – the exchanges between the President and Secretary Clinton, there are 18 emails that —

MR KIRBY: Yeah, eight – I think I said —

QUESTION: Does that mean that they only emailed each other 18 times for the four years that she was his Secretary of State?

MR KIRBY: I can’t speak to —

QUESTION: That’s 48 months. I mean, is that – have you gone through all of them and she only communicated with the President 18 times by email?

MR KIRBY: Of the 55,000 pages of traffic that was handed over by former Secretary Clinton to us to go through for release through FOIA, we have found these 18.

QUESTION: And no —

MR KIRBY: And I do not expect that there will be more.

QUESTION: Well, that’s – does that strike you as being a bit unusual? I mean, my boss – I have 18 emails an hour with her sometimes.

MR KIRBY: Well, but —

QUESTION: She’s not president, clearly, although maybe sometimes —

MR KIRBY: But you need to be – but you need to be micromanaged, I think. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Okay. So this would speak to the fact that Secretary Clinton did not need to be micromanaged, that she —

MR KIRBY: Well, maybe. I mean, look, I can’t speak to that.

QUESTION: — only emailed the President 18 times in 48 months?

MR KIRBY: I cannot speak to – and I won’t, haven’t, not gonna start speaking to – former Secretary Clinton’s email practices and who she emailed and how often. What I can tell you is we know of these 18, and I’m not expecting any more. As you know, we’re getting very near the end here of the entire 55,000.


QUESTION: Actually, I have a couple questions on this. Why withhold them altogether rather than redact in full as you have done with other classified emails, emails that you have deemed classified?

MR KIRBY: Each bit of traffic has to be taken case by case. And as I said, I’m not going to talk about the content. And again, Justin, it’s not unusual to withhold in full a document from the FOIA process.

QUESTION: It is so far in this process. It’s the first time you’ve done that, correct?

MR KIRBY: I am not aware of a previous instance where we have done it in this —

QUESTION: And you’re not going to say why you’re doing that? I mean, why can’t you just say —

MR KIRBY: We’re doing it – we’re doing it to protect sensitive information as we are required to by the law.

QUESTION: Okay. You also put in this statement —

MR KIRBY: Catherine, I’ll get you. Just hang —

QUESTION: In the statement you also say as to whether they were classified at the time they were sent, the State Department basically isn’t focusing on that; questions about classification at the time the emails were sent are being handled separately by the State Department. So the State Department is still handling that, whether they were classified at the time they were sent?

MR KIRBY: What I said was none of this traffic was marked classified at the time it was sent. Classification at the time is an issue that is and will be handled separately by the State Department.

QUESTION: Okay. When is that determination going to be made?

MR KIRBY: I don’t have a —

QUESTION: Or is it ever?

MR KIRBY: I don’t – I can assure you that we will work through this as thoroughly as possible and as expeditiously as we can, but there’s not a deadline on that – on that determination.

QUESTION: Don’t you think it’s hard for the public to believe that you could be talking about emails that are suddenly classified in nature today but not at the time they were sent? I mean, we’re sort of racking our brains to try to figure out a scenario in which that is possible or plausible.

MR KIRBY: Well, as we’ve said before, even before today, there are reviews and investigations going on about the past email traffic and the degree to which things were classified at the time. What we’ve said consistently is nothing was marked classified at the time it was sent, and that still remains true today and for the tranche that will be released later. But as I said, issues of classification at the time it was sent are now and will be handled in a separate process here at the State Department.

QUESTION: And knowing this now – last one for me. Knowing this now that you’ve got top secret emails or information that is top secret, are you willing to say whether any rules, any State Department rules, were therefore broken in this by —

MR KIRBY: Well, as I said – as I said, the State Department is going to take a look here at that. I’m not in a position today to say definitively one way or the other.

QUESTION: Anything else?

MR KIRBY: I thought – I thought I answered it pretty well. But no, I think I’ve answered it pretty well.


QUESTION: Okay, thank you. Okay, so I just want to be clear because the ICIG’s letter from January 14th, we’ve confirmed that it was the finding of the agencies who own the intelligence that they were top secret, evening containing SAP information, when they hit the server. So this is a settled matter. This is not something that is still being pursued. Do you accept that?

MR KIRBY: The emails that have been upgraded at the request of the Intelligence Community not —

QUESTION: But no, wait a second. I don’t want to – I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I don’t want to get into this upgrading conversation because the finding of the agencies who controlled the information is that it was top secret SAP when it hit the server. That is the finding that was communicated in this letter. Does the State Department now accept that finding?

MR KIRBY: I’m not going to speak specifically to that letter or the ICIG’s findings. You’d have to talk to them about that.


MR KIRBY: What I can tell you, Catherine, is that in consultation with the Intelligence Community we are making this upgrade, and we believe it’s the prudent, responsible thing to do. I’m not going to speak to the ICIG’s findings or their traffic – email – I’m sorry – correspondence with Congress.

QUESTION: Right. All right. Well, the finding is that they were top secret SAP when they hit that server. So I want to also clarify, you mentioned one of the top secret emails from last summer. That email has also been adjudicated. That’s – those two are settled matters as well. Is that not known to the State Department?

MR KIRBY: I already mentioned the fact that one of the emails —

QUESTION: Right, right.

MR KIRBY: — that is being upgraded in this tranche to TS is one of those emails that we talked about last summer.

QUESTION: But it’s – and that’s a settled matter, right?

MR KIRBY: And the other one was returned to the State Department as not possessing any Intelligence Community equities.

QUESTION: Well, there’s so many top secret. I guess we can’t all keep them straight. But our understanding is that the two top secret —

MR KIRBY: We’re doing our best to keep it straight right here at the State Department, Catherine.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, so are we. Just as a final question, we made a query to the State Department, Lauren Hickey, at 9:25 this morning because we had confirmed that emails were being withheld in their entirety, and we were told that the State Department had no comment. Then this afternoon, once we posted our story, we saw a comment was provided to the Associated Press. So I’m just wondering what happened here.

MR KIRBY: We were working this – as you might expect, we’ve been working this very hard all month as we do every month. And as of this morning, the process was still ongoing. So we weren’t in a position one way or the other this morning to speak with great specificity. I can assure you – and you don’t come to these briefings every day or every month when we do these tranches.

QUESTION: I wish I could.

MR KIRBY: I wish you could too —


MR KIRBY: — because you’d see how hard we work to get these done as fast as we can. And oftentimes we’re right up to the end, right up to the limit. And today, Friday, the 29th of January, unfortunately, is no different. We’ve got a lot of people in this building still working hard to get these documents prepared tonight, and that was the case this morning. There was no effort – if your question is trying to imply that there was an effort to obfuscate or make it harder for Fox News to report this, I can assure you that that’s not the case.

QUESTION: Okay. And just one final question. Given the classification that’s involved here, has the State Department been advised that there will be additional security required for the storage of those emails?

MR KIRBY: For the storage of?

QUESTION: The top secret emails.

MR KIRBY: I don’t have anything to speak to specifically with storage in terms of outside the building. What I can assure you is that here at the State Department anything so classified is going to be appropriately stored.

QUESTION: And I’m sorry, just – I want to follow up one more time because I – are you saying that you are not accepting the sworn declarations of an intelligence agency that the information was top secret when it was transmitted?

MR KIRBY: What I’m telling you is issue of classification at the time it was sent is going to be handled separately by the State Department. It is the State Department’s responsibility to make the final adjudication on classification and we —

QUESTION: No, it’s – no, that’s not correct.

MR KIRBY: — and we – and we are doing it —

QUESTION: The agency that owns the information has final say over the classification, not the State Department. And these declarations relate to intelligence that was not State Department intelligence.

MR KIRBY: That had equities outside the building —

QUESTION: That’s correct.

MR KIRBY: — which is why we work with the Intelligence Community. But we did this at the request of the Intelligence Community. We’re owning the decision to upgrade it to top secret – to upgrade them to top secret. We’re owning that decision. That’s what I meant by that. But obviously, we work closely with the interagency and the Intelligence Community to make that determination.

QUESTION: John, over, over, over, and over again you’re saying that nothing was marked classified at the time it was sent. But that doesn’t necessarily mean – and correct me if I’m wrong – that it shouldn’t have been or wasn’t actually. Isn’t that right?

MR KIRBY: That’s correct.

QUESTION: Just because something doesn’t have a label on it doesn’t mean that it isn’t what it is.

MR KIRBY: That’s correct.

QUESTION: So in fact, it could be that this stuff, in addition to being retroactively upgraded or – to top secret was in fact top secret at the time it was sent?

MR KIRBY: Well, I’m not going to speculate and hypothesize.

QUESTION: I know. But it is – but it is possible, right?

MR KIRBY: But as I said – as I said, questions about classification at the time these emails were sent —


MR KIRBY: — are going to be, will be, and are being handled separately by the State Department.

QUESTION: Right. And you are the State Department spokesman, so your —

MR KIRBY: I am, yes.


MR KIRBY: Last time I looked.

QUESTION: So where is that? So where do we stand in that process?

MR KIRBY: That process is ongoing.

QUESTION: And who’s doing it?

MR KIRBY: The – I can get you specific information. But I mean, there’s —

QUESTION: Well, I don’t need a name. What bureau? Is it INR? Is it DS?

MR KIRBY: It’ll be Diplomatic Security and INR.

QUESTION: All right. And then —

QUESTION: But there’s a fundamental confusion here, because the rules are that the agency that generated the intelligence gets final say on the classification. So for the lion’s share of the intelligence in the emails, this was not generated by the State Department, so this is —

MR KIRBY: I’m not going to get into the content of this particular traffic, Catherine. I understand where you’re trying to go with this, and I appreciate it. I really do. I’m not going to speak to the content of the email traffic. What I can tell you is that in consultation with the Intelligence Community and at their request, we’ve upgraded these – this particular traffic to top secret. It’s – we believe it’s the responsible, prudent thing to do. And the Secretary has remained steadfastly committed —


MR KIRBY: — to making sure that we protect sensitive information as appropriate, and certainly in keeping with the law – the Freedom of Information Act.

QUESTION: But you do accept that the group that has final say on the classification when it hit that server is the agency who got that information, not the State Department?

MR KIRBY: What I’m saying is we have worked closely with the Intelligence Community, and at their request, we have upgraded this information.

QUESTION: That’s just not answering the question. I mean, you don’t have final say on CIA information.

MR KIRBY: I didn’t say we did.


MR KIRBY: I didn’t say we did.

QUESTION: Yeah, but I’m just trying to ask – make sure we all understand what the system is, because the system is final say is for the generating agency, not for the State Department, unless you generated it.

MR KIRBY: Again, we are upgrading this information to top secret at the request of the Intelligence Community, and we’re going to keep working with the Intelligence Community going forward.

QUESTION: So following on to Justin’s question from earlier about whether or not this is – whether or not there’s actionable – if anything was done, was transmitted, would be actionable as a violation. Is there – is the State Department looking at whether or not there were violations of the classification regulations? Or is that something that gets done by just the Justice Department?

MR KIRBY: No, we’re going to look – obviously we’re going to review this at the State Department to see if there is any appropriate action that needs to be taken.

QUESTION: Okay. And what could – what would – in a case where – in a case that isn’t publicly known about, like this one, because I know you don’t want to talk specifically about this one – but if an employee is found to have violated the classification regulations, what could happen to them? And once an employee has left the building, is there anything that the State Department can do (inaudible)?

MR KIRBY: Well, I’m not a legal expert in terms of what can happen to some – an employee who’s left specifically, but if warranted, the Department could take appropriate action, which could include – and this is just an inclusive list; it doesn’t – I’m not by any means saying that a particular path here is going to be pursued – but it could include counseling, it could include issuing warnings, security infractions or security violations, or other action. I’m not going to prejudge the outcomes of any of this.

QUESTION: Okay. But when you say more issuing warnings or – what was the other thing? Violations? Are any of those —

MR KIRBY: Counseling, warning, security infractions or security violations, or other action.

QUESTION: So conceivably, one could lose one’s job for violating this?

MR KIRBY: Conceivably.


MR KIRBY: But again, I’m not going to prejudge.

QUESTION: And what does counseling mean? What does that mean?

MR KIRBY: Well —

QUESTION: Send them to a shrink or something? I mean, what – why counseling?

MR KIRBY: Counseling refers to either written or oral discussions to correct behavior or conduct. And again, it can be in a written or oral form.

QUESTION: So it’s —

MR KIRBY: And some of those counselings can stay with one as you work through your career.

QUESTION: So it’s like a reprimand?

MR KIRBY: Or they may not.

QUESTION: Permanent record-type stuff.

MR KIRBY: Could be, possibly.


MR KIRBY: Maybe not.

QUESTION: And who exactly is looking at that?

MR KIRBY: As I said —

QUESTION: Is that the same people who —

MR KIRBY: — this review is being done by the Diplomatic – Diplomatic Security and INR.

QUESTION: So that’s the same – it’s the same review as to whether this stuff should have been or was, in fact, actually classified at the time it was sent, even though it wasn’t marked it? The same people who are looking at that —

MR KIRBY: Questions about the classification —

QUESTION: — are looking into whether there was a violation of the classification?

MR KIRBY: Questions about classification at the time they were sent —


MR KIRBY: — is being handled separately by the State Department. The people at the State Department handling that review are Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

QUESTION: Does that mean that the State Department does not believe that another agency should also be looking into this?

MR KIRBY: Another agency?

QUESTION: I mean, is it the State Department’s position that your own investigation into this, into both of these issues —

MR KIRBY: There are, as you know —


MR KIRBY: — other reviews and investigations going on.

QUESTION: Exactly. But do you believe that those are appropriate, or that they’re –

MR KIRBY: That’s not for me to speak to.

QUESTION: Or do you think that the State Department should just handle this all in-house, as it were?

MR KIRBY: That’s not for me to speak to. We’re going to do the review that we believe we need to do. We obviously have, since the beginning of this, been in very close communication and consultation with the interagency, and I don’t expect that that’s going to stop. There are – in addition to what we have to do, there are, as you know, ongoing reviews and investigations into these practices as well.

QUESTION: All right. This will be my last one. On the 18 emails with the President, it just strikes me as being a very small amount of exchanges between the President and a Secretary of State. Are you – do you understand that any – that the 55,000 work-related, that – do you know if any of the ones that weren’t turned over could be like personal communication back and forth between the President, that would not come under this presidential privilege?

MR KIRBY: I don’t know the answer to that.

QUESTION: Do you know?

MR KIRBY: Again, Matt, it’s important to remember this traffic came from the 55,000 pages that former Secretary Clinton turned over to the State Department after she and her team went through all of her traffic and determined which were professional-related and which were not. So we can only deal with what we’ve been given.


MR KIRBY: And out of the 55,000 pages thus far – and I don’t expect this is going to change – there are these 18 emails.

QUESTION: Is it your understanding that the presidential privilege would apply to innocuously – if she sent an email saying happy birthday or something like that, that that would still apply? It still gets withheld entirely because – just because it was with the President?

MR KIRBY: The decision about withholding – first of all, it’s not – nobody’s invoking executive privilege on this. And as I said, they’re being withheld to remain confidential, to protect the President’s ability to receive unvarnished advice and counsel. And they ultimately will be released in accordance with the Presidential Records Act. I don’t know what the content is of them.


MR KIRBY: And we’re not going to speak to the content of them.

QUESTION: So it’s possible, though, that these emails that you’re withholding from presidential chains do not contain unvarnished advice and counsel – you don’t know.

MR KIRBY: I’m not going to speak to the content of them. They’re being withheld and they’re going to remain confidential to protect the President’s ability to get unvarnished advice and counsel. But your question goes to content, and I simply don’t have that information.

Yeah, Laura.

QUESTION: So not to belabor this point, but I notice you’ve been changing up your verb tense when talking about this review of whether these emails were classified at the time they were sent – “are being reviewed” and “will be reviewed.” Is that review going on right now?


QUESTION: And do you know how long it’s been going on?

MR KIRBY: I wasn’t trying to be cute.


MR KIRBY: It is going on; it will continue to go on.

QUESTION: Okay. And then also on the emails that are being released today, given that this batch is now so much smaller than it was expected to be, why the decision to release them so late in the day? Wouldn’t they be done by now?

MR KIRBY: Look, nobody would like to get them out earlier in the day more than I would. But the – as I said to Catherine, I mean, we’ve been running up to the last day of every month for the last six months, right, and it’s because there’s just so much volume to go through.

QUESTION: But this is a much smaller batch than any of the previous batches.

MR KIRBY: It is a much smaller batch, but you can’t just look at the numbers. You’ve got to look at the amount of interagency review that some of these emails require, and some just require more interagency review than others. Some need more time to look at than others, and I think that the – I think that that’s really what’s driving this more than anything else in this particular batch.

Look, we take it seriously. We’d like to have more out tonight than the approximately 1,000 we think we’re going to, and by 7 o’clock tonight, maybe we will have. I don’t know. They’re working on it literally as you and I are talking right now. We don’t like the fact that we had to ask for an extension, but we did because we take it so seriously. It is – while it is very important, obviously, to meet the judge’s requirements every month – we have a deadline, and like you, we respect deadlines – it is —

QUESTION: Apparently not.

MR KIRBY: I’m getting there.


MR KIRBY: See, this is why you get so many emails from your boss. (Laughter.)

It is equally if not more important that we do this responsibly and prudently and that we take the necessary steps to protect sensitive information. The act of protecting sensitive information can be more complicated on some traffic than others, so there’s nothing more behind a 7 o’clock Friday release than that – than that there’s a lot of people working really hard to get it done.

QUESTION: So from what you’re saying, does that mean that this batch contained a particularly high number that were sent to the interagency for further review (inaudible)?

MR KIRBY: I’m not going to get to the – I’m not going to speak to the content specifically of each email. What I can tell you is that as a matter of fact, some of these emails, some of the traffic, requires more interagency review than others. That tends to slow the process down.

QUESTION: Well, given that more than 7,000 emails have been just recently sent to the interagency for review, are you confident that the rest of these emails are going to be out in a month, that – I mean, what’s going to be quicker then?

MR KIRBY: I can tell you we’re going to work really, really hard to make that happen.

QUESTION: Do you know if these emails – either the 37 pages that you’re saying are top secret now and/or the 18 – would they have been among the emails to be released today?

MR KIRBY: I don’t know that. I don’t know that I can say that definitively. That is a separate – that process of working with the Intelligence Community to upgrade them was sort of done separately in tandem.

QUESTION: All right. And then —

MR KIRBY: I can’t say that definitively, that they would’ve been otherwise, because as you know, there hasn’t been a perfect chronological path to these releases because some have required less interagency review than others.

QUESTION: Is it possible, then, that in the next – that there may be more that are classified as top secret and are withheld in their entirety?

MR KIRBY: I’m not going to speculate about future classification.

QUESTION: So it is – so you – so it is possible.

MR KIRBY: As we have with every tranche, we’ve been very open and honest about the upgrades and what they’ve been. I’m not in a position right now to —


MR KIRBY: — rule in or out additional upgrades.

QUESTION: Okay, but – but it is possible because they haven’t all been looked at by the interagency.

MR KIRBY: There are still reviews going on and I’m not going to get ahead of that review.

QUESTION: How many upgrades, then, are in this batch?

MR KIRBY: How many upgrades?

QUESTION: Not just including the top secret upgrades.

MR KIRBY: I don’t have a final number for you on the other upgrades. I think you can expect that there will be other upgrades other than the top secret, which, again, has not been —

QUESTION: Including at the secret level?

MR KIRBY: — which has not been – I’m not going to get into specifics – which is not atypical for past tranches. I don’t have a final breakdown for you right now. As I said – and I meant it earnestly – there are people, as you and I are speaking, that are still working this very hard right now. And so when we get a little closer, we’ll be able to have more fidelity for you. I just don’t have it right now.

QUESTION: The – Mrs. Clinton’s campaign put out a statement which said that – that these emails likely originated on the State Department’s unclassified system before they were ever shared with her and remained on the unclassified system for years. Can you confirm that?

MR KIRBY: No, I cannot.

QUESTION: Can you look into that?

MR KIRBY: There are – as I said, the State Department is going to review the issue of classification at the time that the emails were sent, and I’m not going to get ahead of that process.

QUESTION: Oh, so that – what she’s asked about has to do with that process?

MR KIRBY: It does. The issue of classification at the time very much has to do with —


MR KIRBY: — the review that we are doing here at the State Department, the Diplomatic Security branch as well as INR, and I’m not going to get ahead of that process.

QUESTION: But doesn’t it seem like – I was asking this earlier. Doesn’t it seem kind of silly that it would – I mean, are you leaving open the possibility that it was not top secret at the time?

MR KIRBY: I am not going to speak to the issue of classification at the time. All I can tell you definitively is that none of this traffic was marked classified at the time. There’s a review ongoing here at the State Department to examine the issue of classification at the time it was sent. Point three: At the request of the Intelligence Community, we are upgrading some of this traffic to the top secret level. Again, this gets to prudence and responsibility and following the law, and we’re going to do that.

QUESTION: You said the reviewers are the Diplomatic Security and the Department of – what was it – Intelligence —

MR KIRBY: And Research.

QUESTION: — and Research?


QUESTION: Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

MR KIRBY: Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

QUESTION: So then does that review of how they originated and whether they were classified at the time they were originated – does that not involve the Intelligence Community as well?

MR KIRBY: I’m not going to —

QUESTION: Or is it solely a State Department investigation?

MR KIRBY: I am sure, as we have stayed in touch with the Intelligence Community throughout this entire process, we will continue to do so. I am not going to speak specifically to how Diplomatic Security and INR are going to conduct their review, but we have remained in very close contact with the Intelligence Community throughout this, and that’s not going to change.

QUESTION: So just a quick – I want to make sure – just because something is not marked classified does not mean that it isn’t classified, correct?

MR KIRBY: I think that it is – it’s certainly possible that, for any number of reasons, traffic can be sent that’s not marked appropriately for its classification. That is certainly possible. But Matt, I am not making any judgments about this. That’s why we’re going to do a review here at the State Department to look at the classification at the time this traffic was sent. All I can tell you definitively is it wasn’t marked classified at the time it was sent. But obviously, in consult with the Intelligence Community, we’re going to do a review to make that determination.

But it’s – is it possible that something is classified at the time it is sent and not marked so, or maybe not marked appropriately, marked at a level that it —

QUESTION: Shouldn’t.

MR KIRBY: — that it shouldn’t have been? That is certainly possible.

QUESTION: But this wasn’t marked at all is what you’re saying.

MR KIRBY: None of the traffic that we are upgrading to top secret was marked classified in any way at the time it was sent.

QUESTION: And is there an expectation that someone sending or receiving – someone with top secret classification – is there an expectation that if they received an email containing information that was not marked but which they believe to be classified – there is an expectation that that person would do something about it, right?

MR KIRBY: Sure, sure. If you have a sense that – and we’re all trained – anybody that works in the government is trained to treat classified and sensitive information appropriately. And if you have a sense that you’re dealing with information that is sensitive and should be protected, you have an obligation to do that.

QUESTION: In terms of the FOIA standard as differentiated between stuff that could go to the Hill, would these emails be sent un-redacted, be turned over to Congress without redactions?

MR KIRBY: Will they be? All I can tell you is that —

QUESTION: Will they or would they be?

MR KIRBY: Well —

QUESTION: Or would they also get redacted versions?

MR KIRBY: Without getting into specifics, what I could tell you is that we have kept Congress informed throughout this process and we’re going to continue to do that, but I’m not going to speak to the specifics of that.

QUESTION: No, but you know that FOIA redactions are more stringent than —

MR KIRBY: FOIA – right.

QUESTION: But (inaudible) —

MR KIRBY: FOIA redactions are more stringent because it’s being made public. And so, obviously – again, not speaking to this traffic, please – but obviously, we consult and communicate with Congress on a wide range of matters. And certainly, it’s our responsibility to share with them information that – at times that may not and would not be released to the public under FOIA.

QUESTION: Can I ask you a not-so-hypothetical question? If you were sent an email today that contained a New York Times article that discussed a highly secretive intelligence program, but an article that was published in The New York Times, would that throw up red flags for you? Would you say, “I can’t be forwarding this along or talking about this” or “This needs to be put somewhere else or maintained in a different area?” Would that be a problem for you if you got that kind of an email.

MR KIRBY: Well, it is a hypothetical. Any question that begins with the word “if” is hypothetical.

QUESTION: Have you ever? I can start it that way.

MR KIRBY: No, it’s too late. You already said it, and I’m not going to get into hypotheticals. Look, what —

QUESTION: But you know what I’m driving at.

MR KIRBY: I do, and I’m not going to speak to the content of this traffic one way or the other. But as I said to Matt, any government employee has a responsibility – and they’re trained, and you go through periodic training throughout one’s career, whether you’re in the military or Civil Service or the Foreign Service or whatever – to properly handle sensitive information and to use your judgment as best you can when sensitive information crosses your desk. And you have an obligation to protect that regardless, and that never changes. That obligation never changes. And as somebody who has been in government service now for 30 years, I can tell you that that is something that you take seriously. Regardless of where it comes from and how you got it and what you’re seeing, you have an obligation.

QUESTION: Sounds like you would treat it carefully.

MR KIRBY: I know what my personal obligations are with respect to sensitive information, and I can assure you that everybody here at the State Department understands those obligations.

QUESTION: You weren’t here at the time, so maybe this is unfair to ask you, but maybe you could look. Would emails that include news – that included news reporting of either the WikiLeaks cables or the Snowden revelations, would those be considered classified even though they’re – everybody – they’re all over the place, everybody knows the contents of them?

MR KIRBY: I don’t. I don’t know. I – I don’t know.

QUESTION: Look, it got to the point during the WikiLeaks thing that people were – in this building and elsewhere were not allowed to look at the WikiLeaks website.

MR KIRBY: Yeah. That’s the way —

QUESTION: Right. And so —

MR KIRBY: Right.

QUESTION: — if someone was emailed a news report about the contents of WikiLeaks or the Snowden revelations, then my question is: Would that have been something that should have been subject to classification?

MR KIRBY: Again, I think I would just fall back on one’s training and understanding – having the judgment to understand what is sensitive information and to treat it appropriately, regardless of the source of it. We all have that obligation. I can’t speak specifically to what guidance or policies were in place here at the State Department. When I was at the Pentagon for WikiLeaks, there was a – there was very stringent policy with respect to the treatment of not only the WikiLeaks website but traffic, whether it was email or news articles, about the contents of that because so much of it was classified in nature. So everybody has that obligation.

QUESTION: Yeah, but it’s also then in the public domain. So I guess the question would be —

MR KIRBY: That doesn’t change —

QUESTION: — if you get a —

MR KIRBY: That doesn’t – but Mark – but Matt —

QUESTION: Right, but if you got an email – but during the WikiLeaks —

MR KIRBY: — that doesn’t change the fact. Just because something’s in the public domain doesn’t mean —


MR KIRBY: — that it still isn’t classified.

QUESTION: No, no, I understand that. But so what did you do then as spokesman over at the Pentagon when a reporter – and I’m sure they did – emailed you a story based on the WikiLeaks cables (inaudible), what do you do?

MR KIRBY: I treated – I – without getting into the details – and certainly that was a different federal agency than this one, but there were steps that we had to take to treat that information appropriately. And I did.

QUESTION: But even though – even if it was just a news article? What did you do, just delete it? Not respond?

MR KIRBY: There’s – there were steps and policies in places that we followed to try to deal with that information as best we could. You have to be on the lookout for sensitive information and treat it appropriately.

QUESTION: Can we switch to Syria?

QUESTION: I just have one more on this.

MR KIRBY: Go ahead.

QUESTION: Just to put a fine point on what you said earlier, are you ruling out the possibility or are you leaving it open that the State Department could be seeking an extension beyond February 29th for the release of these emails?

MR KIRBY: I’m not prepared to say one way or the other —

QUESTION: So it’s possible.

MR KIRBY: — about any additional extensions. We’ve asked for the extension into February, and I can assure you that we are going to work very, very hard to meet our obligations under that extension.

QUESTION: John, Syria? HNC has announced a while ago that they will send a delegation tomorrow to Geneva after they have received the guarantees from the UN, United States, and their allies – especially Saudi Arabia – regarding the implementation of UN Security Council 2254. Are you aware of these guarantees?

MR KIRBY: I would refer you to Special Envoy de Mistura to speak to conversations that he’s had with the HNC. As I said at the opening, the Secretary has been very clear that it’s important for these talks to continue, to continue without preconditions, to get people to begin this – the process of negotiating an end to the civil war in Syria. But I would refer you to Mr. de Mistura for more details about his particular conversations with the HNC.

QUESTION: In a statement they have released a while ago too, they said that Secretary Kerry has called Riyad Hijab and he promised to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2254, especially Articles 12 and 13, and he said that the U.S. – the statement said that the U.S. will guarantee the formation of the transition body too, and Secretary Kerry told Hijab that he is ready to go to Geneva to support the opposition delegation. Can you confirm that?

MR KIRBY: I can confirm that he had a conversation today with Dr. Hijab. He’s had a conversation with Special Envoy de Mistura. He’s had a conversation today with Foreign Minister Lavrov. So even while he’s up in Quebec City today, he has been very much engaged in following this process and monitoring it and talking to all the relevant parties. And the implementation of paragraphs 12 and 13 of UNSCR 2254 are necessary by all parties, Michel. All parties. And so the Secretary has made that clear as well. But I’m not privy to every detail of the conversation as you lay it out there.

QUESTION: Did he promise that he would be going to Geneva?

MR KIRBY: Did who promise?

QUESTION: The Secretary.

MR KIRBY: I have nothing additional on the Secretary’s travel schedule to announce, other than what I did today.

QUESTION: And one more please. The HNC has said too that they will send a delegation to Geneva, but they won’t participate in the talks or the negotiations before the implementation of the guarantees.

MR KIRBY: Is there a question there?


MR KIRBY: What’s your question?

QUESTION: Do you – if they went to Geneva without participation – without the participation —

MR KIRBY: I can’t – I know as much as you’d like to me to, I cannot speak to the HNC and what they will or won’t do. The Secretary has been clear that it’s important for these talks to happen and it’s important for the HNC to attend and to do so without preconditions. That’s – we’ve said that from – for weeks now, and we continue to say that. It’s also important – and we understand their concerns. And as I said at my – at the outset, it’s also very important to us that humanitarian access be had in some of these besieged areas; that we can get to a ceasefire as quickly as possible. I mean, nobody wants to see any more bloodshed there. But the Secretary firmly believes that one of the ways to get to a point where there’s no bloodshed is to sit down and to start to have these discussions, and so that’s been his point.

QUESTION: And do you view that they sent a delegation, or they will send a delegation tomorrow, as a positive step?

MR KIRBY: Their participation in these talks obviously is crucial and certainly would be positive. I mean, the whole idea of these discussions is to get the regime and the High Negotiating Committee, or the negotiators that they choose, to begin to talk so that we can start to lay out a process here for a political transition. So yes, it would be positive. Yes, it would be welcome. But I can’t speak to their individual travel plans. They have to speak to that. We have been consistently clear that it’s important to get these talks going, to get this process moving forward – again, to get these talks going without precondition.

QUESTION: But since these are proximity talks and not face-to-face negotiations at all, at least this first one —

MR KIRBY: Right.

QUESTION: Why is it important for them to go to Geneva? Why can’t they just sit in Riyadh and – I mean, there’s – I don’t understand. If they’re not going to be sitting down together —

MR KIRBY: Well —

QUESTION: — with the government, what’s the difference if they’re in the next room —

MR KIRBY: — proximity means close.

QUESTION: — the next city, the next continent?

MR KIRBY: Proximity means close, Matt. It doesn’t mean thousands of miles away.

QUESTION: Well, what’s the difference?

MR KIRBY: And it’s a whole lot better to facilitate some sort of dialogue if you’re in the same city. And we believe it’s important for them to be present for these talks.

QUESTION: It just seems that if they’re not going to get what they’re asking for and they’re not going to participate —

MR KIRBY: Well, these are ultimately —

QUESTION: — it seems like a waste of time and money to send them all the way there. And do we – who’s paying for them? Is it —

MR KIRBY: Well, you’re prejudging the outcome. You said they’re not going to get – we don’t —

QUESTION: No, they’re saying that they won’t —

MR KIRBY: In order to have – in order to know whether you get to an outcome, you have to have a discussion, and we want them to be there to have these discussions. We believe it’s important.

QUESTION: But the discussion right now is the government talking to itself and the government talking to de Mistura; and when they show up, if their conditions aren’t met, they’re not going to join it, so the discussion will just be with themselves. I don’t see how you – how that accomplishes anything.

MR KIRBY: We believe it’s important for them to be present, to have these discussions, because we believe that’s the way to move forward and to actually have an outcome.


QUESTION: The State Department and Mr. Kerry have been in direct contact with the opposition, of course, over these talks. Are there any efforts or perhaps plans to be – to have direct contacts with the other side, with the regime side, with regards to these talks as well?

MR KIRBY: By the United States? No.


QUESTION: There are reports suggesting that Secretary Kerry told the Syrian opposition groups they are risking their funding if they will not attend the meeting. Would you confirm that?

MR KIRBY: I’m not going to get into the specifics of discussions that the Secretary has had, but the notion that he has threatened them or put some sort of overt pressure on them or anybody else in this process is not true.


QUESTION: Yes. Do you have a readout of the phone call between Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov?

MR KIRBY: Yeah, I think I can give you a little something. Give me a second. Can’t wait for me to have all of this on an iPad.

QUESTION: Good luck with that.

MR KIRBY: We’re going to get there.

The Secretary stressed in his conversation with Foreign Minister Lavrov today the need for all International Syria Support Group members to push for progress on the political track, and he encouraged Russia to press the Syrian Government to implement critical steps to address the needs of the Syrian people now and to promote progress in peace talks in Geneva. He emphasized the importance of ensuring humanitarian access immediately to those hard-to-reach areas, and he called on Russia to avoid strikes that hit civilians.

QUESTION: Do you know, is there any plan to talk with Russia about North Korea? I mean, was it any part in that conversation? Is there —

MR KIRBY: I just gave you the readout from the conversation today with Foreign Minister Lavrov. He speaks routinely and frequently to Foreign Minister Lavrov. Obviously issues in Northeast Asia, particularly the danger and the threat posed by the North Korean regime, remains a topic that is of global concern, and it’s something that he has spoken to and will continue to speak to various world leaders.

QUESTION: Do you have – also have a – do you have – sorry – of the discussion between Secretary Kerry and the foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea?

MR KIRBY: He spoke to them both by phone last night, and again, the conversation was very much about the continued threat posed by the North Korean regime and the need for strong international consensus through the UN to put into place measures, which could possibly include stronger sanctions, to hold the North accountable for its provocative acts.

QUESTION: Was there —

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Sorry, another follow-up on that. Was there a sense of concern that China is not being cooperative on pushing (inaudible)?

MR KIRBY: I’m going to – I’ll – I think what I’ll do is I’ll point you to Secretary Kerry’s press conference in Beijing, where he and Foreign Minister Wang spoke at length about the discussions that they had and the tensions in Northeast Asia and the discussions that he had with Chinese leaders there. He spoke to that at length and I’d point you to that transcript.


QUESTION: Japan, though, has prepared – has begun preparing for potential missile tests by North Korea. Is there any support that the State Department is giving as a clear indication of support to Japan?

MR KIRBY: I’d let Japan speak to their decision. If they have – if they are making preparations, that’s for them to speak to, and I’d refer you to DOD on any preparations. I’m not aware of any, and that wouldn’t be for – something for us to speak to.


QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: A question very close to that: Have you come back from China with a higher hope that China will be more helpful in —

MR KIRBY: As the Secretary said in Beijing, the – and as Foreign Minister Wang said, the Chinese are prepared to do more here to hold the North accountable. But they have to speak to what that would look like and what that would be like. They didn’t go into great detail in Beijing in terms of what that means and what they’d be willing to do, but they did agree to do more. And I’ve seen some coverage that would indicate otherwise, and that’s simply not true. They did agree to more affirmative actions to hold the North to account.

QUESTION: The second issue, the Chinese foreign minister said what China is doing in South China Sea does not amount to militarization of the region, and Secretary’s response to that was not exactly taking on that point. So do you – does the U.S. agree with that view that what Chinese construction activities and other things in South China Sea do not necessarily constitute militarization of the region?

MR KIRBY: The Secretary, again, spoke to this. Again, I highly encourage you to go look at his – the press conference that he just held in Beijing, where we spoke – where he spoke about tensions in the South China Sea and the need for all parties to take steps to de-escalate the tensions. And nothing has changed about our view that militarization of these reclaimed features does nothing toward that end. And we continue to be concerned about Chinese activities with respect to militarization on these reclaimed features.



QUESTION: On the phone call between Secretary Kerry and Mr. Lavrov, Russia’s foreign ministry has said today that Mr. Lavrov expressed his indignation to Secretary Kerry over made-up accusations against President Putin made by a U.S. Administration official. Do you have anything on this?

MR KIRBY: I believe my colleague Mark addressed this yesterday in terms of those comments made by the under secretary of the Treasury. I don’t have anything to add to it today.

Okay. Thanks, everybody.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR KIRBY: Have a great weekend.

QUESTION: Oh, yes.

(The briefing was concluded at 4:14 p.m.)

DPB # 15

The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

FTC Announces Enhancements to

Original release date: January 29, 2016

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has upgraded its site to provide improved help to victims of identity theft. Enhancements include more personalized response plans for consumers, automatic generation of documents to aid in recovery, and better integration of the site with the FTC’s consumer complaint system. Resources are also available for those who want to avoid becoming victims of identity theft.

Consumers are encouraged to visit FTC’s site and review US-CERT’s tip on Preventing and Responding to Identity Theft for more information.

This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.

Federal Reserve Board extends comment period to February 19, 2016, for proposed rule to strengthen ability of largest domestic and foreign banks operating in the U.S. to be resolved without extraordinary government support or taxpayer assistance

Federal Reserve Board extends comment period to February 19, 2016, for proposed rule to strengthen ability of largest domestic and foreign banks operating in the U.S. to be resolved without extraordinary government support or taxpayer assistance

National Science Board to meet Feb. 2-3, 2016, in Arlington, Virginia

NSB logo

The National Science Board (NSB) will meet Feb. 2-3, 2016, to address science and engineering policy of interest to the National Science Foundation (NSF). Members of the media and the public are invited to open portions of the meeting, which will also be webcast.

Public sessions of the meeting include:

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016 (Room 1235):

8:00-8:30 a.m.

More at

This is an NSF News item.

The History, Status, Gaps, and Future Directions of Neurotoxicology in China

Author Affiliations open
1Department of Occupational and Environmental Health and the Ministry of Education Key Lab of Hazard Assessment and Control in Special Operational Environment, School of Public Health, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an, Shaanxi, China; 2Department of Epidemiology, College of Preventive Medicine, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, China; 3Neurotoxicology Lab, School of Life Science, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, China; 4Laboratory of Molecular Toxicology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China; 5College of Optometry, Department of Biology and Biochemistry, Department of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Department of Health and Human Performance, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA.

*Authors contributed equally to this work.

PDF icon PDF Version (338 KB)

  • Background: Rapid economic development in China has produced serious ecological, environmental and health problems. Neurotoxicity has been recognized as a major public health problem. Chinese government/research institutes and scientists conducted extensive studies concerning the source, characteristics and mechanisms of neurotoxicants.

    Objectives: This paper presents, for the first time, a comprehensive history and review of major sources of neurotoxicants, national bodies/legislation engaged, and major neurotoxicology research in China.

    Methods: Peer-reviewed research and pollution studies by Chinese scientists from 1991-2015 were examined. PubMed, Web of Science and Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) were the major search tools.

    Results: The central problem is an increased exposure to neurotoxicants from air and water, food contamination, e-waste recycling and manufacturing of household products. China formulated an institutional framework and standards system for management of major neurotoxicants. Basic and applied research was initiated, and international cooperation was achieved. The annual number of peer-reviewed neurotoxicology papers from Chinese authors increased almost 30-fold since 2001.

    Conclusions: Despite extensive efforts, neurotoxicity remains a significant public health problem. This provides great challenges and opportunities. We identified ten significant areas requiring major educational, environmental, governmental, research, and public awareness and attention. For example, there is a need to increase efforts to utilize new in vivo and in vitro models, determine the potential neurotoxicity and mechanisms involved in newly emerging pollutants, and examine the effects and mechanisms of mixtures. In the future, we anticipate working with scientists worldwide to accomplish these goals and eliminate, prevent and treat neurotoxicity.

  • This EHP Advance Publication article has been peer-reviewed, revised, and accepted for publication. EHP Advance Publication articles are completely citable using the DOI number assigned to the article. This document will be replaced with the copyedited and formatted version as soon as it is available. Through the DOI number used in the citation, you will be able to access this document at each stage of the publication process.

    Citation: Cai T, Luo W, Ruan D, Wu YJ, Fox DA, Chen J. The History, Status, Gaps, and Future Directions of Neurotoxicology in China. Environ Health Perspect;

    Received: 5 December 2014
    Accepted: 15 January 2016
    Advance Publication: 29 January 2016

    Note to readers with disabilities: EHP strives to ensure that all journal content is accessible to all readers. However, some figures and Supplemental Material published in EHP articles may not conform to 508 standards due to the complexity of the information being presented. If you need assistance accessing journal content, please contact Our staff will work with you to assess and meet your accessibility needs within 3 working days.