Tag Archives: national security

Trust The Power-Hungry

7 Jun

bush-nsa-obama-316x207This is just one of the all-too-many public officials we are asked to trust with our “metadata”.

Judge Vinson was the trial judge who presided over the most high-profile challenge to the health law, brought by governors and attorneys general from 26 states, along with other private plaintiffs.

In January 2011, Judge Vinson ruled unconstitutional the law’s requirement that individuals carry health coverage or pay a penalty, calling it “a bridge too far.” He found that the insurance mandate was so central to the law that the entire measure must be voided.

The Supreme Court, of course, later upheld most of the law on a 5-4 vote, one of the biggest high-court rulings in a generation. The four dissenters agreed with Judge Vinson in calling for the nullification of the whole law.

The renewed attention on Judge Vinson comes after he just completed his seven-year term on the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which reviews government surveillance requests related to national security investigations.

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Leaks, Holder, Manning

3 Jun

U.S. President Obama and Attorney General Holder attend the National Peace Officers Memorial Service at the Capitol in WashingtonWe now know, that the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, personally signed a warrant, to investigate James Rosen, a Fox News reporter, for his role in leaks from a mid-level State Department official, Stephen Kim, that involved a sensitive source in North Korea, Sarah Chayes can write about the frustrations of over-classification.

I was always stunned to hear reporters ask me — as they did half a dozen times when I worked at the Pentagon — to show them some classified document or other. They’d just pop the question blithely, unfazed, without an apparent thought for the implications. My incredulous retort would usually reap an only half-sheepish answer: “Well, I had to ask.”

Countless national security officials have had some version of this conversation – including the State Department security adviser that Fox News correspondent James Rosen allegedly plumbed for information on North Korea. Rosen wrote in an e-mail that he’d “love to see some internal State Department analyses.”

I’ve served on both sides of the line, as an NPR reporter and a Defense Department official, and it’s from that split perspective that I’ve been observing the furor over the seizure of journalists’ telephone and e-mail records in Justice Department investigations of national security leaks. Especially troubling to some reporters and pundits is a search warrant application suggesting that Rosen was “an aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator” with his source. Commentators have decried the Justice Department for criminalizing journalism itself.

The value to democracy of a courageous and unfettered press poking into back corners that agencies would rather keep hidden is incontrovertible. But I find myself wondering why journalists shouldn’t shoulder some responsibility for transgressions they often goad their sources to commit.

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Greenwald VS. Pillar On Rosen, Leaks

21 May

James RosenGlenn Greenwald is going to the mattresses.

New revelations emerged yesterday in the Washington Post that are perhaps the most extreme yet when it comes to the DOJ’s attacks on press freedoms. It involves the prosecution of State Department adviser Stephen Kim, a naturalized citizen from South Korea who was indicted in 2009 for allegedly telling Fox News’ chief Washington correspondent, James Rosen, that US intelligence believed North Korea would respond to additional UN sanctions with more nuclear tests – something Rosen then reported. Kim did not obtain unauthorized access to classified information, nor steal documents, nor sell secrets, nor pass them to an enemy of the US. Instead, the DOJ alleges that he merely communicated this innocuous information to a journalist – something done every day in Washington – and, for that, this arms expert and long-time government employee faces more than a decade in prison for “espionage”.

The focus of the Post’s report yesterday is that the DOJ’s surveillance of Rosen, the reporter, extended far beyond even what they did to AP reporters. The FBI tracked Rosen’s movements in and out of the State Department, traced the timing of his calls, and – most amazingly – obtained a search warrant to read two days worth of his emails, as well as all of his emails with Kim. In this case, said the Post, “investigators did more than obtain telephone records of a working journalist suspected of receiving the secret material.” It added that “court documents in the Kim case reveal how deeply investigators explored the private communications of a working journalist”.

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