Tag Archive for Surveillance State

Obama’s Failure to Rein in CIA and NSA

CIA Director John Brennan at a White House meeting during his time as President Barack Obama's counterterrorism adviser.

Despite Barack Obama’s promises during the 2008 campaign to reform the U.S. intelligence community, he has continued to tolerate its abuses, enable its excessive secrecy and indulge its bone-headedness, as ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman explains.

Does Cell-Phone Case Imperil NSA Spying?

U.S. Supreme Court

Though the Republican-controlled U.S. Supreme Court often splits 5-4 on partisan and ideological issues, a consensus is emerging against the government’s electronic intrusion on personal privacy, which could portend trouble for NSA spying, says Marjorie Cohn.

Treating Snowden as a ‘Personality’

Vanity Fair graphic accompanying its profile of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The mainstream U.S. media prefers personalities over substance, so it was perhaps not a surprise that its focus at the first anniversary of Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks was on his alleged peculiarities, not the frightening prospect of a Big Brother state, says ex-State Department official William R. Polk.

How NSA Can Secretly Aid Criminal Cases

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Though the NSA says its mass surveillance of Americans targets only “terrorists,” the spying may turn up evidence of other illegal acts that can get passed on to law enforcement which hides the secret source through a ruse called “parallel construction,” writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

An Ignored Pre-9/11 Warning on Spying

internet-address

One year after NSA contractor Edward Snowden began exposing the U.S. government’s surveillance capabilities, Europe and other targets are still reeling from the revelations. But a little-noticed report in summer 2001 offered an early warning, says Dutch IT expert Arjen Kamphuis.

An Appeal for More Whistleblowers

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, standing up for Pvt. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning.

As more and more secrecy envelopes the U.S. government – with millions of hidden records concealing both past and present – there is no practical alternative for democracy but to fight back with “unauthorized” disclosures, as Norman Solomon explains in an appeal for more whistleblowers.

How Snowden Changed the World

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden speaking in Moscow on Oct. 9, 2013. (From a video posted by WikiLeaks)

Globe-rattling disclosures from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden began a year ago and have shaken how the world understands the capacity of the U.S. government and its allies to pry into almost every facet of the lives of almost anyone, as former British intelligence official Annie Machon recalls.

Can the Surveillance State Be Stopped?

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden speaking in Moscow on Oct. 9, 2013. (From a video posted by WikiLeaks)

Despite the public furor over NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations about U.S. government surveillance, the process rolls on unabated with few prospects of significant reform, writes Danny Schechter.

Obama Ensnared in Bush’s Abuses

President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush (with First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush) walk to a White House event on May 31, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Obama’s fateful decision – after winning the 2008 election to seek “continuity” rather than “change” and “to look forward, not backward” – has trapped him in a web of constitutional abuses that began in the Bush-43 presidency and extended into his own, as Coleen Rowley describes.

Debating Secrecy vs. a Free Press

New York Times national security reporter James Risen.

The U.S. government’s campaign against “leakers” has pushed together some odd media bedfellows, with representatives of the mainstream news media joining with more active players who help disseminate government secrets in a conference on the dangers now facing a free press, as Danny Schechter observed.