Obama: Release the Senate Torture Report

W. Paul Smith notes that it was one year ago that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence finished compiling a massive report, more than 6000 pages, on the torture regime constructed by Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. You've never seen that report because the Obama administration has classified it and refused to release it, even in redacted form. … [Read more...]

NSA Spied on Political Enemies in Cold War

Foreign Policy reports on newly declassified documents that show that the NSA spied on a whole range of people that the LBJ and Nixon administrations considered their political enemies, including at least two sitting U.S. Senators, Martin Luther King and even -- for crying out loud -- Art Buchwald. … [Read more...]

What Chelsea Manning Revealed

Lost in all the noise and attention surrounding the trial and sentencing of Chelsea Manning for turning over a huge stash of classified documents to Wikileaks is the substance that those documents contained. Greg Mitchell at The Nation offers up a list of the many important things being hidden from the public that Manning's actions revealed. … [Read more...]

Obama’s Empty Surveillance Promises, Take 2

I wrote the other day that the promises that President Obama made last week about greater transparency were mostly hollow, especially the appointment of a commission to study the problem. Such commission are a political black hole. But it turns out that his "independent" commission won't be independent at all: … [Read more...]

Balko Proposes a Whistleblower Prize

Longtime friend of Dispatches Radley Balko has a great idea for a whistleblower prize, or a series of them, that would provide some incentive for whistleblowers to come forward and reveal wrongdoing. It would require a lot of funding, but I think it's a great idea. … [Read more...]

Obama Promise Disappears Down the Memory Hole

The dedicated folks at the Sunlight Foundation have discovered something very interesting. The Obama administration's Change.gov website, which was set up during the 2008 transition and still available as of early last month, has now disappeared from the web. They suggest one possible reason why: … [Read more...]

A New Way to Leak

With the Obama administration's furious war against whistleblowers who reveal abuses and illegality by the government, especially the executive branch, the New Yorker is rolling out a new way for sources to turn over incriminating evidence that the public should know about. It was coded by the last Aaron Swartz, the open-source crusader who committed suicide a few months ago. … [Read more...]

Is the Seizure of AP Phone Records a Scandal?

There's an interesting debate going on at the Volokh Conspiracy over whether the story about the DOJ seizing phone records of innumerable AP reporters and editors is a real story or not. Orin Kerr, who is a libertarian-leaning law professor and therefore generally likely to oppose unnecessary searches and seizures, declares it a non-story at this point: … [Read more...]

Biden Wants Torture Report Released

The Senate Intelligence Committee put out a massive and comprehensive report on the use of torture by the government, but no one outside the government has ever seen it because the CIA is afraid it will reveal too much. Vice President Joe Biden says he thinks it should be released: … [Read more...]

The Danger of the Daniel Manning Prosecution

Yochai Benkler, a Harvard law professor and one of the expert witnesses in the Bradley Manning case, has a long and very compelling article in the New Republic about the dangers of that prosecution and how it is being pursued primarily as a deterrent to future whistleblowers. I found this passage particularly prescient: … [Read more...]

Who Leaked the Drone Memo?

I definitely would like to know who leaked the memo that has an abbreviated version of the Obama administration's legal justification for the drone strike program, a memo so badly written and reasoned that you can see now why the DOJ has refused to make it public. Jack Shafer has some ideas: … [Read more...]

Obama Allowed to Keep Drone Rationale Secret

The Obama administration's efforts to keep every tiny detail of its actions in the war on terror secret continues to succeed in court and has now been extended even further. A federal judge has ruled that the administration doesn't even have to reveal the legal basis for the drone strikes it uses so often. You can read the full ruling here. David Kravets has a report at Wired. … [Read more...]