IL Ban on Recording Public Officials Overturned

The Illinois Supreme Court has helped the cause of transparency and accountability by unanimously striking down that state's law that forbid the recording of police officers and other public officials while on duty. A federal court had already struck down the law in regard to police officers, now it applies to other public officials as well. … [Read more...]

Marcy Wheeler on Obama and Torture

I'm delighted to see that the amazing Marcy Wheeler has joined Glenn Greenwald's The Intercept website as a senior policy analyst and writer. No one is more meticulous in their research and analysis than Marcy and she's all over the CIA spying on the Senate story, pointing out that President Obama has been covering up the role of the Bush White House in torture from the moment he took office. … [Read more...]

CIA May Have Illegally Spied on Congress

When the Senate Intelligence Committee was investigating the CIA torture program (the report of which the Obama administration still refuses to release), they made a deal with the CIA that they could use computers at the agency without being monitored. It looks like the CIA violated that agreement and spied on legislators and staffers anyway. … [Read more...]

NSA Review Panel to Advocate Real Reform?

Politico has an article on the now-completed report by the commission appointed by President Obama to make recommendations after Edward Snowden revealed just how intrusive and clearly illegal the NSA's data mining operations have become. And the article claims that the commission may be recommending real reform, though not as much as critics would like. … [Read more...]

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 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...]