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National Security and Free Speech/Press

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Sony and Mr. Kim’s Thugs. Photo Sony Pictures pulled the movie “The Interview” after large theater chains said they would not show it, fearing threats of violence to their customers and employees by hackers believed to be working for the North Korean government. Though the companies are understandably cautious, this decision will establish a dangerous precedent that could further embolden rogue regimes and criminals. “The Interview” is a comedy about a C.I.A. plot to assassinate the dictator who rules North Korea, Kim Jong-un, using two hapless TV journalists played by Seth Rogen, who also co-directed the movie, and James Franco. Had it been made about any other world leader, it might have elicited a few barbed statements, and possibly a ban by the country in question. After a few weeks in theaters, the movie would have faded into obscurity. But it was about Mr. Kim, a despot who runs an isolated and impoverished country that is held together by fear and propaganda about the greatness of its supreme leader.

The Press and the Myths of War. There is nothing glorious or gallant about combat. In wartime the press is always part of the problem. This has been true since the Crimean War, when William Howard Russell wrote his account of the charge of the Light Brigade and invented the profession of the modern war correspondent. When the nation goes to war, the press goes to war with it. The blather on CNN or Fox or MSNBC is part of a long and sad tradition.

About the Author Chris Hedges Chris Hedges, former Middle East bureau chief for the New York Times, is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. Also by the Author Corporate totalitarianism is spreading rapidly, and it’s not just Assange or Manning they want. The hollowing out of America, up close and personal. The narrative we are fed about war by the state, the entertainment industry and the press is a myth. War is where I have spent most of my adult life. War itself is venal, dirty, confusing and perhaps the most potent narcotic invented by humankind. Condoleezza Rice named as killer of New York Times' story on CIA. Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson said that Condoleezza Rice, who served as secretary of state and national security adviser under President George W. Bush, personally asked for special press treatment — specifically, for the newspaper to kill a story.

Ms. Rice reportedly made the request while national security adviser, regarding a story from journalist James Risen on the CIA, Ms. Abramson said. Ms. Rice was somewhat awkward during the ordeal, requesting a personal visit, Ms. “She had a legal yellow notebook on her lap with lots of notes on it, and once I had taken a seat across from her, she barely looked up,” she said during a “60 Minutes” interview. “I don’t think I uttered much more than ‘hello’ and ‘I will think of what you said,’” Ms. Ms. The former executive said she regretted killing Mr. “It seemed, in the calculus of all of the major stories we were dealing with at that point, not worth it to me and I regret that decision now,” she said. Islamic State’s execution videos are sly propaganda written in blood. The condemned man kneels in an orange jumpsuit, just like before. Behind him, stands an executioner dressed all in black, a leather holster over one shoulder.

The killer’s face is covered and he holds a knife in his left hand, just like before. The message is clear: This is a ritual. We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again. The video released on Tuesday by the Islamic State group depicting the murder of American journalist Steven Sotloff bears startling similarities to the one released two weeks earlier that captured the last moments of James Foley, down to the London accent of the murderer. He goes out of his way to make it clear that despite U.S. and British intelligence agencies using sophisticated voice recognition technology to trace his identity, it is still the same man holding the knife.

“I’m back Obama,” he tells the camera. A slick production And IS even uses some Hollywood techniques, cutting to a blank screen as the man with the knife sets to work. 'Propaganda as deed' Where’s the Justice at Justice? Photo WASHINGTON — JIM RISEN is gruff. The tall slab of a reporter looks like someone who could have played an Irish Marine sergeant in an old World War II movie.

“Editors think I’m a curmudgeon,” the 59-year-old admits, laughing. Eric Lichtblau, the reporter who sits next to Risen in The Times’s Washington bureau and who won a Pulitzer with him for their remarkable stories about the Bush administration’s illegal warrantless wiretapping, says Risen revels in his prickly, old-school style, acting contrary on everything from newfangled computers to the Bush crew’s fictions about Saddam and W.M.D. to cautious editors.

“He’s pushed to go places that often editors are unwilling to go,” Lichtblau said. “He’s never taken the safe route.” Once Lichtblau took him to a pick-up basketball game and, naturally, Risen got in a fight with a lobbyist about the rules for being out of bounds. “It’s surreal to be caught up in a news story instead of writing about one,” he said, in his soft voice. Russia Conspiracy Theories Trap Putin Malaysia Airlines MH17. Did you know Malaysia Air Flight 17 was full of corpses when it took off from Amsterdam? Did you know that, for some darkly inexplicable reason, on July 17, MH17 moved off the standard flight path that it had taken every time before, and moved north, toward rebel-held areas outside Donetsk? Or that the dispatchers summoned the plane lower just before the crash?

Or that the plane had been recently reinsured? Or that the Ukrainian army has air defense systems in the area? Or that it was the result of the Ukrainian military mistaking MH 17 for Putin’s presidential plane, which looks strangely similar? Did you know that the crash of MH17 was all part of an American conspiracy to provoke a big war with Russia? Well, it’s all true—at least if you live in Russia, because this is the Malaysia Airlines crash story that you’d be seeing. Then it was taken to Holland. But though it may look unconvincing to us in the West, that is because we have seen and read other things that contradict it. United States of Secrets. How AT&T Helped the NSA Spy on Millions August 17, 2015, 4:23 pm ET · by Jason M. Breslow A new investigation finds that the NSA’s relationship with the nation’s second biggest wireless carrier was “unique and especially productive.”

With or Without the Patriot Act, Here’s How the NSA Can Still Spy on Americans June 1, 2015, 4:03 pm ET · by Jason M. Breslow The provisions of the Patriot Act that were allowed to lapse today represent only part of the vast NSA surveillance apparatus exposed by Edward Snowden. FRONTLINE Wins Peabody Award for “United States of Secrets” April 23, 2015, 9:33 am ET · by Patrice Taddonio FRONTLINE’s two-part investigation of the NSA’s surveillance activities post-9/11 has been honored with a Peabody Award for excellence in documentary filmmaking. How the NSA Spying Programs Have Changed Since Snowden February 9, 2015, 11:10 am ET · by Sarah Childress The government says it’s made reforms to its surveillance programs. How the NSA’s Secret Elite Hacking Unit Works. Timeline of Edward Snowden's revelations.

Where digital secrets go to die. In a 20,000-square-foot warehouse, where visitors are required to trade in a driver's license for a visitor's badge, some of the nation's secrets are torn apart, reduced to sand or demagnetized until they are forever silent. "We make things go away," said Arleen Chafitz, owner and CEO of e-End Secure Data Sanitization and Electronics Recycling. Her husband, Steve Chafitz, is the company's president. The company's clients include the Department of Defense and other federal agencies. Its work: destroying hard drives, computers, monitors, phones and other sensitive equipment that governments and corporations don't want in the wrong hands. In a state that's become a center for federal intelligence organizations and private contractors gathering top-secret information, e-End has carved out a niche by destroying the hardware on which such organizations gathered classified material.

"It is definitely a growing sector," Johnson said. "Our job is basically to keep our nation safe," he said. Why Reporters in the U.S. Now Need Protection. Their words are inspiring. Their deeds are awesome. I am humbled and deeply honored to be among them. The first honoree, in 1997, was Ted Koppel of ABC, who for a significant time brought serious reporting to late-night TV with sustained high quality. The most recent, last year, was Alan Rusbridger of the Guardian, who has the vision to be a leader in reinventing journalism for the digital age and the courage to challenge both his government and ours on the extent to which they spy on us.

Together, and with those in between, they inhabit an arc of profound change that I want to reflect on briefly tonight. The arc actually goes back to 1981, when Michael Massing and other young writers with overseas experience founded CPJ. Woodward’s and Bernstein’s reporting in the Washington Post, based partly on tips from anonymous sources, helped drive President Nixon from office.

U.S. journalists, in other words, were riding high. What has changed is the position of us, American journalists. Steve Coll: Why Journalists Deserve Better Protections. In 1969, when nothing excited the public’s interest like the depredations of drug fiends, the Louisville Courier-Journal sent a reporter named Paul Branzburg to penetrate Kentucky’s marijuana underground. He published eyewitness accounts; a photograph accompanying one of them showed hands hovering over a pile of hashish. A grand jury ordered him to identify the dealers he had met. He refused. Branzburg v. Hayes landed at the Supreme Court three years later. Justice Byron White wrote, in a 5-4 opinion, that the First Amendment does not exempt reporters from giving evidence in criminal cases. Yet the Court also held that the Constitution protects reporters from indiscriminate government subpoenas. In reaction to Branzburg, the Justice Department enacted new guidelines for federal prosecutors seeking evidence from journalists.

The subpoena arose from a 2012 story about how the C.I.A.’s infiltration of an Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen had thwarted a bombing plot. Phone Records of Journalists of The Associated Press Seized by U.S. Obama, the Media and National Security - Room for Debate. Government Will Decide What We Can Know Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian A climate of fear is keeping journalists from doing their job -- informing citizens about the secret actions of political leaders.

Stolen Property, Not Free Speech Charles Fried, Constitutional scholar Whoever leaked the crucial fact, that an undercover double agent had helped the U.S. abort a lethal bomb plot, almost certainly committed a crime and an act of treachery. The Whole World Is Watching Sheila S. Coronel, Columbia Journalism School Actions like the seizure of The A.P.’s phone records send the wrong signal to the enemies of press freedom worldwide. Unpopular but Necessary Moves John Deutch, Former national security director The media are not disinterested judges of the balance between pursuing national security risks and the need to inform the public. Only Nixon Harmed a Free Press More James C. Obama, the Media and National Security - Room for Debate. Government Will Decide What We Can Know Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian A climate of fear is keeping journalists from doing their job -- informing citizens about the secret actions of political leaders.

Stolen Property, Not Free Speech Charles Fried, Constitutional scholar Whoever leaked the crucial fact, that an undercover double agent had helped the U.S. abort a lethal bomb plot, almost certainly committed a crime and an act of treachery. The Whole World Is Watching Sheila S. Coronel, Columbia Journalism School Actions like the seizure of The A.P.’s phone records send the wrong signal to the enemies of press freedom worldwide. Unpopular but Necessary Moves John Deutch, Former national security director The media are not disinterested judges of the balance between pursuing national security risks and the need to inform the public. Only Nixon Harmed a Free Press More James C. Steve Coll: Why Journalists Deserve Better Protections.

Documents reveal NSA’s extensive involvement in targeted killing program. The U.S. government has never publicly acknowledged killing Ghul. But documents provided to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden confirm his demise in October 2012 and reveal the agency’s extensive involvement in the targeted killing program that has served as a centerpiece of President Obama’s counterterrorism strategy. An al-Qaeda operative who had a knack for surfacing at dramatic moments in the post-Sept. 11 story line, Ghul was an emissary to Iraq for the terrorist group at the height of that war.

He was captured in 2004 and helped expose bin Laden’s courier network before spending two years at a secret CIA prison. Then, in 2006, the United States delivered him to his native Pakistan, where he was released and returned to the al-Qaeda fold. But beyond filling in gaps about Ghul, the documents provide the most detailed account of the intricate collaboration between the CIA and the NSA in the drone campaign. “Ours is a noble cause,” NSA Director Keith B. Sen. Ken Auletta: Can the Guardian Take Its Aggressive Investigations Global? N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens.

ACLU Posts Fed-Collected 'Suspicious' Activity Reports Online. Hide captionIn the last few years, the feds have expanded efforts to collect tips about people's behavior in the real world. At a fusion center in Las Vegas, workers like Daniel Burns, a program coordinator, analyze suspicious activity reports. The ACLU on Thursday posted more than 1,800 of these reports that were gathered in central California. Monica Lam/Center for Investigative Reporting In the last few years, the feds have expanded efforts to collect tips about people's behavior in the real world. At a fusion center in Las Vegas, workers like Daniel Burns, a program coordinator, analyze suspicious activity reports.

The ACLU on Thursday posted more than 1,800 of these reports that were gathered in central California. With all the talk of spying by the National Security Agency, it's easy to forget the government engages in off-line surveillance, too. Hal Bergman, a freelance photographer in Los Angeles, has a fondness for industrial scenes, bridges, ports and refineries. Government Will Decide What We Can Know - Room for Debate. President Obama has repeatedly hailed himself for presiding over "the most transparent administration ever. " At the same time, he has waged a sustained and unprecedented war on whistleblowers , press freedoms and the basic mechanisms of the newsgathering process. But it is the administration of Barack Obama that has prosecuted more accused leakers under "espionage" statutes than all prior administrations combined -- in fact, double the number of all prior such prosecutions.

A climate of fear is keeping journalists from doing their job -- informing citizens about the secret actions of political leaders. This is the vital context in which the Obama Justice Department's conduct regarding both The A.P. and Fox News' James Rosen must be understood. Time and again, this administration has proven that it has little other than contempt for time-honored protections to safeguard whistleblowing and transparency. This now-lengthy pattern has two primary effects.