DOJ Curtails Spy Charges Against Reporters; But Do Smears Continue?

The Obama Justice Department has announced that it will not assert spy charges against reporters during leak investigations except in special circumstances.

The statement by Attorney Gen. Eric Holder, right, on July 12 reduces the tension between prosecutors and the mainstream media after revelations this spring that the DOJ had claimed in court papers that Fox News reporter James Rosen was suspected of espionage for seeking confidential information in 2009 regarding North Korea from a State Department contractor. Separately, the DOJ secretly tapped 20 lines of the Associated Press used by more than 100 reporters to learn the source of a leak about Yemen. The DOJ actions have prompted a nationwide protest by press freedom advocates.

Meanwhile, a smear campaign against freelance investigative reporter Wayne Madsen raises new questions about the longstanding practice of intelligence agencies in the United States and United Kingdom, as elsewhere, of trying to shape public opinion via news organizations, quasi-academic non-profits, and other outlets that influence civic perceptions. (See background in Part II of this series, The Intelligence Community and the DC Media: A Brief Introduction and Part III, Beware of Wikipedia, CNN -- and Many More.)

Glenn Greenwald, who broke surveillance revelations of former NSA analyst Eric Snowden in the Guardian, is one of several journalists and leakers who have complained about unfair coverage that focuses unduly on the personal attributes of reporters and leakers. David Sirota is another blogger who has alleged a pattern of unfairness, in Meet the “Journalists Against Journalism” club!

Madsen's experiences raise the possibility that criticism may be contrived by government working with assets in the private sector. Madsen wrote in the July 15 Wayne Madsen Report (WMR):

British intelligence sources have informed WMR that a British Defense Ministry "D-Notice" issued on June 7 to British media organizations, including the Guardian and the Observer, both owned by the same company, served as a pretext to conduct the smear attack on WMR's editor on both sides of the Atlantic. A Confidential D-Notice was issued to the media organizations as a "DA-Notice 03," which was issued pursuant to media reports on "ciphers and secure communications" operations of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Britain's National Security Agency partner. The DA-3 Notice was authorized by Foreign Secretary William Hague, who has responsibility for GCHQ and Britain's MI-6 foreign intelligence service. D-Notices are merely advisory in nature but most media operations that receive them understand that they could be charged with violating the Official Secrets Act if choose to totally ignore such advisories.

Madsen, below left, is a freelance investigative reporter, and author who previously worked as a Navy intelligence officer, including an assignment to work at the NSA as a computer expert. Also, he has been a vice president at a large defense contractor, and a researcher/pundit at a Washington think tank. A prolific writer on both mainstream and highly controversial topics, Madsen is the author of six books. Among other things, he has written op-eds that have appeared in more than 40 mainstream United States newspapers this year.

This month, several reporters at mainstream publications and politically active military and think tank personnel subjected Madsen tgo a vicious and deceptive social media attack after the Observer in London quoted him in a front-page story. The story, headlined Revealed: secret European deals to hand over private data to America, appeared late June 29 online just before print publication the next day.

Complaints about Madsen apparently persuaded the Observer to drop its front-page story for unexplained reasons.

This episode has enough U.S.-based ties to deserve consideration as a part of the overall relationship between the Obama administration and the media regarding leaks -- especially since the vast bulk of the news coverage it has received has been wrong on major facts.

I have more interest than most in examining why Madsen's cooperation with the Observer's request for documents created such a storm of controversy. Madsen, whom I met at the National Press Club in Washington eight years ago, has shared several declassified documents that assisted me in research for my book announced last week, Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters. The book surveys more than a century of U.S. and U.K. history through June of this year to portray important developments unreported or under-covered by the media, often for national security reasons.

My findings show extensive NSA and CIA's secret involvement in domestic surveillance and domestic politics. Both agencies were forbidden for many years from those activities. Each minimizes in a deceptive manner the actual scope of their spying on domestic populations. My book cites among its 1,100 endnotes several of Madsen's books on relevant topics. One is The Manufacturing a President, published last year. It revealed more of President Obama's family background and early career than known previously, based in part on his travels to Indonesia to research under difficult conditions suppressed records of the future president's early years.

Madsen showed yet again in that research that he is a fearless, capable and cutting-edge investigative reporter, according to Robert S. Finnegan, right, a former senior editor of the Jakata Post. He worked with Madsen to try to extract suppressed records regarding activities of the president's mother, Ann Dunham, and step-father, Lolo Soetoro, in the years after a CIA-sponsored coup installed pro-Western Prime Minister Suharto. Finnegan is a retired Marine NCO with combat service in Lebanon three decades ago. Based in Jakarta, he describes Madsen as the kind of journalist likely "to come to a bad end" because he "defends the weak and the poor."

"He is a courageous warrior for the truth and already has his place in history," Finnegan continued by email. "These bastards smell blood in the water now, and they are going to go for it."

The smear against Madsen arose with remarkable speed and scope. The unrebutted evidence at this point is that the main perpetrators have been unwilling to publish corrections or respond to complaints that their major allegations against Madsen were false. The platforms they used included the July 7 edition of CNN's "Reliable Sources" show, which convened three employees of the Daily Beast Newsweek to denounce Madsen in a segment Reporters Under Fire, with no rebuttal presented or permitted even though central "facts" presented appear to have been concocted. Among the journalists who promptly moved into action were the following:

The comment sections, especially of the U.S.-based outlets, contain hard-hitting attacks on the factual basis of the columns, as well as their fairness. Only Gillin and his editor responded to my request for comment for this column. They each said he was "an aggregator" who publishes information on the Poynter site, but is not responsible for its veracity. They published a small correction, leaving in place the original tirade by the Daily Beast/Newsweek reporter, Moynihan.

Craig Murray, left, a former British ambassor and university rector was moved to write a column defending Madsen and the importance of the story: All Law is Gone: Naked Power Remains, So did Simon Davies, a noted UK privacy expert whose interview with Madsen had sparked the Observer's interest in re-interviewing Madsen. Davies wrote a 4,000-word column on the Observer's response to pressure: The withdrawal of an NSA story – and an ethical quagmire for the Observer, Excerpts from each of these columns are provided below.

In response, Madsen has alleged that attacks follow a similar blueprint of unwarranted slurs that have tarnished previous DC journalists such as Jack Anderson, Dan Rather, and Helen Thomas. He told me that he wishes that all of the news organizations had stood their ground more staunchly against outside pressure. But he said he not upset with the Observer for its conduct because he realizes that the newspaper faced a strong combination of direct government pressure and a hoked up "neo-con" social media campaign that draws on well-funded and well-practiced hit squads.

The British Foreign Secretary William Hague, at left, is the man Madsen accuses of leading the pressure against the Guardian and Observer. Hague is a member of the ruling Conservative government in the UK that shares close ties with leading media companies on both sides of the Atlantic. The UK government also cooperates with Western governments that are embarrassed by recent disclosures in the Guardian and elsewhere. All of those governments are embarassed at being exposes as secretly cooperating for years in spying on each others' citizens.

Public protest has been strongest in Germany. That reaction is congruent with the conclusion of Madsen's first book, Handbook of Personal Data Protection, published by MacMillan in 1992. The 1,000-page hardback translated and surveyed privacy laws throught the world, and concluded that Germans tended to oppose privacy violations more than in other Western nations because the nation's Nazi and Stasi history has alerted the population to the dangers of government political oppression if privacy is narrowed.

Madsen is primarily known these days to alternative audiences. All four major TV networks used to host him as an expert but stopped inviting him because his work ranged afield from formats and topics producers wanted. In his final two appearances on Fox News, for example, he joked at the expense of President George W. Bush and host Bill O'Reilly. The joke on O'Reilly, which visibly irritated the host in a segment before the Christmas holiday, was Madsen's wish for O'Reilly to have a "Merry Christmas!" O'Reilly's segment had been designed to show that "A War on Christmas" exists across America because too many people wish each other "Happy Holidays" instead of recognizing the holiday's Christian roots.

On substance, Madsen poses an unusual threat to information gatekeepers in the media and government alike. He has a network of sources from his days in government, and can also publish with more independence than media companies that are sensitive to government pressures on their affiliates or parent company.

Madsen generates extreme reactions from journalists and authorities that range between hatred and high respect. Part of the reason is that his work as a Navy investigator and journalist has immersed him in hot-button and hard-to-prove areas, such as sex crimes, financial scandals, national security, and disloyalty that few others are willing to undertake. In the Navy, for example, he investigated at the request of the FBI his commanding officer as a sexual predator of underage victims. Also, he served on a team assessing damage to the Navy from Jonathan Pollard, who is now serving a long prison sentence as a spy for Israel -- which has repeatedly pressured presidents to free Pollard over the strong objections of many in the military.

Madsen has frequently infuriated partisans of both parties or more decorous journalistic colleagues. For one thing, he publishes a journalism-government "incest" chart showing well-known journalists who have close relatives in government or political jobs. Madsen has featured for years on the chart Howard Kurtz, the CNN "Reliable Sources" host for 15 years until he departed in June for Fox News. Kurtz's wife is a political consultant. Another entry is Obama White House Deputy National Security Advisor Benjamin Rhodes, who has two siblings prominent in network television news. One is CBS News Presidents Andrew Rhodes. Madsen's angles showcasing corruption in many dark corners are not normal for Washington journalists, who tend to protect one another and practice "pack journalism" focusing on similar topics and approaches.

Madsen occasionally reports sex allegations against government leaders that are hard-to-prove even with research among those purportedly close to the action. Typically, the context involves instances in which he claims that the leaders have been sex profligates in ways putting them in danger of blackmail, or violating their "family values" images in especially excessive ways. He has sources at multiple junctures such situations. These include, at at times, alleged participants in acts, creation of the dossiers, or extraction of political favors that affect public policy. The late Jeane Palfrey, known during a criminal trial as "The DC Madam," entrusted him as one of three reporters given her list of 20,000 client phone numbers, for example, before she made the numbers more widely available. Also, she and her attorney met with Madsen at dinner in which she shared with Madsen those details she could recall of the service's most famous clients. The names included some at the highest levels of government and media. He has used only a tiny fraction of the information she shared or the memoirs of leading gay journalists. Yet none of this is the kind of reporting that wins friends, or can ever be 100 percent guaranteed as accurate in all of the details.

This is not to suggest Madsen should be above criticism or that people should feel sorry for him. He has chosen to make controversial allegations about powerful people, and it is to be expected that they would retaliate. His own responses, usually delivered on the Wayne Madsen Report or radio, tend to go for his attackers' vulnerable points. Without getting into details, Madsen's responses to the critics above left on their sites and published on his own are what you might expect from Don Rickles if a bad drunk in the audience interrupted his performance to heckle.

The more important point than fairness and gentility in all of this is a larger pattern. Why do public relations campaigns to discredit journalists sometimes appear out of nowhere, tarnishing whatever news the reporters seek to report on sensitive topics?

Greenwald, the Guardian columnist who broke the story of Edward Snowden's revelations about NSA surveillance, has complained that mainstream coverage has focused heavily on his personal life which he calls "an inevitable side effect for those who challenge the US government." He complains also about the media's fascination with Snowden's whereabouts and personal history rather than the significance of Snowden's revelations.

The DOJ's new policy for investigating leaks protects employees of the corporate-owned media that operate under tight controls. Liberal blogger Marcy Wheeler and conservative Glenn Reynolds wrote similar columns last week suggesting that the DOJ apparently hopes that Congress will define journalism in a way that includes only employees of corporations. Illinois Senate Democrat Dick Durbin recently advocated that the government define and certify legitimate journalists.

Yet the Constitutional provisions protecting "the press" were designed to protect the function of information dissemination, not large media organizations, Reynolds aptly argued this week. Reynolds is a University of Tennessee law professor, a former contemporary of mine at Yale Law School, and author of the widely read blog, InstaPundit. His column was Who’s a journalist? Don’t let Uncle Sam decide,

The last word on this goes to Finnegan, the longtime journalist who now devotes his time to helping improve public health for sickly children in Jakarta. Half a world away, he is furious about the pundits who made up lies to go after Madsen on television.

"They primp and preen before the mirror of lies, innuendo and character assassination," Finnegan wrote me over the weekend. "Put simply, and I have said this over and over in print, they do not have the courage to attack the perpetrators of public policies. So they go after the messenger who exposes them for what they truly are -- fraudulent cowards living in a propagandized, desensitized, fantasy world."

Next installment:  The Intelligence Community and the DC Media: A Brief Introduction

The Intelligence Community and the DC Media: A Brief Introduction. Reporters face a daunting challenge if they seek to cover the CIA, NSA, and the nation's dozens of other intelligence bodies.  Everyone knows the history of the Washington Post's Watergate reporting. Here is another side to government news coverage during that era. (Part two of a three-part series.)

 

Contact the author Andrew Kreig
 
 

 

 

This Series

Justice Integrity Project, DOJ Curtails Spy Charges Against Reporters; But Do Smears Continue? Andrew Kreig, July 16, 2013. The Obama Justice Department has announced that it will not assert spy charges against reporters during leak investigations except in special circumstances. The statement by Attorney Gen. Eric Holder July 12 reduces the tension between prosecutors and the mainstream media. Meanwhile, a smear campaign against freelance investigative reporter Wayne Madsen raises new questions about the longstanding practice of intelligence agencies in the United States and United Kingdom, as elsewhere, of trying to shape public opinion via news organizations, quasi-academic non-profits, and other outlets that influence civic perceptions. (Part one of a three-part series.)

Justice Integrity Project, The Intelligence Community and the DC Media: A Brief Introduction, Andrew Kreig, July 16, 2013. Reporters face a daunting challenge if they seek to cover the CIA, NSA, and the nation's dozens of other intelligence bodies.  Everyone knows the history of the Washington Post's Watergate reporting. Here is another side to government news coverage during that era. The snapshots below illustrate the tight and largely hidden ties between the Post, news outlets like it, and the powerful United States intelligence community. (Part two of a three-part series.)

Justice Integrity Project, Beware of Wikipedia, CNN -- and Many More, Andrew Kreig, July 22, 2013. (Part three of a three-part series.)

 

Related News Coverage

Justice Department Changes

Washington Post, Justice Dept. tightens rules on subpoenaing records of journalists, Sari Horwitz, June 12, 2013. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday announced tighter controls over the ability of prosecutors to subpoena the phone and other records of journalists after criticism that the Justice Department’s aggressive pursuit of leak investigations was infringing on press freedom. Under new guidelines, a reporter must be the target of a criminal investigation before Justice Department officials can obtain a search warrant for the journalist’s e-mails and other records. In the White House Photo at right of a recent cabinet meeting, President Obama is flanked at right by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and at his left by Susan Rice, Eric Holder, and John Brennan.

Huffington Post, Justice Department Revises Media Guidelines In Leak Investigations, Michael Calderone and Ryan J. Reilly, July 12, 2013. The Justice Department will be restricted from labeling a journalist as a criminal co-conspirator in seeking a search warrant to gain access to reporting materials under new media guidelines issued on Friday. “The Department of Justice is firmly committed to ensuring our nation’s security, and protecting the American people, while at the same time safeguarding the freedom of the press," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. Holder also indicated the administration's ongoing support for media shield legislation, indicating there were "additional protections that only Congress can provide." The Justice Department came under fire in mid-May for secretly obtaining the emails of Fox News reporter James Rosen in 2009. Prosecutors implied they were investigating Rosen, allowing federal authorities to obtain his emails without his knowledge. Holder signed off on treating Rosen as a co-conspirator in the case, but he later expressed regret for that action. The Associated Press revealed in May that the DOJ had obtained phone records for 20 lines used by editors and reporters there, during an investigation that followed a 2012 story describing a CIA-thwarted terrorist plot in Yemen. Under the new policy, news organizations will be given advance notice when investigators seek access to news-gathering materials, except in situations where the attorney general determines that "for compelling reasons, advance notice and negotiations would pose a clear and substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation, risk grave harm to national security, or present an imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm."

Emptywheel / FireDogLake, In Bid to Placate Legacy Media, DOJ Moves Closer to Instituting Official Press, Marcy Wheeler, July 12, 2013. The First Amendment was written, in part, to eliminate the kind of official press that parrots only the King’s sanctioned views. But with its re"vised “News Media Policies,” DOJ gets us closer to having just that, an official press. That’s because all the changes laid out in the new policy (some of which are good, some of which are obviously flawed) apply only to “members of the news media.” They repeat over and over and over and over, “news media.” I’m not sure they once utter the word “journalist” or “reporter.” And according to DOJ’s Domestic Investigation and Operations Guide, a whole slew of journalists are not included in their definition of “news media.” The definition does not, however, include a person or entity who posts information or opinion on the Internet in blogs, chat rooms or social networking sites, such as YouTube, Facebook, or MySpace, unless that person or entity falls within the definition of a member of the media or a news organization under the other provisions within this section (e.g., a national news reporter who posts on his/her personal blog). Then it goes onto lay out what I will call the “WikiLeaks exception.” As the term is used in the DIOG, “news media” is not intended to include persons and entities that simply make information available. Instead, it is intended to apply to a person or entity that gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the general public, uses editorial skills to turn raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience, as a journalism professional. The definition does warn that if there is any doubt, the person should be treated as media. Nevertheless, the definition seems to exclude a whole bunch of people (including, probably, me), who are engaged in journalism.

New York Post, Who’s a journalist? Don’t let Uncle Sam decide, Glenn Harlan Reynolds, July 8, 2013. Sen. Dick Durbin thinks it’s time for Congress to decide who’s a real reporter. In the Chicago Sun-Times last week, he wrote: “Everyone, regardless of the mode of expression, has a constitutionally protected right to free speech. But when it comes to freedom of the press, I believe we must define a journalist and the constitutional and statutory protections those journalists should receive.” How do you decide who is a journalist? Essentially, he says, it’s someone who gets a paycheck from a media organization: “A journalist gathers information for a media outlet that disseminates the information through a broadly defined ‘medium’ — including newspaper, nonfiction book, wire service, magazine, news Web site, television, radio or motion picture — for public use. This broad definition covers every form of legitimate journalism.”  Does it really? Every form? Durbin is a constitutional ignoramus if he thinks that when the Framers talked about freedom of the press, they were talking about freedom for the press as an institution. Journalism is indeed an activity, not a profession, and though we often refer to institutionalized media as “the press,” we should remember that James Madison talked about freedom of the press as “freedom in the use of the press” — that is, the freedom to publish, not simply freedom for media organizations. It was easy to be a pamphleteer in Madison’s time, and there was real influence in being such. But that changed with the increase in efficiencies of scale that accompanied the industrial revolution, and “the press” in common parlance became not a tool of publication but a shorthand for those organizations large and wealthy enough to possess those tools. Yet now technology has changed things up again; the tools of Internet publication are available to anyone, however modest his or her means. The ability to publish inexpensively, and to reach potentially millions of people in seconds, has made it possible for people who’d never be able to — or even want to — be hired by the institutional press to nonetheless publish and influence the world, much like 18th century pamphleteers.

Washington Post, Questions for Snowden, Walter Pincus, July 8, 2013. Did Edward Snowden decide on his own to seek out journalists and then a job at Booz Allen Hamilton’s Hawaii facility as an IT systems administrator to gather classified documents about the National Security Agency’s worldwide surveillance activities? Snowden told the South China Post in June that he took the Booz Allen job in late March or early April because it “granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked.”

Government Probes of Mainstream Journalists

National Press Club, AP CEO calls for new Justice Department guidelines to protect journalists, Robert Webb, June 19, 2013. The Department of Justice's seizure of Associated Press phone records has made it tougher for reporters to do their jobs, AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said Wednesday, June 19 at a National Press Club luncheon. Pruitt, shown in a photo courtesy of Noel St. John, called for new Justice Department guidelines that include protections for journalists' email and text messages, and a federal shield law "with teeth." The Justice Department's seizure unsettled sources and chilled reporting, he said. "Some longtime trusted sources have become nervous and anxious about talking with us -- even on stories unrelated to national security," Pruitt said. "Others are reluctant to meet in person. In one instance, our journalists could not get a law enforcement official to confirm a detail that had been reported elsewhere." AP is not the only media to suffer, he said. "Journalists from other news organizations have personally told me that has intimidated both official and non-official sources speaking to them as well," Pruitt said.

National Press Club, Club Talks With Attorney General Holder on Press Freedom Matters, Angela Greiling Keane, June 19, 2013. The National Press Club participated in the most recent small-group meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss our concerns about the Justice Department's recent subpoenas and search warrants issued against journalists.

NSA and Allied Surveillance on European Allies

Guardian, New NSA leaks show how US is bugging its European allies; Exclusive: Edward Snowden papers reveal 38 targets including EU, France and Italy, Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger, June 30, 2013. Berlin accuses Washington of cold war tactics. US intelligence services are spying on the European Union mission in New York and its embassy in Washington, according to the latest top secret US National Security Agency documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. One document lists 38 embassies and missions, describing them as "targets". It details an extraordinary range of spying methods used against each target, from bugs implanted in electronic communications gear to taps into cables to the collection of transmissions with specialised antennae. Along with traditional ideological adversaries and sensitive Middle Eastern countries, the list of targets includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey. The list in the September 2010 document does not mention the UK, Germany or other western European states. One of the bugging methods mentioned is codenamed Dropmire, which, according to a 2007 document, is "implanted on the Cryptofax at the EU embassy, DC" – an apparent reference to a bug placed in a commercially available encrypted fax machine used at the mission. The NSA documents note the machine is used to send cables back to foreign affairs ministries in European capitals. The documents suggest the aim of the bugging exercise against the EU embassy in central Washington is to gather inside knowledge of policy disagreements on global issues and other rifts between member states.

Der Spiegel, Attacks from America: NSA Spied on European Union Offices, Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach, Fidelius Schmid and Holger Stark, June 29, 2013.America's NSA intelligence service allegedly targeted the European Union with its spying activities. According to Spiegel information, the US placed bugs in the EU representation in Washington and infiltrated its computer network. Cyber attacks were also perpetrated against Brussels in New York and Washington.

Observer, Revealed: secret European deals to hand over private data to America, Jamie Dowden, June 29, 2013 (Story withdrawn. Material below and at right from web cache.) Germany 'among countries offering intelligence' according to new claims by former US defense analyst. At least six European Union countries in addition to Britain have been colluding with the US over the mass harvesting of personal communications data, according to a former contractor to America's National Security Agency, who said the public should not be "kept in the dark." Wayne Madsen, a former US navy lieutenant who first worked for the NSA in 1985, names Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain and Italy as having secret deals with the US. Madsen, at left, said the countries had "formal second and third party status" under signal intelligence (sigint) agreements that compels them to hand over data, including mobile phone and internet information to the NSA if requested. Under international intelligence agreements, confirmed by declassified documents, nations are categorised by the US according to their trust level. The US is first party while the UK, Canada, Australia and  New Zealand enjoy second party relationships. Germany and France have third party relationships. In an interview published last night on the PrivacySurgeon.org blog, Madsen, who has been attacked for holding controversial views on espionage issues, said he had decided to speak out after becoming concerned about the "half story" told by EU politicians regarding the extent of the NSA's activities in Europe. He said that under the agreements, which were drawn up after the second world war, the "NSA gets the lion's share" of the sigint "take." In return, the third parties to the NSA agreements received "highly sanitised intelligence."

Editor's Note: The Observer pulled the front-page story above from its website June 30 pending what its brief notice called further investigation. The newspaper's opaque explanation is listed below, as is a letter to the editor from Wayne Madsen that the paper permitted to clarify its explanation:

Observer, For the Record, July 5, 2013. On Saturday night, the Observer published a story in print and online on the Guardian website, headlined "Revealed: secret European deals to hand over private data to America." It dealt with the operational relationship between EU member states and the National Security Agency (NSA), suggesting that the US had signed a series of agreements stretching back decades, which allowed it to harvest surveillance data in a number of European countries, in addition to the UK. The documentary evidence for the story, which was based on a number of sources, was sound, but it was wrong to connect Wayne Madsen with this story in any way. For this reason, the original story was removed from the website, and the Observer splash was replaced. A rewritten version of the story was later published on the website.

Observer, Letter to the Editor by Wayne Madsen, July 6, 2013. Regarding the Observer's correction of 5 July 2013 [see For the Record], in which you said it was wrong to connect [me with] the article "Revealed: Secret deals with Europeans...," I wish to inform your readers that I provided your reporter, on his request after he contacted me, with the two documents on which the article was based.

Attacks on Wayne Madsen

Business Insider, The Guardian Revealed An NSA 'Scoop' Then Deleted It From The Website, Paul Szoldra, June 29, 2013, 8:51 PM. Before joining Business Insider in January 2013, Paul was an infantry squad leader and instructor in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in such places as Afghanistan, Korea, Japan, and Thailand (among others). He has a B.S. in Entrepreneurship from the University of Tampa and is pursuing an M.A. in Digital Journalism from the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg. He's currently the Front Page Editor. Backgrounder: New Yorker, Can a disgraced Wall Street analyst earn trust as a journalist? Ken Auletta, April 8, 2013. The newsroom of Business Insider occupies the thirteenth floor of 257 Park Avenue South, overlooking the sidewalks and snail-mail concerns of Twenty-first Street. Rows of pressed-wood IKEA desks are lined up under a vast ceiling, and several dozen writers and editors tap away at keyboards and gaze at twenty-three-inch screens. The loudest noise often comes from Henry Blodget, the editor-in-chief, who occupies the first seat in the sixth row from the entrance. He sits with his back to a white concrete pillar, facing his reporters and editors, wearing a white shirt, a tie, and a charcoal business suit. When he talks, his arms swing and his voice rises, conveying the enthusiasm of an evangelist.  Business Insider was started in 2007, by Kevin P. Ryan, an Internet entrepreneur, and Blodget, who became the C.E.O. and the editor-in-chief.

Telegraph, Guardian/Observer pulls front-page NSA story after source turns out to be a fruitloop, Damian Thompson, June 30, 2013. The Guardian/Observer website has just pulled an exclusive front-page report about "secret European deals to hand over private data to America" – prompting cries of "Wow! MASSIVE FAIL by The Guardian" on Twitter. Why was the story pulled after publication? Because its highly unreliable source is Wayne Madsen, an unusual gentleman who (the Guardian/Observer now realises too late) has in the past jumped on the Birther bandwagon – and also suggested that Barack Obama is gay (which he isn't).

Daily Beast / Newsweek, NSA Nutjob: Anatomy of a Fake ‘Observer’ Story, Michael Moynihan, July 1, 2013. Not only did The Guardian’s sister publication base a cover story—later pulled—on a single paranoid conspiracist, the reporter failed even to speak with him. But the story’s still percolating online, says Michael Moynihan. For those desiccated journalists old enough to remember, the scandal-plagued presidency of Bill Clinton was the golden age of enterprising conspiracists, imaginative cranks, and swivel-eyed charlatans. Back then, before the Internet allowed for the easy dissemination, repetition, and debunking of sinister nonsense, a certain amount of skill was required to spread conspiracy theories. For Clinton’s tormentors, the most reliable route for dodgy information was the sympathetic foreign reporter. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the Washington correspondent for Britain’s august, right-leaning broadsheet The Daily Telegraph, dutifully “raised questions” about the suicide of former White House staffer Vince Foster and the president’s supposed involvement in a cocaine-smuggling ring. The stories were then laundered back into the mainstream American news media (”According to a report in London’s Daily Telegraph...”).

Poynter Institute, Observer pulls story about NSA deal based on Wayne Madsen conspiracy theory, Joshua Gillin, July 1, 2013. The U.K.’s Observer raised eyebrows Sunday for publishing a story alleging the United States had been working with European Union countries and Britain to collect personal communications data, based solely on the allegations of conspiracy theorist Wayne Madsen. The paper later pulled the story from its website, but not until after it ran in print — and The Daily Beast’s Michael Moynihan noticed the paper’s Jamie Doward hadn’t even interviewed Madsen.

Defending Wayne Madsen

Craig Murray.org, All Law is Gone: Naked Power Remains, Craig Murray, July 3, 2013. Craig Murray, left, is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. The forcing down of the Bolivian President’s jet was a clear breach of the Vienna Convention by Spain and Portugal, which closed their airspace to this Head of State while on a diplomatic mission. It has never been thought necessary to write down in a Treaty that Heads of State enjoy diplomatic immunity while engaged in diplomacy, as their representatives only enjoy diplomatic immunity as cyphers for their Head of State. But it is a hitherto unchallenged precept of customary international law, indeed arguably the oldest provision of international law. To the US and its allies, international law is no longer of any consequence. I can see no evidence that anyone in an official position has even noted the illegality of repeated Israeli air and missile strikes against Syria. Snowden, Manning and Assange all exposed illegality on a massive scale, and no action whatsoever has been taken against any of the criminals they exposed. Instead they are being hounded out of all meaningful life and ability to function in society. I have repeatedly posted, and have been saying in public speeches for ten years, that under the UK/US intelligence sharing agreements the NSA spies on UK citizens and GCHQ spies on US citizens and they swap the information. As they use a shared technological infrastructure, the division is simply a fiction to get round the law in each country restricting those agencies from spying on their own citizens.

I have also frequently remarked how extraordinary it is that the media keep this “secret,” which they have all known for years. The Guardian published the truth on 29 June: "At least six European Union countries in addition to Britain have been colluding with the US over the mass harvesting of personal communications data, according to a former contractor to America’s National Security Agency, who said the public should not be “kept in the dark.”  This article has been taken down pending an investigation...." Wayne Madsen, a former US navy lieutenant who first worked for the NSA in 1985, names Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain and Italy as having secret deals with the US. I can give, and I would give on oath, an eye witness guarantee that from my direct personal experience of twenty years as a British diplomat the deleted information from Wayne Madsen was true.

Privacy Surgeon, The withdrawal of an NSA story – and an ethical quagmire for the Observer, Simon Davies, July 8, 2013. There are many inspiring stories of heroic actions by journalists and editors – tenacious tales from the front-line in pursuit of truth. Unfortunately for one British Sunday newspaper – the Observer – inclusion in that noble circle may have to wait until the paper conducts a deep dive into its principles. Circumstances surrounding the hasty removal of a story have raised some uncomfortable questions about the Observer‘s editorial processes and its ethical compass. Over the past few days circumstances surrounding the paper’s hasty removal of a front page story on NSA spying within Europe have raised some uncomfortable questions about the Observer’s editorial processes and its ethical compass (the Observer is the sister publication of the Guardian newspaper).  It seems that at the heart of the paper’s decision to expunge this story was a torrent of condemnation from the hard-core US Liberal media over the credibility of a former NSA contractor, Wayne Madsen, who had featured in the article. By way of background, Madsen has never been on friendly terms with the Liberal media, and the two have been like acid and water for the past ten years. A mini Twitter-storm in the two hours following publication persuaded the Observer to withdraw the story. A barrage of subsequent hostile reviews persuaded the paper to keep it withdrawn.

Wayne Madsen Responses

WMR, UK D-Notice resulted in web attack on WMR editor, Wayne Madsen, July 15, 2013 (Subscription required). British intelligence sources have informed WMR that a British Defense Ministry "D-Notice" issued on June 7 to British media organizations, including The Guardian and The Observer, both owned by the same company, served as a pretext to conduct the smear attack on WMR's editor on both sides of the Atlantic. A Confidential D-Notice was issued to the media organizations as a "DA-Notice 03," which was issued pursuant to media reports on "ciphers and secure communications" operations of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Britain's National Security Agency partner.

Wayne Madsen Report, Libel bloggers rally again after attacking Dan Rather and Helen Thomas, Wayne Madsen, July 5, 2013 (Subscription required). Fortunately, WMR has no corporate board of directors and management staff. Otherwise, like former CBS News anchorman Dan Rather and Hearst newspapers columnist Helen Thomas, this editor would be shown the door. Rather and Thomas, two experienced journalists, were unable to survive the incessant Internet barrage launched by a small group of dedicated social media and web bloggers who do not fall into the category of either "liberal" or "conservative." Instead, these individuals are known as "libel bloggers," since their stock in trade is spreading libelous and defamatory information on their "targets of the day" to as many websites as possible. These "libel bloggers" also seek to silence any news carried by the so-called "mainstream media" that falls outside the prescribed pabulum that passes for news that is pre-selected for airing and publication in a few newsrooms in New York, Washington, and London.

WMR, Firing back, Wayne Madsen, July 1, 2013 (Subscription required). After a very stormy weekend, this should be perfectly clear to those who would practice amateur psychiatry while, at the same time, purporting to be "journalists." I do not suffer fools easily. I'll start with the events that led up to The Observer of Britain and its sister paper, The Guardian, dropping the story on my not-so-new revelations concerning the National Security Agency's use of "Third Parties" like Germany and France, now up in arms about NSA-British GCHQ spying on their citizens, to conduct mass eavesdropping on satellite and undersea cable communications. The Observer, which ran a front page story in its Sunday June 30 edition featuring yours truly's picture on the front page, was responding to my interview with Simon Davies, the former director general of Privacy International and now the editor of The Privacy Surgeon.

Wayne Madsen Report, NSA's joint operations with European nations, Wayne Madsen, July 2, 2013 (Subscription required). The Observer of the UK interviewed the editor on the National Security Agency's Second, Third, and Fourth Party agreements with other intelligence services that pointed out that German and French protestations about the NSA and British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) jointly tapping the transatlantic cable in Cornwall not withstanding, the NSA also cooperates with Berlin and Paris in collecting private information on European citizens. On June 29, after The Guardian ran the story prior to The Observer running it on its web site and featuring it as a splash in its June 30 print edition, the story was pulled by The Guardian and The Observer. The decision appears to have been made after a well-coordinated campaign was launched by a number of web activists, including a Professor John Schindler, who identifies himself as a professor with the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Schindler has been particularly critical of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald.

Madsen Report, SPECIAL REPORT. NSA's meta-data email surveillance program exposed, Wayne Madsen, left, Feb. 4, 2009 (Suscription required.) WMR has learned details of one of the most important components of the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program code named "STELLAR WIND." The highly-classified STELLAR WIND program was initiated by the George W. Bush administration with the cooperation of major U.S. telecommunications carriers, including AT&T and Verizon. The system is linked to a number of meta-databases that contain e-mail, faxes, and text messages of hundreds of millions of people around the world and in the United States. Informed sources have revealed to WMR that PINWALE can search these meta-databases using various parameters like date-time group, natural language, IP address, sender and recipients, operating system, and other information embedded in the header. When an NSA analyst is looking for Farsi or Arabic e-mails, the sender and recepients are normally foreign nationals, who are not covered by restrictions on eavesdropping on U.S. "persons" once imposed on NSA by United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (USSID 18). However, STELLAR WIND and PINWALE negated both USSID 18 and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 by permitting NSA analysts to read the e-mails, faxes, and text messages of U.S. persons when PINWALE search parameters included searches of e-mails in English. When English language text communications are retrieved, analysts read the text message content to determine whether it contains anything to do with terrorism. However, rather than being deleted, the messages are returned to the meta-databases. Text message records in PINWALE, a system developed by NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, are contained in three major meta-databases code-named LIONHEART, LIONROAR, and LIONFUSION. Not only are text communications between U.S. persons in the United States and recipients abroad contained in the PINWALE meta-databases but text messages between U.S. persons within the United States are also held in the databases. WMR reported on May 10, 2005, that Booz Allen is also the major contractor for an NSA database code named "FIRSTFRUITS" that tracked not only the articles of journalists but contained intercepts of their communications, ". . . part of the upkeep of the [FIRSTFRUITS] system has been outsourced to outside contractors such as Booz Allen." The involvement of the telecommunications companies in STELLAR WIND and PINWALE was revealed when former AT&T technician Mark Klein leaked AT&T documents on the program 2006. AT&T's interception entailed NSA snooping equipment being placed within AT&T centers in San Francisco; Bridgeton, Missouri; San Diego; San Jose; Atlanta; Seattle; and Los Angeles.

About CNN

CNN, Sneak peek at this Sunday's show, Elizabeth Cherneff, July 5, 2013. Guest host John Avlon will analyze the various media angles. Later in the show, we’ll talk to Newsweek/The Daily Beast’s Michael Moynihan about The Observer publishing, then pulling, a poorly-sourced NSA story – but not before several other news organizations picked it up.

CNN Reliable Sources, Reporters Under Fire, John Avlon, Host, Transcripts, July 7, 2013. Ahead on Reliable Sources, Britain's "Observer" publishes an alleged scoop about the NSA that went viral before it had to be retracted. So, here's the question, why did the paper base its report on single unreliable source?

Update: Daily Howler, SOCIETY DOWN: It’s time for Ben Jealous (and Crowley) to go! Bob Somerby, July 20, 2013. Plainly, the legal case against George Zimmerman was never open-and-shut. Why did so many people think otherwise? Last night, we saw part of the answer. We watched CNN’s "State of the Union" program from last Sunday, the morning after the verdict. During the trial, the jury was told by the defense that Martin was banging Zimmerman’s head on concrete moments before he was shot. And the best-positioned eyewitness testified that Martin was beating Zimmerman MMA-style shortly before he was shot. Now, we reach the incredible part. In the full hour of Crowley’s program, that claim and that testimony were never mentioned! The injuries sustained by Zimmerman were never mentioned either. The injuries and the testimony meant that this case wasn't open and shut. But these basic elements of the case went AWOL from Crowley's show.

Daily Howler, Howard Kurtz leaves CNN with a bang! Bob Somerby, July 1, 2013. Yesterday morning, Howard Kurtz hosted his final edition on CNN’s Reliable Sources, the program “where we turn a critical lens on the media.” . Each Sunday, he has asked a group of mainstream pundits to come on TV and pretend to critique their own guild. Now, he’s been hired away by Fox. We were struck, for the ten millionth time, by the clownish way the pundit corps actually works, especially when it pretends to be critiquing itself. We refer to the treatment by Kurtz’s panel of the Paula Deen flap. Remember: Reliable Sources is supposed to be the show where they “turn a critical lens” on the media—not on the various people the media have been flaying. Whatever you think of Paula Deen, she isn’t part of “the media.” But how odd! Neither Kurtz, nor anyone else, had much to say about the media’s conduct! Instead, everyone seemed to turn a critical lens on Paula Deen herself!  Can we talk? In the past week, major news orgs have made ginormous misstatements about Deen. Deen directly said so in last week's interview with Matt Lauer, though she didn’t name names. Why did the New York Times and Slate, among many others, publish such groaning misstatements last week? Kurtz never mentioned the fact that they did—and neither did anyone else! We are talking about the pundits who sat on Kurtz’s final panel. These people are lazy, dishonest, false. Sunday, they faked one for the Gipper, sending Kurtz off in style.

Daily Howler, At CNN, Howard Kurtz will call it a day! Bob Somerby, June 24, 2013. One of the strangest shows ever. Next Sunday, Howard Kurtz will end a 15-year run as host of the weekly CNN program, Reliable Sources. Kurtz will be going over to Fox, where he will start hosting the weekly program, Fox News Watch.  Kurtz is smarter than most major journalists. Over the years, he has sometimes done good work—and he has hosted one of the strangest programs in cable news history.  The strangeness of Reliable Sources has rarely been mentioned within the guild which is known as the “mainstream press corps.” All your favorite fiery “liberals” have also agreed to stare into air as this program proceeded. What made this long-running program so odd? Just this: On Reliable Sources, Kurtz claimed, week after week, to be conducting a show “which trains a critical lens on the media.” But here’s how CNN did that: First, they hired Kurtz, a member of the upper-end press corps, to host the weekly program. And then, each week, they would assemble a panel of three or four other press corps members to help him conduct his discussions. Could any other industry even dream of presenting a program like this? Can you imagine a weekly show about health care in which a hospital executive served as host, with three or four other hospital executives serving as his panel?  In any other industry, a show like that would be known as an infomercial. We first posted this obvious point in 1999. Have you ever seen even one of your favorite liberals second this obvious point? Your favorite stars want to get on TV. Toward that end, they may not tell you the obvious things they are thinking.

Defining 'Journalist,' 'Leaker' and 'Media'

FireDogLake, The Evolution & State of Journalism Becomes a Key Focus in Bradley Manning’s Trial, Kevin Gosztola, July 11, 2013. The defense in Pfc. Bradley Manning’s trial was able to successfully qualify Professor Yochai Benkler of Harvard University as an expert on the “networked Fourth Estate,” who could discuss research he had done on WikiLeaks and how it fit into the “networked Fourth Estate.” What this meant was the defense could present testimony on how WikiLeaks is, in fact, a legitimate journalistic organization and not some kind of criminal enterprise worthy of the wide government investigation, which the United States Justice Department launched into the organization after it released the information Manning is charged with disclosing. It was incredibly significant as it gave the defense the ability to explicitly challenge the charge of “aiding the enemy”—that Manning would have known when he provided information to WikiLeaks that he was giving information to the enemy. The defense was also able to challenge another charge—that he “wantonly “caused “to be published on the internet intelligence belonging to the United States government, having knowledge that intelligence published on the internet is accessible to the enemy.” If WikiLeaks was a legitimate journalistic organization, as Benkler testified in thorough detail, it would not have been “wantonly” to provide information to the organization.

Lawfare, The Snowden Conspiracy (?), Paul Rosenzweig, July 9, 2013. Walter Pincus of the Washington Post has an excellent analysis today in is “Fine Print” column. Though he has been portrayed as a classic “Lone Wolf, it appears likely that Snowden actually had support from an extended group of ideological soul mates. As Pincus’ analysis shows, Snowden began his coordination with the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, and the Post’s Barton Gellman, and Lauren Poitras in February 2013 – before he actually got a job at Booz Allen in March. Indeed, as Pincus notes, Snowden, in an unguarded moment, said that he sought the Booz Allen job precisely because it afforded him access to highly classified NSA materials. For me this emphasizes a point that I’ve been concerned about for some time — an effect I call the democratization of conflict. Cyberspace is an immensely leveling tool that allows individuals and/or small self-organized groups to compete directly with nations. Seen in this light, the Snowden affair was a highly effective information operation by a small cadre of individuals. All of which makes me wonder if our obsession with preparation for cyber war against China isn’t a case of refighting the last war in a new domain, instead of understanding the paradigm shift that comes from the capabilities that the new domain enables.

Washington Post, Questions for Snowden, Walter Pincus, July 8, 2013. Did Edward Snowden decide on his own to seek out journalists and then a job at Booz Allen Hamilton’s Hawaii facility as an IT systems administrator to gather classified documents about the National Security Agency’s worldwide surveillance activities? Snowden told the South China Post in June that he took the Booz Allen job in late March or early April because it “granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked.”
 
Salon, Meet the “Journalists Against Journalism” club! David Sirota, July 2, 2013. The clique of media figures outraged when news outlets challenge power has a new member: Washington Post higher-ups. From David Gregory to Andrew Ross Sorkin to David Brooks, the ranks of Washington’s hottest new club continues to swell. Call it Journalists Against Journalism — a group of reporters and pundits who are outraged that whistle-blowers and news organizations are colluding to expose illegal government surveillance. To this club, the best journalism is not the kind that challenges power or even merely sheds light on the inner workings of government; it is about protecting power and keeping the lights off.

Huffington Post, Media's Edward Snowden Haters Club Keeps Growing, Jack Mirkinson, June 17, 2013. In trashing NSA leaker Edward Snowden on Sunday, CBS's Bob Schieffer joined a fast-growing club of establishment pundits who have derided his actions and questioned his character. It has seemed sometimes that commentators have been trying to compete for who can come up with the most sneering description of Snowden. The Washington Post's Richard Cohen seemed likely to win the contest when he confusingly dubbed Snowden a "cross-dressing Little Red Riding Hood." (Huh?) Schieffer might have managed to trump all of those rivals, though, when he lamented that Snowden did not live up to the likes of Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King. While it's definitely true that Snowden will probably not leave a legacy on the same scale as Rosa Parks, it's a bit of a strange test to match him against two of the greatest people in human history. Judged against them, most people would fail. For now, though, Schieffer is in first place in the anti-Snowden contest.

Huffington Post Live, Valerie Plame: Edward Snowden Deserves Thanks, 'Will Be Abused,' Clapper Should Resign (VIDEO), Danny Shea, June 19, 2013. Former CIA agent Valerie Plame said Wednesday that she views NSA leaker Edward Snowden as neither a hero nor a traitor, but that Americans should be grateful that he brought the conversation about liberty and security to the national forefront. "I don't think [Snowden's] a hero, I don't condone what he did. At the same time he's certainly not a traitor as he was called by Dick Cheney," Plame told HuffPost Live host Mike Sacks.

Atlantic, 3 Former NSA Employees Praise Edward Snowden, Corroborate Key Claims, Conor Friedersdorf,June 18, 2013. The men, all whistleblowers, say he succeeded where they failed. USA Today has published an extraordinary interview with three former NSA employees who praise Edward Snowden's leaks, corroborate some of his claims, and warn about unlawful government acts. Thomas Drake, William Binney, and J. Kirk Wiebe each protested the NSA in their own rights. "For years, the three whistle-blowers had told anyone who would listen that the NSA collects huge swaths of communications data from U.S. citizens," the newspaper reports. "They had spent decades in the top ranks of the agency, designing and managing the very data collection systems they say have been turned against Americans. When they became convinced that fundamental constitutional rights were being violated, they complained first to their superiors, then to federal investigators, congressional oversight committees and, finally, to the news media." In other words, they blew the whistle in the way Snowden's critics suggest he should have done. Their method didn't get through to the members of Congress who are saying, in the wake of the Snowden leak, that they had no idea what was going on. But they are nonetheless owed thanks.

Guardian, Distractions about my past and personal life have emerged – an inevitable side effect for those who challenge the US government, Glenn Greenwald, June 26, 2013. When I made the choice to report aggressively on top-secret NSA programs, I knew that I would inevitably be the target of all sorts of personal attacks and smears. You don't challenge the most powerful state on earth and expect to do so without being attacked. As a superb Guardian editorial noted today: "Those who leak official information will often be denounced, prosecuted or smeared. The more serious the leak, the fiercer the pursuit and the greater the punishment."The recent journalist-led "debate" about whether I should be prosecuted for my reporting on these stories was precisely the sort of thing I knew was coming. As a result, I was not particularly surprised when I received an email last night from a reporter at the New York Daily News informing me that he had been "reviewing some old lawsuits" in which I was involved – "old" as in: more than a decade ago – and that "the paper wants to do a story on this for tomorrow." He asked that I call him right away to discuss this, apologizing for the very small window he gave me to comment.

Washington Post, The Guardian: Small British paper makes big impact with NSA stories. Paul Farhi, July 1, 2013. The NSA stories, in particular, raised the Guardian’s profile to an Everest-like peak. Its video interview with Snowden, conducted by its star American columnist Glenn Greenwald, attracted nearly 7 million unique views worldwide in one day. The total was a record for the paper’s Web site, which is already one of the world’s most heavily trafficked news sites with a high of 41 million unique monthly visitors. The NSA and WikiLeaks revelations also raise a question: Why is a London-based news organization revealing so many secrets about the American government?

Lawfare, Justice Department Report on Review of News Media Policies, Benjamin Wittes, July 13, 2013. This report is Attorney General Eric Holder’s response to President Obama’s order of a review of departmental policies with respect to the media. It announces several changes in policy, the first two of which seem the most significant:

Washington Post, Snowden made the right call when he fled the U.S., Daniel Ellsberg, July 7, 2013. I was, like Snowden now, a “fugitive from justice.”  Yet when I surrendered to arrest in Boston, having given out my last copies of the papers the night before, I was released on personal recognizance bond the same day. Later, when my charges were increased from the original three counts to 12, carrying a possible 115-year sentence, my bond was increased to $50,000. But for the whole two years I was under indictment, I was free to speak to the media and at rallies and public lectures. I was, after all, part of a movement against an ongoing war. Helping to end that war was my preeminent concern. I couldn’t have done that abroad, and leaving the country never entered my mind. There is no chance that experience could be reproduced today, let alone that a trial could be terminated by the revelation of White House actions against a defendant that were clearly criminal in Richard Nixon’s era — and figured in his resignation in the face of impeachment — but are today all regarded as legal (including an attempt to “incapacitate me totally”). I hope Snowden’s revelations will spark a movement to rescue our democracy, but he could not be part of that movement had he stayed here. There is zero chance that he would be allowed out on bail if he returned now and close to no chance that, had he not left the country, he would have been granted bail. Instead, he would be in a prison cell like Bradley Manning, incommunicado.

FireDogLake, The Evolution & State of Journalism Becomes a Key Focus in Bradley Manning’s Trial, Kevin Gosztola, July 11, 2013. The defense in Pfc. Bradley Manning’s trial was able to successfully qualify Professor Yochai Benkler of Harvard University as an expert on the “networked Fourth Estate,” who could discuss research he had done on WikiLeaks and how it fit into the “networked Fourth Estate.” What this meant was the defense could present testimony on how WikiLeaks is, in fact, a legitimate journalistic organization and not some kind of criminal enterprise worthy of the wide government investigation, which the United States Justice Department launched into the organization after it released the information Manning is charged with disclosing. It was incredibly significant as it gave the defense the ability to explicitly challenge the charge of “aiding the enemy”—that Manning would have known when he provided information to WikiLeaks that he was giving information to the enemy. The defense was also able to challenge another charge—that he “wantonly “caused “to be published on the internet intelligence belonging to the United States government, having knowledge that intelligence published on the internet is accessible to the enemy.” If WikiLeaks was a legitimate journalistic organization, as Benkler testified in thorough detail, it would not have been “wantonly” to provide information to the organization.

Huffington Post, Snowden's Common Law Defense, Joe Lauria, right, July 6, 2013. The U.S. Senator who divulged the Pentagon Papers in Congress says Edward Snowden and other citizens with access to classified information should have the same immunity as members of Congress to make public secret documents exposing government wrongdoing. Before Daniel Ellsberg, American's most important whistleblower until Snowden, leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971 to the New York Times and the Washington Post, he went to Congress to find a Senator willing to make the Papers public. Several turned him down, including George McGovern, who was worried what it would do to his presidential chances the next year. Eventually a freshman Senator, Mike Gravel of Alaska, agreed to take them. With publication in the Times and Post shut down by the Nixon Justice Department's prior restraint, Gravel read the top secret Papers in a Senate hearing on June 29, 1971. He did so on the basis of a clause in the Constitution granting immunity to members of Congress to legally reveal classified information. But when Gravel went to Beacon Press in Boston to publish the Papers as a book, Nixon sought his indictment. The Supreme Court unanimously upheld Gravel's right to reveal classified information in the Senate. I tell the full story in the book I authored with Senator Gravel, A Political Odyssey, published by Seven Stories Press, with a foreword by Ellsberg. It is relevant today because Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall on the Senate intelligence committee say they had concerns about the National Security Agency surveillance programs but couldn't go public with the classified details. Politicians seek power and businessmen profits, and Snowden is threatening both. That's why they are after him, not because of "national security." Since it is their interests that he is threatening, and not the nation's, the fear of terrorism is trumped up to falsely extend that interest to the entire population.
 

Surveillance Court and Homeland Security

Washington Post, Lawmakers see deceptive pattern on surveillance, Peter Wallsten, July 10, 2013. Members of Congress say oversight of government surveillance has been hurt by officials’ misleading testimony, which suggested spying was narrowly tailored. Lawmakers tasked with overseeing national security policy say a pattern of misleading testimony by senior Obama administration officials has weakened Congress’s ability to rein in government surveillance. Members of Congress say officials have either denied the existence of a broad program that collects data on millions of Americans or, more commonly, made statements that left some lawmakers with the impression that the government was conducting only narrow, targeted surveillance operations.

Huffington Post, General Warrants, NSA Spying, And America's Unappreciated Founding Father, James Otis, Jr., Radley Balko, Jully 4, 2013. Today is a day when we Americans reflect on the people and principles that led to our founding. I'd like to write a bit about one of my favorite founding fathers, an 18th-century Boston lawyer named James Otis, Jr. Because he did most of his important work well before the American Revolution, Otis is often overlooked. But no less than John Adams credited Otis' activism with laying the philosophical foundation for American independence. Moreover, the specific abuses by the British crown that most outraged Otis are particularly relevant given the recent revelations about warrantless NSA spying and data collection.

Washington Post, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stepping down to run UC system, Philip Rucker and Sari Horwitz, June 12, 2013. Janet Napolitano, left, who as President Obama’s homeland security secretary has one of the broadest and most challenging portfolios of any Cabinet member, announced Friday that she is stepping down to become president of the University of California system. Napolitano has been a central figure in the debates over immigration and counterterrorism policies while also managing the government’s response to tornadoes, hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Huffington Post, Reflections on the FISA Court, Geoffrey R. Stone, July 5, 2013. Before 1978, the federal government assumed that agencies like the NSA and the FBI could legally carry out wiretaps and other forms of electronic surveillance against suspected foreign intelligence agents inside the United States without any prior judicial approval. In 1978, as a result of disclosures about Nixon-era abuses uncovered by the Church Committee, Congress enacted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which, among other things, created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court. The FISA court today consists of 11 federal district court judges, appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States. Each member of the court has to be approved for a security clearance and each serves a seven year term. Over the past 10 years, the FISA court has reviewed an average of approximately 2,000 requests annually for FISA warrants. Approximately 97 percent of the government's requests are approved on initial submission, and if one includes those cases in which the government comes back to the court with additional material after a request has initially been denied, roughly 99 percent of all requests are approved. There are major deficiencies in the way the FISA court now operates. When the judges on the FISA court review the government's submissions, there is no one on the other side to advocate against the arguments of the government. Third, there is some reason to be concerned about the makeup of the FISA court. Of the 11 judges currently serving on the court, ten were initially appointed to the federal bench by Republican presidents. Only one, Judge Mary McLaughlin, was appointed by a Democratic president -- Bill Clinton. The reason for this seems pretty clear, and it is troubling. Under the FISA Act, the Chief Justice appoints the members of the FISA court. Since 1978, when the FISA court was created, every Chief Justice of the United States -- Warren Burger, William Rehnquist and John Roberts -- was appointed by a Republican president. At present, approximately 50 percent of federal district court judges were appointed by Republican presidents and 50 percent were appointed by Democratic presidents. But on the FISA court, 91 percent were appointed by Republican presidents and only 9 percent were appointed by Democratic presidents. This is quite disturbing in terms of the choices made by Burger, Rehnquist and Roberts, who are not supposed to be influenced by partisan or ideological considerations. Moreover, this matters. Judges appointed by Republican and Democratic presidents differ quite significantly in their judicial approaches. To cite just one example, among Supreme Court justices appointed in the last 30 years, those appointed by Republican presidents support civil liberties claims roughly 34 percent of the time, whereas those appointed by Democratic presidents support such claims approximately 74 percent of the time.

FireDogLake, CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou, in Letter, Describes Breaking Finger in Prison & Being Denied Treatment, Kevin Gosztola, July 9, 2013. Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who is serving a thirty-month sentence in the federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, has written a third letter from the prison. Kiriakou was the first member of the CIA to publicly acknowledge that torture was official US policy under the administration of President George W. Bush. He was convicted in October of last year of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) when he provided the name of an officer involved in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program to a reporter and sentenced in January of this year. He reported to prison on February 28 (which was also the day that Pfc. Bradley Manning pled guilty to some offenses and read a statement in military court at Fort Meade). This is the third letter to be published byFiredoglake since Kiriakou went to prison. Kiriakou did not directly provide it to Firedoglake. He sent it to his attorney, Jesselyn Radack, of the Government Accountability Project.

Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

Update:

XXTwitterWarCommittee, Audit the Naval War College’s NSA Twitter “Warriors”! Stewart Rhodes, Aug. 11, 2013. The author of this blog and several other privacy advocates online are teaming up to draft a petition to be delivered via email and the web addressed to the Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. John Garofano. In this petition we are seeking to express four critical points:  1) While we value academic freedom and the ability of all professors to debate controversial topics in the public arena, the Naval War College has an obligation to the taxpayers who fund it to conduct audits to ensure taxpayer money is not being spent on paid time or office space to advocate a specific agenda on behalf of a federal agency in possible violation of the Hatch Act and Department of Defense Directive 1344.10 (DoDD 1344.10 - Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces). It is time for New England-based patriots, Occupiers, genuine progressives, libertarians, conservatives, and all who care about the Bill of Rights and rooting out the arrogance of power in government to take a stand on this vital issue in their back yard. If you’re with me, please leave a comment below and watch for the pending petition and form letters to your United States Representative or Senator!

Legal Schnauzer, Federal Judge Henry Wingate Doesn't Make An Effort To Apply The Law Correctly In Paul Minor Civil Case, Paul Minor, one of the most successful plaintiffs' lawyers in Mississippi history, has been released from prison on his Bush-era conviction for "crimes" that do not exist under actual law. Minor's legal problems, however, are far from over. With U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate still in charge of his fate, things could go from bad to worse for Paul Minor. How could Wingate, a black Republican who apparently qualifies as Mississippi's version of Clarence Thomas, still be in charge of Minor's fate? After all, Wingate presided over multiple criminal trials in the Minor matter; how could he possibly serve as an impartial arbiter in a related civil matter? The answer is, "He can't, but he's doing it anyway--in what's left of our so-called U.S. justice system." As part of the fallout from the criminal case, insurance giant USF&G sued Minor and his one-time client, Peoples Bank of Biloxi, Mississippi. The basic claim is that Minor and the bank benefited from actions that were found to be unlawful. The civil case was filed in 2003, but it was put on hold pending the criminal matter. When Minor was released from prison earlier this year, the civil case kicked into high gear.

Daily Howler, Are pundits inventing an all-white jury? Bob Somerby, July 17, 2013. Is this an emerging fact: Fake facts emerge over time as pundits agree on what they should say within their Standard Group Narratives.  In the past few days, we have started to wonder: Are we seeing the emergence of a new fake fact? Are we seeing the invention of a new claim—the claim of an all-white jury?  A lynch mob is running through the streets, declaring the need for a new, all-improved second trial. The story gets a whole lot better if that was an all-white jury!

Time, Australians Are Joining Syria’s Rebels in Surprising Numbers, Ian Lloyd Neubauer, July 16, 2013. As many as 6,000 foreign fighters from nearly 50 nations have now joined the brutal 2½-year civil war to unseat President Bashar Assad of Syria. The vast majority are veterans from the the Arab Springs of Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. Islamist volunteers from Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and a few former Soviet republics bolster their ranks. And then there are the Aussies. Surprising estimates suggest that Australians now make up the largest contingent from any developed nation in the Syrian rebel forces. There are around 120 French fighters in Syria, about 100 Britons and a handful of Americans — but there are at least 200 Australians, according to a public statement made by David Irvine, director general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). The total may appear small, but it is growing rapidly, having doubled since the end of last year — and when looked at as a proportion of the Muslim population of Australia, the figure is startling. The Australian contingent is drawn from a Muslim population of just 500,000, and is causing concern to a government that fears the homecoming of a battle-hardened group of radicalized Islamists when the conflict ends. Part of the explanation for the Australian presence in Syria, some believe, is sheer opportunism. Nick Kaldas, an Egyptian-born counterterrorism expert who now serves as the NSW deputy police commissioner agrees that there are “people involved in crime who are using the conflict in Syria as an excuse or pretext to carry out more criminal acts.”

Washington Post, Obama’s feckless Syria policy is likely to fail, Editorial Board, July 11, 2013. It has been a month since the White House informed journalists that President Obama had decided to supply Syrian rebels with light arms. Since then, the regime has launched a bloody new offensive in the city of Homs, using heavy artillery and rockets to attack residential areas held by the rebels. Thousands of people have been killed, adding to a death toll approaching 100,000. President Bashar al-Assad has been boasting of his military successes and of the failure of outside powers to bring down his regime. Meanwhile, the United States has failed to deliver any of the promised munitions to beleaguered rebel forces — “not even a single bullet,” one source told The Post’s David Ignatius. The delay can be attributed in part to congressional resistance: According to reporting by The Post’s Karen DeYoung, the administration’s plan has drawn objections from members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, which are responsible for reviewing covert operations. But the larger problem is an extraordinary failure of leadership by Mr. Obama. While deciding on intervention in a fateful Middle East war, the president has chosen a minimalist option likely to fail while declining to publicly explain or justify his actions.

New York Times, Israel Airstrike Targeted Advanced Missiles That Russia Sold to Syria, U.S. Says, Michael R. Gordon, July 13, 2013. Israel carried out an air attack in Syria this month that targeted advanced antiship cruise missiles sold to the Syria government by Russia, American officials said Saturday. The officials, who declined to be identified because they were discussing intelligence reports, said the attack occurred July 5 near Latakia, Syria’s principal port city. The target was a type of missile called the Yakhont, they said.

WhoWhatWhy, The Michael Hastings Wreck -- Video Evidence Only Deepens The Mystery, Michael Krikorian and David J. Krajicek, July 14, 2013.  A veteran Los Angeles crime reporter takes a gimlet-eyed look at the curious accident that killed muckraker Michael Hastings. New video evidence from a security camera near the scene offers a glimpse at the last moments of the journalist's life-and gives a few clues about the seemingly inexplicable crash on a straight-as-a-laser city street.
 
Huffington Post, Permit me an impertinent question (or three), Robert Reich, July 11, 2013. Suppose a small group of extremely wealthy people sought to systematically destroy the U.S. government by (1) finding and bankrolling new candidates pledged to shrinking and dismembering it; (2) intimidating or bribing many current senators and representatives to block all proposed legislation, prevent the appointment of presidential nominees, eliminate funds to implement and enforce laws, and threaten to default on the nation's debt; (3) taking over state governments in order to redistrict, gerrymander, require voter IDs, purge voter rolls, and otherwise suppress the votes of the majority in federal elections; (4) running a vast PR campaign designed to convince the American public of certain big lies, such as climate change is a hoax, and (5) buying up the media so the public cannot know the truth. Would you call this treason?  If not, what would you call it?  And what would you do about it?

Huffington Post, Sequestration Pushes Head Start Families To The Precipice, Sam Stein, July 9, 2013. Sequestration went into effect on March 1, 2013, after lawmakers failed to agree on a replacement. In Washington, the conventional wisdom has sometimes held that sequestration's harms were oversold. Dire warnings of massive job loss never came true, while government programs used budget gimmickry to keep operating. Outside the Beltway, the perception of sequestration is sharply, viscerally different. Budget cuts have resulted in fewer meals for seniors, less financial aid for scientific research, poorer natural disaster preparedness and more expensive treatments for cancer patients. The Huffington Post set out to tell the story of another slice of sequestration: the damage being done to Head Start. The 5.27 percent reduction to the $8 billion program is having a devastating effect on families with children in the program, according to interviews with parents across the country. Not everyone has experienced the loss of a child's Head Start slot or a teary living room conversation. But parents have been left fearful and scrambling, worried that the cuts are shredding an already frayed social safety net upon which they depend.

Al.com, President Obama's former White House counsel visits Don Siegelman, working on his appeal, Mike Cason, July 9, 2013. President Barack Obama's former White House counsel visited Don Siegelman in prison in the last few weeks, and the law firm he works for is taking over part of the former governor's appeal of his bribery conviction. Gregory B. Craig, who was White House counsel from January 2009 to January 2010, visited Siegelman at the federal detention center in Oakdale, La., according to Siegelman's son, Joseph Siegelman, and Peter Sissman, who has worked on the former governor's case for four years. On June 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit granted Sissman's motion to withdraw from the case because of illness. The court also granted Sissman's motion to extend by 60 days a deadline to file a brief and records for Siegelman's appeal. Sissman said the extension was needed to give Siegelman's new lawyers time to prepare.

Washington Post, Shadowy Pentagon ‘psy-ops’ missions becoming entangled on home front, Craig Whitlock, July 7, 2013. A case involving a Somali American shows how other parts of the U.S. government monitor online activity. In the past, psychological operations usually meant dropping leaflets or broadcasting propaganda on the battlefield. Today, the military is more focused on manipulating news and commentary on the Internet, especially social media, by posting material and images without necessarily claiming ownership. Much of the work is carried out by military information support teams that the Special Operations Command has deployed to 22 countries. The command, which is based in Tampa, also operates multilingual news Web sites tailored to specific regions.

Legal Schnauzer, Federal Court Cites Immunity In Granting Dismissal Of $25-Million Lawsuit Against Judge Robert Vance, Roger Shuler, July 8, 2013. A federal court has dismissed a $25-million lawsuit against Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert S. Vance Jr. It appears, however, that U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn ignored binding Eleventh Circuit precedent in issuing the dismissal. The federal complaint grew out of a state case styled styled William B. Cashion and Western Steel Inc. v. Steven Mark Hayden, et al (Case No. CV-2012-209). At the heart of the controversy is William B. Cashion, an 84-year-old businessman who is co-founder of Bessemer-based Western Steel Inc. (WSI) and a shareholder in several other Alabama corporate entities. Vance issued four rulings in the Cashion case, even though the matter was not assigned to him. All four rulings were favorable to Cashion and his attorneys from the Birmingham firm Maynard Cooper & Gale (MCG), which has contributed heavily to Vance's election campaigns. Blackburn likely was grasping at any straw she could find to let a judicial colleague off the hook--and she grabbed a straw that is stunningly weak and contrary to Eleventh Circuit precedent. A serious review of the relevant law leads to only one conclusion: Robert Vance Jr. acted outside his judicial capacity in Cashion, and he therefore is not protected by immunity. That means he is subject to being held accountable for the substantial damages he allegedly caused to the Haydens and the Cashion trust.

 

Visit this month's complete JIP news reports file, searchable file by date