Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • Vindication for Snowden? Obama Panel Backs Major Curbs on NSA Surveillance, Phone Record Data Mining


    A White House-appointed task force has proposed a series of curbs on key National Security Agency surveillance operations exposed by Edward Snowden. On Thursday, the panel recommended the NSA halt its bulk collection of billions of U.S. phone call records, citing "potential risks to public trust, personal privacy, and civil liberty." The panel says telecommunications providers or a private third party should store the records instead. The panel also calls for banning the NSA from "undermining encryption" and criticizes its use of computer programming flaws to mount cyber-attacks. And it backs the creation of an independent review board to monitor government programs for potential violations of civil liberties. We discuss the panel’s findings with two guests: Ben Wizner, Snowden’s legal adviser and director of the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at the American Civil Liberties Union; and Kirk Wiebe, a retired National Security Agency official who worked there for over 32 years. During his tenure, Wiebe was an NSA whistleblower on matters of privacy involving massive electronic surveillance.

  • NSA Whistleblower Kirk Wiebe Details Gov’t Retaliation After Helping Expose "Gross Mismanagement"


    Veteran National Security Agency official Kirk Wiebe helped develop the data processing system ThinThread, which he believed could have potentially prevented the 9/11 attacks. But the NSA sidelined ThinThread instead of the problem-plagued experimental program Trailblazer, which cost taxpayers billions of dollars. Wiebe was among the NSA officials to face retaliation for blowing the whistle on Trailblazer. During his career, he received honors, including the NSA’s second-highest award, the Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the director of CIA’s Meritorious Unit Award, and a Letter of Commendation from the secretary of the Air Force. Wiebe joins us to tell his story and to respond to the White House-appointed panel to recommend NSA reforms. We also speak with Ben Wizner, an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union who is helping to coordinate Edward Snowden’s legal defense.

  • Morsi Charged with Terrorism as Egyptian Military Widens Crackdown on Journalists, Activists


    Egypt’s top public prosecutor has announced charges against ousted President Mohamed Morsi for conspiring with foreign groups to commit terrorist acts and destabilize the country. The charges carry the death penalty. Morsi was charged along with 35 others, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s top three leaders. This marks the latest escalation in the suppression of a movement that propelled Morsi to victory in last year’s presidential election only to be driven back underground after the army ousted him in July following mass protests. We are joined from Cairo by Sharif Abdel Kouddous, independent journalist, Democracy Now! correspondent, and a fellow at The Nation Institute. His latest article is "Repression Deepens in Egypt: At first it was the Muslim Brotherhood. Now dozens of journalists, non-Islamist activists and students have been detained and beaten."

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