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Friday, June 21, 2013

  • The FBI’s License to Kill: Agents Have Been Deemed "Justified" in Every Shooting Since 1993

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    New documents reveal the FBI has cleared its agents in every single shooting incident dating back two decades. According to The New York Times, from 1993 until today, FBI shootings were deemed justified in the fatal shootings of 70 people and the wounding of 80 others. Out of 289 shootings that were found to be deliberate, no agent was disciplined except for letters of censure in five cases. Even in a case where the bureau paid a shooting victim more than a million dollars to settle a lawsuit, the internal review did not find the agent who shot the man culpable. The issue of FBI accountability has recently re-emerged following last month’s fatal shooting of Ibragim Todashev during questioning by agents in Orlando, Florida. He was reportedly unarmed. We speak to Charlie Savage, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter who co-reported the story.

  • FBI’s Use of Drones for U.S. Surveillance Raises Fears over Privacy, Widening Corporate-Gov’t Ties

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    The FBI confirmed this week that drones are carrying out surveillance within the United States. FBI Director Robert Mueller called the drone use "very seldom," while acknowledging regulations to address privacy concerns have yet to be completed. Meanwhile, in the latest leak of classified National Security Agency material, The Guardian reported Thursday that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has signed off on rules that appear to grant wide latitude to the NSA in retaining and making use of Americans’ private data, rather than "minimizing" its usage. We discuss the latest issues of domestic surveillance with Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild and author of the forthcoming book, "Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power and Public Resistance." Boghosian examines the increasing monitoring of ordinary citizens, and the corporations that work with the government to mine data collected from a wide range of electronic sources.

  • The Other James Gandolfini: "Sopranos" Actor Remembered for Support of Injured Vets, Community Media

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    James Gandolfini, the celebrated actor best known for his role as mob boss Tony Soprano on the hit TV series "The Sopranos," died Wednesday at the age of 51. While coverage of his death has focused mainly on his acting career, little has been mentioned about the more political side of his work. In New York City, he was a beloved figure not only because of his acting on the stage and screen, but also because of his major support for community media and producing documentaries critical of war. In 2010, he produced the HBO film "Wartorn: 1861-2010" about post-traumatic stress disorder from the Civil War to Iraq and Afghanistan. He also conducted a series of in-depth interviews with U.S. soldiers wounded in the Iraq War for a 2007 HBO film, "Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq." We speak to the films’ co-directors, Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill.