Articles about "Government surveillance"


FBI impersonated an AP reporter

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. FBI impersonated AP reporter

    FBI director James B. Comey wrote a letter to The New York Times saying an undercover officer investigating some bomb threats "portrayed himself as an employee of The Associated Press, and asked if the suspect would be willing to review a draft article about the threats and attacks, to be sure that the anonymous suspect was portrayed fairly." (NYT) | Statement from AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll: "This latest revelation of how the FBI misappropriated the trusted name of The Associated Press doubles our concern and outrage, expressed earlier to Attorney General Eric Holder, about how the agency's unacceptable tactics undermine AP and the vital distinction between the government and the press." (AP) | Previously, we learned the FBI "created a fake news story on a bogus Seattle Times web page to plant software in the computer of a suspect." (The Seattle Times) | Comey says the operation "was proper and appropriate under Justice Department and F.B.I.

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Twitter sues U.S. government for right to disclose info about surveillance requests to users

Twitter | Associated Press

Twitter has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI, “seeking to publish our full Transparency Report, and asking the court to declare these restrictions on our ability to speak about government surveillance as unconstitutional under the First Amendment.”

Ben Lee, the company’s legal VP, writes in a blog post:

It’s our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users’ concerns and to the statements of U.S. government officials by providing information about the scope of U.S. government surveillance – including what types of legal process have not been received. We should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather than in broad, inexact ranges.

The AP reports:

Twitter’s filing follows lawsuits by Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and others to gain permission to share more information on surveillance requests with the public. The government has said that it will publish the total number of national security requests for customer data annually.

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sotloff

Government says Sotloff video is real

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Steven Sotloff video is real: National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden says a video showing the journalist’s execution by Islamic State “is authentic.” (AP) | Sotloff “began many of his articles with personal anecdotes and sprinkled his reporting with mundane details like the precise price of bread, reminding readers that faceless forces like Syria’s civil war and Egypt’s military coup were fundamentally altering the lives of real people, in divergent but no less devastating ways.” (The Atlantic) | President Obama: “His killers try to claim that they defend the oppressed but it was Steven who traveled across the Middle East risking his life to tell the story of Muslim men and women demanding justice and dignity.” (Politico) | Time Editor Nancy Gibbs: Sotloff “gave his life so readers would have access to information from some of the most dangerous places in the world.” (Time) | “It appears from chatter on ISIS forums that the initial video release was an unintentional leak from within ISIS circles” (Vocativ)
  2. Fred Ryan meets Washington Post newsroom: The news organization’s new publisher declined to say how he got the job, said “a key for Wapo is winning the morning.” (@erikwemple) | Washington Post reporters figure out how he got the job: He told Jean Case he was interested, and she introduced him to Post owner Jeff Bezos.
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Police shouldn’t harass reporters, Obama says

Good news for media organizations: The police shouldn’t be able to bug you while you work, the president says.

Apparently exempt from that guidance: the federal government. In the past two years, the U.S. Department of Justice has secretly seized AP phone records and tried to force New York Times reporter James Risen to testify in the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer accused of leaking information to him, and the FBI has called a Fox News reporter “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator” in another leak case.

The Obama administration has prosecuted more people under the 1917 Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined. Risen called it “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.” It’s even tightened access to White House photos. Read more

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Edward Snowden is designing tools for journalists

The Guardian

Edward Snowden is using some of his time in Russia to design “encryption tools to help professionals such as journalists protect sources and data,” Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill write in The Guardian. They interviewed the NSA whistleblower in Moscow.

Snowden is “negotiating foundation funding for the project,” they write.

“Journalists have to be particularly conscious about any sort of network signalling, any sort of connection, any sort of licence-plate reading device that they pass on their way to a meeting point, any place they use their credit card, any place they take their phone, any email contact they have with the source because that very first contact, before encrypted communications are established, is enough to give it all away,” Snowden told them.

Journalists had to ensure they made not a single mistake or they would be placing sources at risk. The same duty applied to other professions, he said, calling for training and new standards “to make sure that we have mechanisms to ensure that the average member of our society can have a reasonable measure of faith in the skills of all the members of these professions.”

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Jill Abramson: Being first on a story is a ‘point of pride’

PRX | The Daily Beast

At a talk at the Chautauqua Institution Wednesday, an audience member asked former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson why being first is “so important for the press.”

Abramson admitted she sometimes asks herself the same thing: “sometimes given the speed at which even a tweet gets picked up, sometimes I did say to myself why is it so darned important because everybody knows everything — the boom effect in the media is so immediate now and so loud,” she said.

But: “again being candid with you, it’s kind of a point of pride.” Read more

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Dean Baquet is now ‘much more skeptical’ about government claims of harm

NPR | The Intercept

New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet told David Folkenflik it was “really painful” to lose the Edward Snowden scoops to The Guardian and The Washington Post. Snowden’s decision to take the documents to those outlets “was the bitter harvest of seeds sown by the Times almost a decade ago,” Folkenflik writes:

In the fall of 2004, just ahead of the November general elections, the Times’ news leadership spiked an exclusive from Washington correspondents James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, disclosing massive warrantless domestic eavesdropping by the NSA.

White House officials had warned that the results of such a story could be catastrophic.

The Times, in a decision led by then-Washington Bureau Chief Philip Taubman and then-Executive Editor Bill Keller, quashed the story, despite the objections of the two reporters, their editor Rebecca Corbett, and several of their colleagues.

“I am much, much, much more skeptical of the government’s entreaties not to publish today than I was ever before,” Baquet said. Read more

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CIR raises funds for investigation into ‘neighborhood NSA’

The Center for Investigative Reporting hopes to raise $25,000 to report on surveillance by local authorities, a practice speeded by technological improvements and federal money. Subscribers get benefits on a sliding scale — from a tote bag and a tour of CIR’s newsroom if you donate $350 to email alerts when new stories go up if you pledge $5 per month.

Beacon, which is handling fundraising for the series, refers to those alerts as “subscriptions,” but CIR spokesperson Lisa Cohen tells Poynter any stories that come from this project will be available on the CIR website, and “CIR will be working with partners as the stories warrant,” Cohen writes.

“During the past year, we’ve learned a lot about the federal government’s surveillance program, but we still know very little about how local police collect and mine data,” CIR reporter Amanda Pike says in a video accompanying the pitch.

If the project gets funded, CIR says it will use the money to secure public records, travel around the country reporting and “Create community engagement events where local citizens can learn about and debate the rise of surveillance.”

Last year, ProPublica raised $24,000 to help report on internships. Read more

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U.S. joins ‘Enemies of the Internet’ list

Electronic Frontier Foundation | Reporters Without Borders | The Washington Post

The United States made Reporters Without Borders’ “Enemies of the Internet” list for the first time, Jillian C. York reports. The U.K., Russia and India join the same freshman class.

“While the US government doesn’t censor online content, and pours money into promoting Internet freedom worldwide, the National Security Agency’s unapologetic dragnet surveillance and the government’s treatment of whistleblowers have earned it a spot on the index,” York writes.

York also suggests some countries that could have made the list: Turkey, Jordan and Morocco deserve inclusion for various policies, she argues.

Reporters Without Borders includes a list of “Corporate Enemies” in this year’s report — firms that “sell products that are liable to be used by governments to violate human rights and freedom of information.”

And it talks about the responsibility of news organizations and journalists for information security: “Protection of sources is no longer just a matter of journalistic ethics,” it reads. Read more

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The sign that serves as the backdrop for press briefings at the Department of Justice is seen before a press conference Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2006 in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

DOJ releases new rules about obtaining media orgs’ records

The New York Times | Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Justice Friday released new rules for how it will try to obtain records from journalists in the future. They “create a presumption that prosecutors generally will provide advance notice to the news media when seeking to obtain their communications records,” Charlie Savage reports.

The Justice Department didn’t win rave reviews last May, when news broke it had seized AP phone records without notifying the organization. Read more

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