Category: Whistle Blowers


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CDC scientists held meeting to destroy autism-vaccine documents, reveals CDC whistleblower

CDC scientists

(NaturalNews) The results of a 2004 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered a significant link between the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella) and autism in African American boys vaccinated under or around the age 36 months; however, if it weren’t for one whistleblower, you would not have been privy to any of this, because the evidence was deliberately covered up.

Dr. William Thompson, currently a senior scientist at the CDC, recently made a shocking admission that he and his colleagues specifically arranged a meeting to destroy important documents related to the study in an attempt to withhold information from the public regarding a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

As first reported by Sharyl Attkisson, a former CBS News journalist turned independent investigative reporter, Dr. Thompson and the study co-authors “scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study.

“The remaining four co-authors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room, and reviewed and went through all the hardcopy documents that we had thought we should discard, and put them into a huge garbage can.”

“The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism.” – CDC Senior Science Dr. William Thompson

However, aware that destroying documents in this manner was both illegal and unethical, Dr. Thompson kept hard copies of all the documents that had been disposed of, as well as maintained all associated computer files.

After securing a whistleblower attorney, Dr. Thompson came forward with his admission, providing relevant documents in August 2014 to the office of Rep. Bill Posey (R-Florida), who presented details of the cover-up on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Posey, who maintains that he is “pro-vaccine,” read the following quote by Dr. Thompson on the House floor:

My primary job duties while working in the immunization safety branch from 2000 to 2006, were to later co-lead three major vaccine safety studies. The MADDSP, MMR autism cases control study was being carried out in response to the Wakefield-Lancet study that suggested an association between the MMR vaccine and an autism-like health outcome.

There were several major concerns among scientists and consumer advocates outside the CDC in the fall of 2000, regarding the execution of the Verstraeten Study. One of the important goals that was determined up front, in the spring of 2001, before any of these studies started, was to have all three protocols vetted outside the CDC prior to the start of the analyses so consumer advocates could not claim that we were presenting analyses that suited our own goals and biases.

We hypothesized that if we found statistically significant effects at either 18 or 36 month thresholds, we would conclude that vaccinating children early with MMR vaccine could lead to autism-like characteristics or features. We all met and finalized the study protocol and analysis plan. The goal was to not deviate from the analysis plan to avoid the debacle that occurred with the Verstraeten thimerosal study published in Pediatrics in 2003.

At the Sept 5th meeting we discussed in detail how to code race for both the sample and the birth certificate sample. At the bottom of table 7, it also shows that for the non-birth certificate sample, the adjusted race effect statistical significance was huge.

All the authors and I met and decided sometime between August and September 2002, not to report any race effects from the paper. Sometime soon after the meeting, we decided to exclude reporting any race effects.

The co-authors scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study.

The remaining four co-authors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room, and reviewed and went through all the hardcopy documents that we had thought we should discard, and put them into a huge garbage can.

However, because I assumed it was illegal and would violate both FOIA and DOJ requests, I kept hardcopies of all documents in my office, and I retain all associated computer files. I believe we intentionally withheld controversial findings from the final draft of the Pediatrics paper.

The CDC and Dr. Thompson’s co-author Dr. Frank DeStefano, CDC Director of Immunization Safety, continue to defend the study as originally published.

A July 29 Tweet by Attkisson states:

So far, no hearings scheduled and no known inquiry of the alleged scientific misconduct.

Sources:

SharylAttkisson.com

SharylAttkisson.com

Twitter.com

 

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This is not a blow against the US Government, but an open hand extended by friends. It is a chance to move forward.

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Frank Koch
The TPP is “NAFTA on steroids” and will do even greater damage to the economy and sovereignty of the United States. By Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
thenewamerican.com

 

 

 

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Fight for the Future

Last week, WikiLeaks released the final text of the TPP’s intellectual property rights chapter and it is absolutely terrifying.

These are just a few of its most dangerous pieces:

  • Compel ISPs to take down websites without any sort of court order, just like SOPA. (Appendix Section I)

  • Extend the US’s copyright regime to require copyrights stand for life plus 70 years, preventing anyone from using works that belong in the public domain. (Article QQ.G.6)

  • Criminalize whistleblowing by extending trade secrets laws without any mandatory exemptions for whistleblowers or investigative journalists. (QQ.H.8)

  • End anonymity online by forcing every domain name to be associated with a real name and address. (Article QQ.C.12)

  • Make it illegal to unlock, modify, or generally tinker with a device you own. (Article QQ.G.10)

  • Export the US’s broken copyright policies to the rest of the world without expanding any of the free speech protections, like fair use. (Article QQ.G.17)

The worst part is that this is just one of the TPP’s 30 chapters.

The final text confirms our worst fears — click here to take action demanding Congress vote NO on the TPP.

For years, governments have held critics of the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in a perfect catch 22. Officials brushed off public outcry and concern by claiming that the dissenters didn’t have all the facts.

This was by design—the 12 country trade deal was negotiated entirely behind closed doors by industry lobbyists and government appointees, and even now the text of the agreement is still classified.

But late last week, WikiLeaks released the final text of the Intellectual Property chapter, meaning those excuses won’t work anymore.

We’re planning to go all out against the TPP, but the first step is to make sure Congress knows just how many people oppose the TPP.

Click here to take action demanding Congress vote NO on the TPP.

Taking action today is just the beginning, because if all we do is send emails and make phone calls, Congress is not going to reject the TPP. Too many giant industries are seriously invested in making sure Congress ratifies the TPP.

If we’re going to win, we need to go big. Which is exactly what we’re going to do.

So take action right now. Contact your Congresspeople now and tell them to vote against the TPP. Then get ready to do more because we’re going to unleash some of our strongest campaigns ever.

Already we have plans to work with hundreds of different groups as a massive coalition to fight the TPP, coordinate gigantic on-the-ground protests in key cities across the country, and produce compelling content to spread the word to as many different audiences as possible just what is at stake in the TPP.

To do all that, we need your help — if you can, pledge to chip in $5 every month between now and when the TPP fight ends so that we can run our biggest, boldest, and best campaign yet.

Thanks for all you do,
Charlie

P.S. Want to read the text of the chapter for yourself? Check it out on WikiLeaks here, or read their overview of it here. It’s long and complicated, so maybe you’ll see something that we didn’t. If you do, send us an email.

David Noyes

*KILL THE TPP!!!*

Excellent!:
— Noam Chomsky has joined the chorus decrying the TPP, which has very little to do with free trade and is really about limiting regulation, helping corporate interests and imposing fiercer standards of intellectual property (to, again, largely benefit corporate interests).

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The Obama administration’s Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is an “assault,” on working people intended to further corporate “domination,” according to author…
huffingtonpost.com
Elizabeth Mueller

Let me give you an example of what TPP could allow:

You are an independent journalist or blogger. You need content. Suddenly, all the pictures, videos, memes and articles become “private property.” You want to cite the video, where the now former NRC chairman turns whistleblower and says he’s adamantly anti-nuclear, after witnessing the damage at Fukushima. You can’t. A major news outlet owns the press conference video footage. You place a stupid cat meme on your page, withou

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Elizabeth Mueller's photo.

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Frank Koch

A chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership released by WikiLeaks reveals potential violations of applicable U.S. environmental standards.

A chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership released by WikiLeaks reveals potential violations of applicable U.S. environmental standards. By Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
thenewamerican.com
Jennifer Hibberd
Ed Schultz led the coverage over the dangers of TPP. Finally, Congress and the media begin to realize the importance of stopping this bill. Larry Cohen joins.
msnbc.com

‪#‎AceSecurityNews‬ says latest information and opinions from RT on the release of the “TTPP Uncovered: WikiLeaks releases draft of highly-secretive multi-national trade deal” documents together with download at this link PDF
Published time: November 13, 2013 17:36
Edited time: November 15, 2013 09:36

Get short URL

#AceSecurityNews says latest information from RT on the release of the “TTPP Uncovered: WikiLeaks releases draft of highly-secretive multi-national trade…
acenewsservices.com

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RT America

Analysts claim CENTCOM altered reports to make war against ISIS look better than in reality © Stringer
One of the defense analysts claiming CENTCOM had prettied up reports on the campaign against Islamic State has been named, along with the two officials he fingered as culprits. House and Senate committees have taken an interest in the investigation.

Gregory Hooker, the same analyst who a decade ago criticized plans for the 2003 Iraq invasion as being “amateurish and unrealistic,” was named by the New York Times as one of the originators of the July complaint against the US Central Command (CENTCOM). Filed by Hooker and another analyst, the complaint was endorsed by 50 of their colleagues, the Daily Beast revealed earlier this month.

READ MORE: Revolt of the spies: DoD analysts claim CENTCOM doctored reports about war on ISIS

CENTCOM employs some 1,500 intelligence analysts composed of civilian employees, members of the military, and contractors at the MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. The complaint accuses two senior intelligence officials at CENTCOM, Major General Steven Grove and his civilian deputy, Gregory Ryckman, of altering draft intelligence assessments on the offensive against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, according to the Times.

The man at the center of a revolt at CENTCOM over cooked ISIS intelligence, and the group of analysts he leads http://nyti.ms/1OTe8VG 

Hello  everyone , 

 

 I am back from my hiatus.  I really was  not sure if I would be back at all.   Yet here I am  with an oldie but definitely a goody.  This video was posted in 2012 with test results and  scientific findings  that  should have  made  the  difference  in the termination of GMO in the  marketplace.  Or at least a moratorium on its widespread release.  Not to mention the  cross contamination with non-gmo crops out in the fields.   This is  clear  and  concise proof that we  have been  sold out .  Not to mention being used as  guinea pigs in this race to fill Monsanto’s  bank accounts .  Along with other companies like it and their  benefactors the  FDA and The  USDA.

Sooooooo,  if you were still living in that fantasy land that believes  the government is there to protect you, then please  wake up and  smell the rotting corpse of what used to be a public service oriented office.  For it is now and  has been for quite a  while an office of corporate, personal, political and  governmental gain at the expense of the  people.  It is our children and all the children who will come after who are  and will be the by product of this exercise in greed and callous disregard for human life. 

Still asleep?

 

Desert Rose+

 

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** A  heartfelt Thank you, to those of you  who waited and  those of you who joined in my absence.  Your  support is very much appreciated.  I am not sure how active I will be , but I will do my best to bring you some of the information I come across on a daily basis as well as some Guest writers when and as they arise 🙂

 

~Be vigilant and aware , for our foes only advantage is the element of surprise~

Desert Rose

**********************************************************************

Patrick Timpone

 

Published on Oct 1, 2012
Click on the link to hear the entire interview
http://www.oneradionetwork.com/health…World renowned scientist lost his job when he warned about GE foodsDr
Arpad Pusztai evoked world wide media attention in August 1998, when he
said in British TV that he would not eat genetically engineered food
because of the insufficient testing procedures they have undergone.Pusztai
is a world renowned expert on food safety, who worked at UK’s leading
food safety research lab, the Rowett institute. His statement obviously
threatened to damage the then ongoing multimillion PR campaign of the
Biotech industry to create public confidence in GE foods. A few days
after his public appearance he was suspended and gagged by the research
institute where he worked.

Pointed out weakness in present food regulations
Dr
Pusztai’s pointed out that substances in Genetically Engineered (GE)
foods that have a slow acting effect would not be detected because
present regulations do not require long term safety testing. The
regulations prescribe an approval procedure based on the principle of
substantial equivalence. In practice this procedure allows very
superficially tested foods to be approved. As an illustrative example,
he mentioned fresh results from his research on certain pesticidal
Lectins (Pusztai is recognized as a world leading expert on Lectins).
Pusztai found that rats developed immune system defects and stunted
growth after a time period corresponding to 10 years of human life.Humiliating statements displayed about Pusztai
A
few days after his appearance on TV and Radio, the Rowett intstitute
suspended Pusztai. It was said that the GE potatoes were not intended to
be used as food. It was maintained that the results reported by Dr
Pusztai were misleading because he had mixed up the results of different
studies. In that context it was pointed out that he was old (68),
giving the impression of a senile and confused person. It was also said
that the research had not been done on GE potatoes but on a mixture of
natural potatoes and Lectin. It was indicated in a humiliating way that
the quality of Dr Pusztai’s research was deficient. The formal reason
for his suspension was that he had presented the results publicly before
they had been reviewed by other scientists (peer review) as required by
the Rowett Institute. At the same time as he was suspended, he was
disallowed to speak with the media to defend himself (which would have
revealed the misleading information from Rowett Institute).A
scientific committe was asked by the Rowett institute to review the
study Pustai referred to. It said there were important deficiencies in
the study.Independent scientists confirmed the correctness of Pusztais conclusions
Pusztai
then sent the research protocols to 24 independent scientists in
different countries. These turned down the conclusions of the review
committee and found that his research was of good quality and justified
his conclusions. They found that Pusztai had not mixed up any results.

Scientists
and physicians (including the undersigned), who had been in touch with
Pusztai confirmed that he was perfectly clear-minded with no signs of
confusion or memory defects.

“Breathtaking impertinence” by Royal society according to Lancet
Then
a second review committe was appointed by the Royal Society in UK. It
again concluded that Pusztai’s results were inconclusive yes even
flawed.

A world leading scientific journal found the judgement
of the Royal Society “a gesture of breathtaking impertinence” (Lancet,
Editorial, May 22, p1769).

Pusztai has pointed out a number of
obvious deficencies in this review report, see also the interview below
and Dr Pusztai’s website, where he explains this in detail.

Harmful GE potatoes would have been approved
Recently
Pusztai has also said that the lectin potatoes he had been studying
were indeed intended for food although that was denied by the Rowett
institute. That was the reason why he wanted to make the alarming
results known. Had not Pusztai’s long term study revealed the danger,
the GE lectin potatoes might very well have turned up on the market, as
formally they were “substantially equivalent” with the natural variety,
Pusztai said. This case demonstrates the serious insufficiency of the
present regulations for food safety that don’t demand long term testing
of GE foods, see Substantial equivalence versus scientific food safety
assessment. This is the probable reason why great efforts were made to
suppress the truth and to “kill” the messenger.

 

 

A parody of the National Security Administration’s logo, created by EFF designer Hugh D’Andrade to help publicize EFF’s case against NSA illegal spying, 1st Unitarian v. NSA: https://www.eff.org/node/75009
Wikimedia.org
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Tenth Amendment Center

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Senator demands independent investigation as VA scandal spreads

By Jeremy Schwartz

The chair of the Texas Senate’s veteran affairs committee on Monday called for an independent investigation into allegations that wait time data was manipulated at Department of Veterans Affairs clinics in Central Texas and San Antonio.

Sen. Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, made her comments as the burgeoning scandal over VA patient care reached the Rio Grande Valley, where a former VA doctor accused the department of delaying colonoscopies for veterans with cancer and jeopardizing veterans’ visits to non-VA specialists because the agency took so long to reimburse private providers.

In Austin, Van de Putte demanded accountability from top VA leaders over claims that scheduling clerks were trained to falsely input appointment data to make it appear that waiting times were far shorter than they really are. The VA aims to see patients within 14 days of their desired appointment dates, and medical centers are graded on their ability to hit those targets.

“It appears the motivation for the deception…was a personal pay day in the form of a VA performance bonus,” Van de Putte said. “Someone is responsible. These scheduling clerks didn’t just decide to falsify reports all over the country at the same time…The allegations show a pattern that crosses multiple clinics and shows the actions were condoned at a pretty high level.”

The claims of whistleblower Brian Turner, a VA scheduling clerk who said he saw data manipulation in Waco, Austin and San Antonio, were first reported by the American-Statesman last week.

On Monday, new allegations emerged against the VA Health Care Center in Harlingen, and officials with the VA’s Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System, which oversees the facility. Dr. Richard Krugman, former associate chief of staff at the center, told investigators that “patient care was impacted by the VA’s requirements to cut costs,” according to documents obtained by the American-Statesman.

 

Read More Here

 

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Cornyn Demands Answers From VA Secretary

May 13 2014

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) today announced on Fox News he has sent a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki after several reports surfaced of abuse and mismanagement in VA clinics in Texas and across the country.  The letter asks several questions of Sec. Shinseki, and calls on the Secretary to provide answers during his testimony before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Thursday, May 15. A video of Sen. Cornyn’s Fox News interview regarding VA failures can be viewed here. Sen. Cornyn’s questions for Sec. Shinseki include:

“Can you confirm that supervisors at VA facilities in Texas have not and are not ordering employees to ‘game the system’ by concealing wait times?

“Can you confirm that veterans diagnosed with cancer of any kind that requires chemotherapy are provided that treatment in a timely manner by the VA? 

“Can you confirm that any bonuses or pay raises are on hold for senior leaders at VA facilities in San Antonio, Austin, Waco, Harlingen, and all VA facilities where similar allegations have been made?

“Can you confirm that staff at facilities currently under investigation for allegations of falsified reports will not be assigned to investigate other VA facilities? 

“Can you confirm that documents are being preserved at all Texas VA facilities?”

The full text of the letter is below and attached.

May 13, 2014

The Honorable Eric K. Shinseki
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20420

Dear Secretary Shinseki:

I write to reiterate my deep concern regarding the numerous, troubling reports that continue to surface regarding mistreatment of our nation’s veterans at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities across the country.  These reports indicate that incidents—including the withholding of life-saving care from some veterans—were the result of a culture of cover-ups, indifference as to the health and welfare of our veterans, and a complete lack of accountability that pervades your Department.  Yet, the Administration’s response to these troubling revelations has been lethargic and its inaction puzzling.

During your testimony before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Thursday, I call on you to provide direct, clear answers to these questions:

1.         According to recent reports, you have ordered a “face-to-face audit” of all Department of Veterans Affairs clinics.  Can you describe in detail how you intend for this audit to be conducted, its timeline for completion, and what measures are being taken to ensure these audits are conducted in an independent and transparent manner?  If the allegations are substantiated, what type of action are you willing to take to right these wrongs, and how will the responsible officials be held accountable?

2.         A whistleblower in Texas claims that during his time as a scheduling clerk for VA facilities in Austin, San Antonio, and Waco, he was directed by supervisors to hide true wait times by inputting false records into the VA’s scheduling system.  VA officials in San Antonio deny this, while VA officials in Austin claim employees may have been discouraged from using the electronic scheduling tool that would reveal long wait times, but that those orders did not come from “executive leadership.”  Can you confirm that supervisors at VA facilities in Texas have not and are not ordering employees to “game the system” by concealing wait times?

3.         An Austin-based surgeon recently contacted my office to inform me he is not accepting any further subcontracts from the VA due to failures in patient care that he has personally witnessed.  Specifically, he saw a veteran in August of 2013 who was referred to him by the VA after they detected a lesion they suspected was cancerous.  Already two months had lapsed between the time they detected the lesion and the time he saw the veteran.  This surgeon performed a biopsy and diagnosed it as laryngeal cancer.  He informed the VA that the veteran needed immediate chemotherapy – that they had a real chance to treat his cancer if they started chemotherapy right away.  Almost two months later, he followed up on his case only to learn the VA never provided chemotherapy, with no good excuse as to why.  The veteran died several days later.  Can you confirm that veterans diagnosed with cancer of any kind that requires chemotherapy are provided that treatment in a timely manner by the VA?

4.         A whistleblower in South Texas who formerly served as associate chief of staff for the VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System in Harlingen, TX, told the Washington Examiner this week that roughly 15,000 patients who should have had the potentially life-saving colonoscopy procedure either did not receive it or were forced to wait longer than they should have.  He also claims that approximately 1,800 records were purged to give the false appearance of eliminating a backlog.  Can you confirm that veterans requiring colonoscopies to detect cancer are provided with the procedure in a timely manner?

5.         In 2012, VA medical facilities in Central Texas reported that 96 percent of veterans were seen by providers within 14 days of their preferred appointment date.  In the South Texas region that includes San Antonio, the statistics were even more impressive: 97 percent of veterans were seen within two weeks, according to annual performance reports.  Can you produce documents that show the original dates of veterans’ requests for appointments for 2012?

6.         According to public records, the director of the Phoenix VA hospital, where news investigations have discovered at least 40 veterans died while waiting for care and languishing on secret lists, received more than $9,000 in bonus pay in 2013.  Can you confirm that any bonuses or pay raises are on hold for senior leaders at VA facilities in San Antonio, Austin, Waco, Harlingen, and all VA facilities where similar allegations have been made?

7.         My staff attended a Quarterly Congressional Staffer and Veterans Service Organization Representative Meeting at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System (CTVHS) Friday, May 9, 2014.  Sallie Houser-Hanfelder, director of the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System, told meeting attendees that, as part of the face-to-face audits you have ordered, a quality systems manager from CTVHS would be sent to another VA facility to assist with investigations there.  Can you confirm that staff at facilities currently under investigation for allegations of falsified reports will not be assigned to investigate other VA facilities?

8.         A former VA employee at the VA Greater Los Angeles Medical Center told the Daily Caller that employees at the Center destroyed veterans’ medical files in a systematic attempt to eliminate backlogged veteran medical exam requests.  The former employee said, “The waiting list counts against the hospital’s efficiency.  He said the chief of the Center’s Radiology Department initiated an “ongoing discussion in the department” to cancel exam requests and destroy veterans’ medical files so that no record of the exam requests would exist, thus artificially reducing the backlog.  In addition, you have been subpoenaed by the House Veterans Affairs Committee over concerns by Chairman Jeff Miller that evidence in Phoenix may have been destroyed after the Committee issued a document-preservation order on April 9.  A top VA official testified on April 24 that a spreadsheet of patient appointment records, which may have been a “secret list” proving misconduct, was shredded or discarded.  Can you confirm that documents are being preserved at all Texas VA facilities?

I look forward to your prompt and detailed responses to these pressing questions.

Sincerely,

JOHN CORNYN
United States Senator

 

 

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Chairman of key House committee agrees to proceed with NSA reform bill

• Judiciary committee chair gives new life to USA Freedom Act
• Bill to overhaul spy agency had been stalled by months of delay

NSA logo
House judiciary committee Bob Goodlatte has agreed to support the surveillance overhaul bill. Photograph: Alex Milan Tracy/Corbis

The chairman of a key committee in the House of Representatives agreed to move on a major surveillance overhaul on Monday, after months of delay.

The decision, by the Republican chairman of the House judiciary committee, Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, breathes new life back into the USA Freedom Act, a legislative fix favoured by privacy advocates to prevent the US government from collecting domestic data in bulk.

The judiciary committee is expected to take action on an amendment encapsulating the provisions of the USA Freedom Act on Wednesday at 1pm. Congressional aides expected it to pass the committee with bipartisan support, setting up a fight on the House floor.

Goodlatte, who had been hesitant to endorse the bill, written by former committee chairman James Sensenbrenner, will now vote for it personally.

Goodlatte’s decision comes despite pressure by the House Republican leadership, which preferred an alternative bill, written by the House intelligence committee leadership, that would permit the government to acquire Americans’ data without a specific prior judicial order for it. Additional pressure came from a desire on all sides to avoid surveillance-related amendments to unrelated, critical bills slated for floor consideration later this month.

An attempt by the intelligence committee and the House leadership to circumvent Goodlatte’s committee and pass the rival bill is said by observers to have galvanised Goodlatte’s decision to move forward on the USA Freedom Act. Internal committee negotiations on modifying the USA Freedom Act for passage intensified after the House intelligence committee unveiled its bill in March.

The Obama administration has yet to take a public position on the House judiciary bill or the House intelligence bill, although President Barack Obama endorsed getting the National Security Agency out of the business of bulk domestic phone records collection in March.

“This will start to look like a reasonable path forward for surveillance reform,” said a congressional aide.

Barely an hour after the judiciary committee announced its move on the USA Freedom Act, the House intelligence committee announced that it will mark up its alternative bill, the Fisa Transparency and Modernization Act, on Thursday.

“This bill directly addresses the privacy concerns many Americans have expressed over bulk collection. The bill ends bulk collection of telephone metadata and increases transparency while maintaining the tools our government needs to keep Americans and our allies safe. We believe this bill responds to the concerns many members of Congress have expressed and can be the compromise vehicle to reform Fisa while preserving important counterterrorism capabilities,” said the intelligence committee leaders, Republican Mike Rogers of Michigan and Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, in a joint statement on Monday.

 

Read More here

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A House committee has voted unanimously to rein in the NSA

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). (Bill O'Leary / The Washington Post)

A key House committee has approved a package of NSA reforms that would end the spy agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records, nearly a year after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden disclosed the program’s existence.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 32-0 Wednesday to rein in the NSA with the USA FREEDOM Act, a measure that places new requirements on the government when it comes to gathering, targeting and searching telephone metadata for intelligence purposes.

In addition to prohibiting the NSA from engaging in what the bill’s sponsors have called “dragnet surveillance,” the bill would also require authorities to get permission from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on a case-by-case basis. It would establish a panel of privacy experts and other officials to serve as a public advocate at the court. And it would also give businesses more latitude to tell the public about requests it receives from the government for user data.

 

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Defiant Apple, Facebook, other firms to inform public of govt surveillance requests

Published time: May 02, 2014 01:07
Edited time: May 02, 2014 06:42
Reuters / Eric Thayer

Reuters / Eric Thayer

The same technology companies that the US intelligence community has relied upon to disclose email records are now refusing to keep surveillance requests secret and informing customers when they are the subject of such requests.

In the nearly ten months since former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed extensive surveillance efforts on everyday Americans’ online activity, the companies that were forced to facilitate that surveillance have come under harsh public scrutiny.

The embarrassment ignited a series of comments from executives at Google and Facebook, among others, calling on the NSA and other agencies to either stop forcing them to provide the communications that customers trust them with, or allow them to be more transparent.

Now, according to a Thursday report in the Washington Post, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Google have updated their policies to routinely notify customers when law enforcement has requested information about them.

Yahoo enacted such a change in July, with the Post reporting Thursday that companies “have found that investigators often drop data demands to avoid having suspects learn of inquiries.”

 

Read More Here

 

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Apple, Facebook, others defy authorities, notify users of secret data demands

Major U.S. technology companies have largely ended the practice of quietly complying with investigators’ demands for e-mail records and other online data, saying that users have a right to know in advance when their information is targeted for government seizure.This increasingly defiant industry stand is giving some of the tens of thousands of Americans whose Internet data gets swept into criminal investigations each year the opportunity to fight in court to prevent disclosures. Prosecutors, however, warn that tech companies may undermine cases by tipping off criminals, giving them time to destroy vital electronic evidence before it can be gathered.

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How the NSA is infiltrating private networks

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How the NSA is infiltrating private networks

Fueling the shift is the industry’s eagerness to distance itself from the government after last year’s disclosures about National Security Agency surveillance of online services. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Google all are updating their policies to expand routine notification of users about government data seizures, unless specifically gagged by a judge or other legal authority, officials at all four companies said. Yahoo announced similar changes in July.As this position becomes uniform across the industry, U.S. tech companies will ignore the instructions stamped on the fronts of subpoenas urging them not to alert subjects about data requests, industry lawyers say. Companies that already routinely notify users have found that investigators often drop data demands to avoid having suspects learn of inquiries.

“It serves to chill the unbridled, cost-free collection of data,” said Albert Gidari Jr., a partner at Perkins Coie who represents several technology companies. “And I think that’s a good thing.”

The Justice Department disagrees, saying in a statement that new industry policies threaten investigations and put potential crime victims in greater peril.

“These risks of endangering life, risking destruction of evidence, or allowing suspects to flee or intimidate witnesses are not merely hypothetical, but unfortunately routine,” department spokesman Peter Carr said, citing a case in which early disclosure put at risk a cooperative witness in a case. He declined to offer details because the case was under seal.

The changing tech company policies do not affect data requests approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which are automatically kept secret by law. National security letters, which are administrative subpoenas issued by the FBI for national security investigations, also carry binding gag orders.

The government traditionally has notified people directly affected by searches and seizures — though often not immediately — when investigators entered a home or tapped a phone line. But that practice has not survived the transition into the digital world. Cellular carriers such as AT&T and Verizon typically do not tell customers when investigators collect their call data.

Many tech companies once followed a similar model of quietly cooperating with law enforcement. Courts, meanwhile, ruled that it was sufficient for the government to notify the providers of Internet services of data requests, rather than the affected customers.

Twitter, founded in 2006, became perhaps the first major tech company to routinely notify users when investigators collected data, yet few others followed at first. When the Electronic Frontier Foundation began issuing its influential “Who Has Your Back?” report in 2011 — rating companies on their privacy and transparency policies — Twitter was the only company to get a star under the category “Tell users about data demands.” Google, the next mostly highly rated, got half a star from the civil liberties group.

 

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Army rejects clemency for Chelsea Manning

Published time: April 14, 2014 17:14
Edited time: April 14, 2014 17:48

Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning will not receive clemency from the United States military, the US Army said on Monday afternoon.

A news release circulated by the US Army Military District of Washington early Monday confirmed that the Pentagon official who could have agreed to reduce or eliminate the sentence imposed last year on the former intelligence analyst declined to do so. The case will next automatically be sent to the Army Court of Criminals Appeals.

According to the press release, the convening authority, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, approved the findings and sentence adjudged at last summer’s court-martial, in turn rejecting requests for Manning to receive clemency.

As convening authority, Buchanan could have elected to disapprove of Army Col. Denise Lind’s decision last summer to sentence Manning to 35 years in prison after the analyst admitted to sharing a trove of classified military documents with the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Lind sentenced the solder to 35 years in prison and demoted her to private first class after finding the soldier guilty of multiple counts, including espionage, theft and computer fraud.

 

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Chelsea Manning’s 35-year prison sentence upheld by US army general

Chelsea Manning
Manning pleaded guilty to 10 charges but was convicted last year on 20 counts, including espionage and theft. Photo: Ho/AFP/Getty Images

A US army general has denied clemency for Chelsea Manning and upheld the former soldier’s 35-year prison sentence for providing secret files to WikiLeaks in the biggest breach of classified materials in US history, the army said Monday.

Major General Jeffrey S Buchanan’s decision to uphold the findings of Manning’s 2013 court-martial will automatically send the case to the army court of criminal appeals, an Army statement said.

The soldier, formerly known as Bradley Manning, was working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2010 when she gave the pro-transparency site WikiLeaks 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts.

The trove included a 2007 video of a US Apache helicopter firing at suspected insurgents in Iraq, killing a dozen people, including two Reuters news staffers.

 

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