September 12, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said Thursday that Edward Snowden 's disclosures of secret surveillance programs at home and abroad have generated a useful public debate on the trade-offs between privacy and national security. "I think it's clear that some of the conversations this has generated, some of the debate, actually needed to happen," Clapper told a defense and intelligence contractor trade group. "If there's a good side to this, maybe that's it. " Clapper defended the work of the National Security Agency, where Snowden worked on contract as a systems analyst, and took no responsibility for the glaring security lapse that allowed Snowden to download and remove at least 50,000 classified documents from an NSA listening post in Hawaii.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 22, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO -- The state's ethics agency on Thursday revised gift rules involving travel by elected officials, drawing mixed reactions from good-government advocates. The state Fair Political Practices Commission adopted the new rules to clarify that the agency “can only require disclosure or impose restrictions if there is a personal benefit to the individual,” said Ann Ravel, the panel's chairwoman. The panel tightened the rules for travel paid by third parties for officials to participate in educational panels, requiring the travel to be directly related to the official's public duties to be exempt from the $440 gift limit.
July 31, 2013 |
FT. MEADE, Md. - A former top Army officer who oversaw the Pentagon's secret intelligence gathering testified Wednesday that Pfc. Bradley Manning's disclosures to WikiLeaks "affected our ability to do our mission" and endangered U.S. ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Retired Army Brig. Gen. Robert A. Carr, formerly at the Defense Intelligence Agency and now an executive at Northrop Grumman, was the government's first witness in the sentencing phase of Manning's court-martial.
July 12, 2013 |
SEOUL -- As a team of U.S. and South Korean investigators wrap up the initial stage of their probe into the crash landing of an Asiana Airlines jetliner in San Francisco, a cultural chasm is growing concerning disclosures about the pilots and analysis of their actions in the cockpit. National Transportation Safety Board chief Deborah Hersman has cautioned against jumping to conclusions, saying the investigation will take months to complete. But an NTSB briefing on Thursday seemed to offer more clues that the South Korean pilots may have made some misjudgments in the moments before the Boeing 777 slammed into a sea wall and runway at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, killing two people and injuring 182 others.
July 2, 2013 |
The energy industry scored a big win Tuesday when a federal judge tossed out a Securities and Exchange Commission rule that required oil and mining companies to disclose payments to foreign governments. Deeming the regulation arbitrary and capricious, U.S. District Judge John Bates in Washington noted that the SEC failed to include exemptions in cases in which foreign governments explicitly ban public disclosures, according to Fuel Fix, a website reporting the industry. The regulation was issued under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010, intended to bring financial reforms following the Great Recession.
June 17, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Defiant and apparently unbowed by threats of prosecution, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden vowed Monday to release more secrets about U.S. intelligence surveillance systems that he described as "nakedly, aggressively criminal. " Snowden, who has been hiding in Hong Kong, said NSA analysts routinely obtain emails and other Internet communications of Americans as part of the cyber-spying agency's surveillance of global telecommunications and Web traffic.
June 13, 2013 |
When federal officials recently confirmed the existence of a massive National Security Agency program that has been collecting Americans' phone data for years, they argued it was needed to fight terrorism. But that acknowledgment has opened potentially seismic rifts in the nation's legal system, allowing defendants to argue that the government is holding a massive trove of evidence that is necessary to their cases - the same kind of evidence that, when it's collected by police, is commonly turned over to defendants.
June 11, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A bipartisan group of senators is introducing new legislation that they say will provide greater transparency of National Security Agency surveillance programs, the first significant legislative response to the revelation of the highly classified telephone and Internet data-collection programs. The bill, written by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Sen. Mike Lee ( R-Utah), would end the "secret law" governing the programs, the sponsors say, requiring the attorney general to declassify opinions from the secret federal court overseeing surveillance to show how broadly the government views its legal authority under the Patriot Act and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Co-sponsors include Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 11, 2013 |
Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey announced Tuesday that she has issued new policies on when to disclose information about police officer misconduct and other evidence in criminal cases to defense attorneys. The move drew praise from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, which, along with other civil rights lawyers, sued the county last year accusing prosecutors of improperly withholding key evidence from defendants. The new directives, issued last week, make it clear that prosecutors must disclose all evidence favorable to the defense and that they cannot rely solely on the contents of a district attorney's database that tracks police misconduct when they determine what evidence needs to be turned over.
June 7, 2013 |
There's a moment near the end of the 'N Sync song “Up Against the Wall” -- it's from the boy band's 2001 swan song, “Celebrity,” if you don't recall -- where one of the group's members, suddenly overcome with his enthusiasm for the track's sleekly propulsive groove, cries out, “Whoo! 2-step!” It's not clear who utters the words, though my bet is JC Chasez, 'N Sync's most committed club-music fan. (His adventurous 2004 solo set, “Schizophrenic,” includes a cut produced by Basement Jaxx.)