Posts Tagged ‘Washington Post’


FOI Daily Dose: Poll shows Americans support NSA surveillance but still want answers

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that although 58 percent of Americans support the National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence-gathering program, an even larger majority is still eager for answers.

According to the poll conducted June 12-16 on a national random sample of 1,017 adults, 65 percent want Congress to hold public hearings on the NSA surveillance programs.

The Washington Post analyzed the results June 19, comparing the findings to previous public opinion polls about the NSA surveillance since the programs were unveiled June 6. A CNN/ORC poll on June 17 showed that 66 percent of Americans supported the federal government tracking foreign Internet activity, and yet a Pew Research Center/USA Today poll published the same day found only 48 percent approved of the phone and Internet data collection.

To help clear up confusion about the surveillance, NSA Director Keith Alexander told a House committee on June 18 that the programs helped foil more than 50 terror threats worldwide, including more than 10 in the U.S. Homeland, according to USA Today.

Alexander told lawmakers: “I would much rather be here today debating this than explaining why we were unable to prevent another 9/11” attack.”

Kara Hackett is SPJ’s Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern, a freelance writer and a free press enthusiast. Contact her at khackett@spj.org or on Twitter: @KaraHackett.

FOI DAILY DOSE: Drake agrees to plea bargain

Whistleblower Thomas Drake’s case ends with plea bargain

The case against Thomas Drake ended with a squeak, not a roar.

Drake, who provided information to a Baltimore Sun reporter in 2007 about waste in the NSA, accepted a plea bargain last week in which he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of intentionally exceeding authorized usage of his government computer.

Although the misdemeanor carries a potential prison sentence of one year, the government agreed that Drake would not serve any jail time. The misdemeanor is minor compared to the 10 felonies for which he was originally charged.

Drake was not on trial for leaking information to the Baltimore Sun, although the leak led to his indictment.

Concern that the federal government was overreaching in its prosecution of Drake was explored by several media outlets, including a New Yorker article on Drake’s indictment and a Washington Post editorial that said the federal government might be going overboard in its prosecution of Drake.

– Morgan Watkins

Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email (mwatkins@spj.org) or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).

 

FOI DAILY DOSE: Sticking up for Drake, Nigeria FOI law to keep industry transparent

Public, WaPo stick up for whistleblower Thomas Drake

National Security Administration whistleblower Thomas Drake goes to court next week, but he isn’t without public support for his actions.

Drake is facing charges of violating the Espionage Act of 1917. According to prosecutors, he willfully retained classified documents that he had promised to protect.

Drake provided unclassified but important information to a Baltimore Sun reporter about wasteful spending and other problems in the NSA, which led to his indictment. He faces up to 35 years in prison.

The Washington Post published an editorial Sunday that echoed the concerns of various whistleblower supporters. The central question in the Drake case, at least for the WaPo editorial board, is whether the court case is an overkill response to Drake’s actions.

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) showed support for Drake on June 3, presenting a petition to Attorney General Eric Holder and the House of Representatives and Senate Judiciary Committees urging the Department of Justice to drop the case against Drake.

The petition has more than 4,600 signatures according to its Web page on Change.org.

Nigeria FOI law to strengthen transparency of extractive industry

The country’s new FOI law, recently signed by President Goodluck Jonathan, should boost transparency in the extractive industry.

The operations of the industry’s revenue collection agencies and oil companies can be very secretive, but there is a push toward open access that the new law can strengthen.

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) aims to improve openness among industry companies, especially with respect to their revenue disclosures. Its Executive Secretary, Zainab Ahmed, said the FOI act complemented the NEITI Act of 2007 that created the initiative.

With the implementation of the FOI law, as well as NEITI, Nigeria is moving forward with its goal of improving transparency throughout the nation – both in the government and in the economic sector as well.

– Morgan Watkins

Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email (mwatkins@spj.org) or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).

FOI Links: Teacher firings and a First Amendment summer

FOI Links: A profile of leak suspect Bradley Manning

FOI Links: The Wash. Post reveals “Top Secret America”

Connect

Twitter Facebook Google Plus RSS Instagram Pinterest Pinterest LinkedIn


© Society of Professional Journalists. All rights reserved. Legal

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center, 3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789 | Contact SPJ Headquarters | Employment Opportunities | Advertise with SPJ