Guardian: House Forces Vote on Amendment that Would Limit NSA Bulk Surveillance
July 23, 2013
Summary: Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives prepared to vote on an amendment to the Defense appropriations bill that would restrict NSA surveillance activities exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden. It would prevent the NSA, FBI and other agencies from relying on Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act "to collect records, including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation under Section 215." Debate over the amendment, which is sponsored by Republican congressman Justin Amash with bipartisan support, is expected later today.
The Obama administration is calling on lawmakers to vote against the Amash amendment. The NSA Director, General Keith Alexander, held two classified briefings with members of Congress yesterday. Following the briefing, Rep. Amash stated that he didn't "think it's going to change people's views on the collection of Americans' phone records."
RT: Snowden Plans to Settle and Work in Russia
Summary: According to Edward Snowden's Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden continues to wait for the government's response to his asylum plea at the Moscow airport. Once Snowden receives a paper confirming his asylum application is being reviewed, he will be allowed to leave the airport and plans to get a job and "arrange his life here." The consideration of the plea will then take up to three months. The whistleblower intends to appeal the decision if it is a negative ruling on the plea, but his lawyer is hopeful that the plea will be granted, guaranteeing him the same rights and freedoms as Russian citizens.
Politico: How Secrecy Erodes Democracy
July 22, 2013
Summary: In this column, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) explains how the government secretly interpreted what Congress intended as limitations on warrantless access to records under the PATRIOT Act as, instead, an expansion of power. He tells of the misinformation offered to Congress by intelligence officials regarding surveillance practices.
Another Politico column asserts the importance of public debate, and that the NSA metadata program was put in place without it and made worse by denials and misleading statements from top officials. The piece states that "we are stronger as a nation when we understand what the government is doing."
Urban Tulsa Weekly: Tracking Deceit
Summary: A whistleblower submitted a tip on Tulsa's ethics hotline, revealing that five city survey workers had been working second jobs for at least three months while clocked in for work with the city. The article discusses the use of GPS tracking of city-owned vehicles in order to monitor employee time and shield the state against false claims.
Sarah Damian is New Media Associate for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.