We’re Suing the FBI. And the NSA.

Defending Rights & Dissent — May 4, 2022

On Friday April 29, 2022, Defending Rights & Dissent brought a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act against the Department of Justice, Department of Defense, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Defending Right & Dissent Opposes Any FBI Probe Into Identity of Source of Politico’s Supreme Court Reporting

Defending Rights & Dissent — May 3, 2022

In an unprecedented first for journalism, Politico reported on and published a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning decades of precedent that a right to privacy protected the right to have an abortion. Since this bombshell revelation, Chief Justice John Roberts has confirmed the authenticity of the draft. He also asked the Marshall of the Supreme Court to investigate the identity of Politico’s source. Some have even called for the FBI to join the investigation. A number of individuals, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), are already publicly advocating that the journalists’ source be criminally prosecuted. Defending Right & Dissent Policy Director Chip Gibbons had the following comment

Leading whistleblower protection NGOs call for urgent reform after latest UN whistleblower firing

Government Accountability Project

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) terminated the employment contract of whistleblower John O’Brien, who reported corruption in UNDP climate change projects. Government Accountability Project, Transparency International and the Whistleblowing International Network are gravely concerned about the continuing trend of UN whistleblowers reporting being singled out for retaliation and facing due process violations. The lack of access to credible independent review undermines trust and confidence in the UN justice system, with the chilling effect of dissuading UN staff from reporting wrongdoing and malpractice.

The CIA Is Still Spying on American Citizens and Lying About It

By Branko Marcetic — Jacobin

The CIA has operated above the law and resisted accountability throughout the century, and now we find out it’s been operating an illegal domestic spying program for years.

Wyden and Heinrich: Newly Declassified Documents Reveal Previously Secret CIA Bulk Collection, Problems With CIA Handling of Americans’ Information

Senators Call for Critically Needed Transparency About CIA Bulk Collection; Documents Declassified at Wyden and Heinrich’s Request

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., both members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called for new transparency about bulk surveillance conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency, following the release of documents that revealed a secret bulk collection program and problems with how the agency searches and handles Americans’ information.

The Other Drone Casualties: The Whistleblowers Who Tried to Stop It

By Jesselyn Radack, William Neuheisel — CommonDreams.org

The New York Times’ investigation into the Pentagon’s civilian casualty files is some of the most important journalism in the War on Terror. It methodically and thoroughly picks apart the layers of lies around drone warfare and proves that the few examples of civilian casualties that have been investigated previously were not one-off mistakes. Unfortunately, this reporting comes too late for the civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria who bore the brunt of the brutal air campaigns.

New York Times Reporting on Airstrikes Should Give Daniel Hale More Credit

By Sam Carliner – CommonDreams.org

The New York Times recently came through with a display of reporting that should be commended. On December 18, the paper announced its release of hundreds of the Pentagon’s confidential reports of civilian casualties caused by U.S. airstrikes in the Middle East. This followsits high profile investigations into the U.S. drone murder of the Ahmadi family during the Afghanistan withdrawal, and an American strike cell in Syria that killed dozens of civilians with airstrikes.

The PATRIOT Act Has Threatened Freedom for 20 Years

By Patrick G. Eddington — Cato.org

In passing the PATRIOT Act, Congress enacted a “solution” to preventing another 9/​11‐​like debacle without having any evidence that a lack of surveillance powers was what allowed Osama bin Laden’s suicide hijackers to succeed in killing nearly 3,000 Americans.

Press freedom and other organizations’ letter to DOJ regarding ongoing criminal and extradition proceedings against Julian Assange

Attorney General Merrick Garland:

We, the undersigned press freedom, civil liberties, and international human
rights advocacy organizations, write again to share our profound concern about
the ongoing criminal and extradition proceedings relating to Julian Assange, the
founder of Wikileaks, under the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and
Abuse Act.

The End Game in the War on Whistleblowers

By: Jesselyn Radack & Kathleen McClellan

As attorneys representing dozens of national security whistleblowers who have been criminally investigated and prosecuted under the draconian Espionage Act for disclosing information in the public interest, we have long cautioned that the war on whistleblowers was a back-door way of going after journalists. That warning was borne out when the US brought criminal charges against Julian Assange for ordinary journalistic activity: investigating government wrongdoing, cultivating sources, and encouraging encryption. However, we now have proof that the situation was far more sinister than just criminalizing protected First Amendment activity. The CIA discussed how to kidnap or assassinate controversial Wikileaks founder Julian Assange — all the more audacious because Assange had been granted humanitarian asylum precisely because he had had valid fears of persecution based on his political opinion.