FROM Julian Sanchez
New life for an American institution: Leaking… Every administration is subject to leaks of information, but the Era of Donald Trump is setting some kind of record. The President portrays himself as a victim, telling reporters, "The entire thing has been a witch hunt and there is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, I can always talk for myself – and the Russians, zero. I think it divides the country." But this week began with news that he was the leaker of intelligence secrets to Russia. Since then, reports about Israel, Turkey, James Comey and Michael Flynn have been attributed to "anonymous sources." Who are they? What do they want? Leaks can be self-serving, even against the law or a threat to national security. Are they, sometimes, necessary reinforcement of the people’s right to know?
Obama, Congress and the Surveillance State Britain's Guardian newspaper and the Washington Post broke the stories last week about the National Security Agency collecting metadata on virtually every phone call made in this country and overseas and on Internet communications overseas. The leaker is 29-year old Edward Snowden , who worked for the CIA and as a contractor for the National Security Agency, and is now hiding out in Hong Kong. Privacy advocates are outraged over the revelations, and everybody's astonished at the volume of phone calls and personal data now in government hands. Many members of Congress say 'they didn't know', although President Obama insists that they did. Is there a violation of constitutional rights? Has he vastly expanded practices begun by President Bush — and which he denounced during his own campaign for the White House?
Is the Government Reading Your Email? An FBI agent told superiors that his friend Jill Kelly was subjected to e-mail harassment. The subsequent investigation did not uncover a crime, but it ultimately forced David Petraeus to resign as Director of the CIA. The incident is being cited as evidence that technology and laws passed since September 11 demonstrate how vulnerable innocent Americans are to invasions of privacy by government agencies, turning the US into a "surveillance state." Why don't constitutional protections apply to e-mail? What's the role of Google, Facebook and the Cloud?
David Petraeus, Paula Broadwell… and You An FBI agent told superiors that his friend Jill Kelly was subjected to e-mail harassment. The subsequent investigation did not uncover a crime, but it ultimately forced David Petraeus to resign as Director of the CIA. The incident demonstrates how vulnerable innocent Americans are to invasions of privacy by government agencies. Under current law, there is no expectation of privacy for e-mail or other telecommunications, which go through third parties like Google or Facebook. The Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search does not apply, creating the potential for abuse by government agents. Can the law catch up with technology, or has the US already become a "surveillance state?"
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.