A review of Edward Snowden's 2011 background check reveals that it was, according to the Wall Street Journal's Brent Kendall and Dion Nissenbaum, "so inadequate that too few people were interviewed and potential concerns weren't pursued."
The former chief of NSA's operations intelligence staff, Bernard Elliker, writes in to the Washington Post to explain the NSA's "delicate balance" regarding transparency:
Transparency is a delicate balancing act. It must be handled with foresight and prudence. Too little may lead to overextending authorities (always with honorable intentions). Too much will adversely affect morale and impair the effectiveness so carefully constructed and continually refined. Don’t pull down the house while examining its foundations.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal's Spencer Ante and Ryan Knutson explore the role security agreements between telecom companies and national security agencies---often arranged after examinations by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or "CFIUS"---can play in governing surveillance activities. (On that point, you might recall a July Washington Post story, which Paul highlighted, about a well-known security agreement involving Global Crossing.)
Bloomberg notes that President Obama met with his new Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology on Tuesday. Here's the White House press release announcing the meeting and the members of the five-man team.
Over at the AP, Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo say they've gotten a hold of confidential NYPD documents that prove that the police department has "secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorist organizations." That move allegedly has given the department carte blanche to "use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing."
The New York Times website has been hacked and the Syrian Electronic Army has claimed responsibility. Thankfully, however, the Times created a work-around site so you can still read their stuff (h/t NPR). Lots of media are talking about the hack: the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Forbes, Wired, and the Washington Post, among them. To learn more about a domain name system hijacking, the type of attack perpetrated on the Times, read the Washington Post; to do the same about the Syrian Electronic Army, go to NPR.
At the Huffington Post, ProPublica's Cora Currier shares the output of a recent FOIA request for information about briefings for military personnel at Guantanamo on the September 11 attacks.
Today being the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, many are discussing the writer of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech: Clarence B. Jones. This NPR report notes an interesting source of information about preparation of the speech: the FBI's extensive wiretapping of King.
The U.K. will be seeking U.N. Security Council approval to use force, if needed, to protect Syrian civilians, according to NPR and the Times; and the Arab League is, according to the Journal, "cautious," though also insisting upon an international response. (The Times also has the scoop on the latter, too.) The U.S., meanwhile, is preparing to take action. Read the Journal's story, as well as the Times' story.
The U.S. believes that the next target for a chemical weapons attack in Syria is Aleppo, Adam Entous says over at the Journal.
Raytheon's stock prices have soared since the news broke that the U.S. is planning a strike. The company is, after all, the prime manufacturer of the Tomahawk cruise missile, Carlo Munoz of The Hill reminds us.
The Journal's editorial today collects administration leaks sprinkled across various media sources. These indicate that U.S. strikes in Syria will be brief and limited. Nevertheless, the Post's Ernesto Londono and Ed O'Keefe say that strikes could draw the U.S. deep into the conflict there.
Randal Archibold reports in the Times that the U.S. is renewing its effort to catch and prosecute recently-released Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero, for his role in the killing of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent in 1985.
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