Washington Post: Court Gave NSA Broad Leeway in Surveillance, Documents Show
According to documents disclosed by NSA whistleblower and GAP client Edward Snowden, the agency has been approved to collect information on “all but four countries.” Those four include the other members of the ‘Five Eyes’ group: Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand. According to a Washington Post article, “a classified 2010 legal certification and other documents indicate the NSA has been given a far more elastic authority than previously known, one that allows it to intercept through U.S. companies not just the communications of its overseas targets but any communications about its targets as well.” The approval by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court also permitted the agency to “gather intelligence about … the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency.”
In related news, this handy chart from ProPublica categorizes the known NSA surveillance programs, illustrating how each one collects information in a targeted or bulk manner, and whether a given program is aimed at domestic or foreign targets.
Additionally, NSA whistleblower and GAP client Bill Binney estimates that U.S. surveillance has affected between two and three billion people worldwide. Binney believes the NSA – by collecting everything – has overloaded itself with information, swamping its analysts and causing them to miss vital intelligence.
The NCAA has reopened an investigation into the “paper class” scandal at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). In a statement, the NCAA said that it is taking such action after “determining that additional people with information and others who were previously uncooperative might be willing to speak with the enforcement staff” about potential violations.
Last month, former UNC-CH basketball player Rashad McCants reported a fraudulent academic system at the school by stating that “paper classes” (which did not meet) helped him remain eligible for athletics. His accusation bolstered the allegations of whistleblower and former UNC-CH learning specialist Mary Willingham. GAP sent two letters to UNC officials earlier this year questioning the school’s possible retaliation against Willingham (here and here).
A civil lawsuit contends a San Diego-based union attorney conspired to remove a whistleblower from her job because she planned to complain to the union’s international president about the handling of employer contributions.
Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a bill that expands protections for legislative employees who report government wrongdoing or waste. Current Pennsylvania law protects “employees at state agencies, departments and bureaus; municipal and county governments; and school districts,” but not employees who work within the legislature.
Dylan Blaylock is Communications Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.