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Stories by Justin Elliott

Commerce sec. overruled Census officials to add citizenship question

Wilbur Ross wrote a memo arguing that the benefits of the controversial question would outweigh any harm... Read more»0

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Census rushes to respond to request to add citizenship question

The Census Bureau is exploring options about adding a citizenship question to the next census, amid a firestorm of protest about the controversial proposal.... Read more»0

Justice Dep't pushes for citizenship question on census, alarming experts

“This is a recipe for sabotaging the census,” said one. The administration’s stated reason for the controversial move: protecting civil rights.... Read more»0

Commentary

Trying (and trying) to get records from the ‘most transparent administration’ ever

I experienced firsthand the incompetence and neglect behind Obama’s failure to make good on his FOIA promises. ... Read more»0

House adopts amendment to bar NSA encryption meddling

An amendment designed to bar the National Security Agency from undermining encryption standards was approved by the House on a voice vote Thursday night. Another amendment, barring NSA "backdoor spying" via foreign databases, was opposed by Rep. Ron Barber and supported by Rep. Raul Grijalva.... Read more»0

House committee puts NSA on notice over encryption standards

An amendment would remove requirement that the National Institute of Standards and Technology consult with the NSA on encryption standards .... Read more»0

What NSA transparency looks like

Disclosures by the spy agency about violations of privacy rules have been almost entirely redacted. ... Read more»0

Does NSA tap that? What we still don’t know about agency’s surveillance

Among the snooping revelations of recent weeks, there have been tantalizing bits of evidence that the NSA is tapping fiber-optic cables that carry nearly all international phone and Internet data. Is the NSA really sucking up everything? It’s not clear.... Read more»0

Email fail: NSA says it can't search its own records

The NSA is a "supercomputing powerhouse" with machines so powerful their speed is measured in thousands of trillions of operations per second. The agency turns its giant machine brains to the task of sifting through unimaginably large troves of data its surveillance programs capture. But ask the NSA to do a seemingly simple search of its own employees' email? The agency says it doesn’t have the technology.... Read more»0

Dark money group spent on House race, then told IRS it didn’t

The group that put out a mailer last year to Texas voters, A Better America Now, reported to the Federal Election Commission it had spent about $65,000 for the mailer and TV advertising in the hard-fought race to represent Texas’ 23rd district. But in a tax return recently filed with the IRS, the group claimed it did not spend any money at all on “direct or indirect political campaign activities.”... Read more»0

Factcheck: The NSA and Sept. 11

In defending the NSA’s sweeping collection of Americans’ phone call records, Obama administration officials have repeatedly pointed out how it could have helped thwart the 9/11 attacks: If only the surveillance program been in place before Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. authorities would have been able to identify one of the future hijackers who was living in San Diego.... Read more»1

Remember when Patriot Act debate was all about library records?

In the months following the October 2001, passage of the Patriot Act, there was a heated public debate about the very provision of the law that we now know the government is using to vacuum up phone records of American citizens on a massive scale. Instead, the debate centered on something else: library records.... Read more»0

NSA black hole: 5 things we still don't know about agency's snooping

Last week saw revelations that the FBI and the National Security Agency have been collecting Americans’ phone records en masse and that the agencies have access to data from nine tech companies. But secrecy around the programs has meant even basic questions are still unanswered. Here’s what we still don’t know.... Read more»0

Big corporations put up seed funding for GOP dark money group

Some of the nation’s biggest corporations donated more than a million dollars to launch a Republican nonprofit that went on to play a key role in recent political fights. Like the nonprofit groups that poured money into last year’s elections, the decade-old State Government Leadership Foundation has been able to keep the identities of its funders secret. Until now.... Read more»0

Widely cited gov't study on Iranian spies 'pulled for revisions'

An official with the Library of Congress says a widely cited but poorly sourced report his office did on Iran's intelligence ministry has been pulled from circulation. ... Read more»0

FCC’s plan for fixing its political ads transparency site? It won’t say

When the FCC passed a rule earlier this year to require TV stations to post political ad buying information online, public interest groups welcomed the policy as a means to get an unprecedented look at how billions of campaign dollars flow around the country.... Read more»0

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