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18 Sep 14. Want to Reform the NSA? Give Snowden Immunity. In 1970, Christopher Pyle disclosed in public writing that the U.S. Army was running a domestic intelligence program aimed at anti-war and civil-rights activists. His disclosure began a series of public-accountability leaks, the most famous of which was Daniel Ellsberg’s leak of the Pentagon Papers. Only one leak, the clearly improper disclosure of satellite images of a Soviet aircraft carrier to Jane’s Information Group, was ever prosecuted, and the norm of not prosecuting for leaks to the press was so strong that Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan persuaded President Bill Clinton to pardon the offender who delivered the image to Jane’s. It was only in 2002, when Jesselyn Radack disclosed that the prosecution of “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh had involved several violations of Lindh’s constitutional rights that the new wave of whistleblowing and public-accountability leaks reemerged. Thomas Tamm and Russ Tice each disclosed the Bush administration’s warrantless-wiretap program to The New York Times; AT&T employee Mark Klein disclosed the company’s complicity in illegal wiretapping; and William Binney, Thomas Drake, and others challenged internally—and in Drake’s case disclosed publicly—early aspects of NSA dragnet surveillance. Chelsea Manning disclosed a major document cache to WikiLeaks, driven by what she viewed as American forces’ callous disregard for civilian casualties and silent complicity in Iraqi government torture. Most critically, Edward Snowden’s disclosures led to the introduction of dozens of bills in Congress, a judicial opinion, and two executive-branch independent reviews that demanded extensive reforms to surveillance programs.
One thing is clear. Without the men and women of conscience who have come out over aspects of the abuses, the system would have kept on grinding.
Whistleblowing is a central pillar of the way American law deals with these dynamics of error, incompetence, and malfeasance in large organizations. From workplace-safety violations to Medicare and Medicaid fraud to anti-corruption campaigns around the world, we protect and reward those who follow both internal procedures and those who expose abuse to the public. Internal audit and review processes, while important, need the backstop of insiders with knowledge. This is why immunity for Edward Snowden is so essential. In principle, there should be a public-accountability defense in criminal law, similar to self-defense and defense of others. But Congress should also introduce a simple direct intervention: adding retroactive immunity for Snowden to the NSA reform bill currently under consideration on Capitol Hill. Retroactive immunity would simply mirror immunity granted in the 2008 FISA Amendments Act to telecommunications companies that violated the law by collaborating with the illegal surveillance, and which the White House has sought to extend to other firms that handed over private data in the new reform bill. (Source: Cyber Security Intelligence/the atlantic)
18 Sep 14. Qatar University teams up with Thales to open a Cybersecurity Chair. A chair agreement was signed between Qatar University (QU) and Thales to establish the Thales Professorial Chair in Cyber and Computing Security (CCS) at QU. The Chair will be housed in the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) department at the College of Engineering (CENG). The agreement reinforces the MoU that was signed between the two organisations in November 2013 to provide training opportunities for Qatari students on new and emerging technologies in the field of cybersecurity. Its aim is to establish cooperation between the academic environment and industry on information systems and data security and related associated services. It will also contribute to Qatar’s development in the info