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Frontline: Top Secret America

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Dana Priest traces the journey from 9/11 to the Marathon bombings and investigates the secret history of the 12-year battle against terrorism. First published Sept 6th, 2011.

I can't say that I had very high hopes for Obama's NSA reforms. (Hello, Gitmo?) The man can still give a good speech, though, and make me feel like everything is going to be alright. Unfortunately, what really matters is the policy and what actually happens. After his recent announcement about reforming surveillance procedures, bulk collection of everyone's communication data will still occur.

Today President Obama plans to announce some reportedly limited reforms to National Security Agency surveillance programs. Since the first disclosures based on documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Obama has offered his own defenses of the programs. But not all of the president’s claims have stood up to scrutiny. Here are some of the misleading assertions he has made. 1. There have been no abuses. 2. At least 50 terrorist threats have been averted. 3. The NSA does not do any domestic spying. 4. Snowden failed to take advantage of whistleblower protections.

As Bitcoin becomes an increasingly popular form of digital cash, the cryptocurrency is being accepted in exchange for everything from socks to sushi to heroin. If one anarchist has his way, it’ll soon be used to buy murder, too.

The New York Times' editorial board has made a disappointing endorsement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), even as the actual text of the agreement remains secret. That raises two distressing possibilities: either in an act of extraordinary subservience, the Times has endorsed an agreement that neither the public nor its editors have the ability to read. Or, in an act of extraordinary cowardice, it has obtained a copy of the secret text and hasn't yet fulfilled its duty to the public interest to publish it.

What makes the crackdown on leaks, increased denials of Freedom of Information Act requests and surveillance of journalists even more pernicious is how this conduct by President Barack Obama’s administration has taken place as the administration simultaneously uses its own media to pump out its own message.

President Obama determined that it is once again in the national interest of the United States to waive a provision of a law against aiding regimes that use child soldiers to provide non-lethal assistance and peace-keeping support to several African countries.

Myth # 1: This bill does not codify indefinite detention
Myth # 2: The bill does not expand the scope of the War on Terror as defined by the 2001 AUMF
Myth # 3: U.S. citizens are exempted from this new bill