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Ten Noteworthy Moments in U.S. Investigative Journalism

October 21, 2014 BY: Barton Gellman TOPICS: Foreign Policy, National Security

TCF senior fellow Barton Gellman’s investigation of the NSA joins Sy Hersh’s My Lai massacre reporting, the publishing of the Pentagon Papers, and Woodward and Bernstein’s Watergate story on the Brookings Institution’s list of top ten moments in American investigative journalism.

In early June 2013, The Post and The Guardian broke nearly-simultaneous stories about National Security Agency surveillance activities being conducted on U.S. citizens and foreign officials. Both sets of articles, led by Barton Gellman at The Post and Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian, along with Laura Poitras and Ewan MacAskill, initially relied on a confidential source who was a former NSA analyst and then-employee at a private sector consulting firm. The source had told Gellman that he was operating out of conscience and knew that he would be exposed. That person was Edward Snowden. Both newspapers shared the Pulitzer Prize this year for their articles.

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Tags: nsa, investigative journalism, edward snowden, brookings institution, barton gellman

Does Yosemite have a privacy problem? Not exactly

October 21, 2014 BY: Barton Gellman TOPICS: Foreign Policy, National Security

TCF senior fellow Barton Gellman is quoted in a Verge article on potential privacy issues with Apple’s latest operating system.

The biggest concern is that a user might accidentally search their own computer for a sensitive file—in Post reporter Barton Gellman’s example, “secret plans Obama leaked me”—and unwittingly reveal that search term to Apple more broadly.

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Tags: the verge, privacy, apple

Edward Snowden: It was worth it

TCF fellow, Barton Gellman has been mentioned in a Politico article about the Edward Snowden leaks.

NSA leaker Edward Snowden on Saturday defended his disclosure of reams of classified information and said his actions were worth fleeing his seemingly idyllic life in Hawaii and ending up in hiding in Russia, where he was joined by his girlfriend in July.
“It was about getting the information back to people so they could decide if they cared about it, and on that account … I could not have been more wrong in thinking that people wouldn’t care,” he told a New Yorker Festival audience Saturday afternoon via webcast from an undisclosed location in Moscow.

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Tags: snowden nsa, snowden leaks, snowden, nsa leaks, edward snowden and the nsa, edward snowden

U.S. firm helped the spyware industry build a potent digital weapon for sale overseas

August 18, 2014 BY: Barton Gellman TOPICS: Foreign Policy, National Security

TCF fellow, Barton Gellman has written a piece for The Washington Post about a U.S. company that helped helped build a digital weapon for sale overseas.

CloudShield Technologies, a California defense contractor, dispatched a senior engineer to Munich in the early fall of 2009. His instructions were unusually opaque.

As he boarded the flight, the engineer told confidants later, he knew only that he should visit a German national who awaited him with an off-the-books assignment. There would be no written contract, and on no account was the engineer to send reports back to CloudShield headquarters.

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Tags: privacy, national security agency, digital, computer hacking

Ferguson Could Happen Anywhere

August 15, 2014 COMMENTARY BY: Jacob Anbinder TOPICS: Foreign Policy, National Security

Yes, the police crackdown in Ferguson, Missouri, was about racial tension. But TCF policy associate Jake Anbinder reminds us that federal criminal justice policy made this week’s excesses possible. “The federal bureaucracy,” Anbinder writes, “would much rather arm local police to the teeth than help them improve the way they serve their communities.”

Tags: police, militarized police, ferguson, dod 1033, community policing

Looking back in anger: One year of Snowden’s leaks

July 31, 2014 BY: Barton Gellman TOPICS: Foreign Policy, National Security

TCF fellow, Barton Gellman, has been quoted in an AlJazeera America article about the Snowden leaks.

One year ago, Russia granted Edward Snowden temporary asylum after a 39-day stay for the NSA whistleblower in the transit zone at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Snowden had become stranded there while trying to flee to Latin America, where several countries had offered permanent asylum after the U.S. government filed charges against him for making off with thousands of classified documents about its surveillance programs.

Since then, the Snowden story has unfolded in dramatic ways for a nonstop 12 months — as the world reacted to the vast amount of information that his files contained — sparking revelation after revelation about some of the nation's most cherished secrets. It has also sparked a fierce policy debate over how to make intelligence organizations more accountable.

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Tags: whistleblower, nsa leaks, leaking classified information, edward snowden


Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy

In the first years of the new century, an assertive foreign policy took a toll on the cultivated role of the U.S. as a responsible global leader. The Century Foundation's work in this area provides perspective on the international difficulties the U.S. is facing today, while providing policy recommendations to promote the nation's security interests. Our research and analysis focuses on effectively responding to challenges in the Middle East and Pakistan, as well as responding to international crime.

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