Walter Pincus

NSA targeting of foreign hackers does not infringe on anyone’s privacy

Location:
Washington Post, 1150 15th St NW, Washington, DC, 20071, United States
Recommendation:
2

What better way to celebrate the two-year anniversary of Edward Snowden’s first leak about the National Security Agency’s operations than to have the latest story from his cache of stolen government documents create another misleading public understanding of an NSA program, this one aimed at catching foreign hackers.

USAID looks to expand its media-building efforts in Afghanistan

Location:
Recommendation:
2

Saying that "freedom of information is essential to stabilizing and rebuilding Afghanistan," the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has decided to expand its media activities in that country.

Government devotes more brainpower and money to cybersecurity

Location:
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500, United States
Recommendation:
2

Cybersecurity, fast becoming Washington's growth industry of choice, appears to be in line for a multibillion-dollar injection of federal research dollars.

Pentagon tries to steer media coverage on Iraq

Location:
Department of Defense, Washington, DC, 20301, United States
Recommendation:
3

The Pentagon may be sharply reducing its combat forces in Iraq, but the military plans to step up efforts to influence media coverage in that country -- as well as here at home.

Nixon aide Colson said The Post needed to curry favor with administration

Recommendation:
2

Charles Colson, special counsel to President Richard M. Nixon, suggested in January 1973 that The Washington Post fire Executive Editor Ben Bradlee, pull Watergate stories off the front page or produce "obviously friendly editorials" on the Vietnam War as ways to prove it wanted to end its warfare with the White House.

GOP senators want to query attorney general on reporter-shield legislation

Recommendation:
2

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee want to question Attorney General Eric Holder Jr about his support of a compromise reporters' shield law before they vote on it.

White House Toughens Its Stance on Journalist Shield Law

Recommendation:
3

The Obama administration has given Congress a draft of a proposed shield law that toughens its position on controversial national security sections.

Senate Weighs New Shield Law

Recommendation:
2

The Senate Judiciary Committee this week will take up a new version of a reporter shield law.

Congressional Committees Raise Concerns Over Pentagon's Strategic Communications

Recommendation:
4

Lawmakers are voicing concerns about the Pentagon's strategic communications programs, through which the military aims to win over civilians and erode support for adversaries in countries around the world.

Senate Legislation Would Federalize Cybersecurity

Recommendation:
2

Key lawmakers are pushing to dramatically escalate U.S. defenses against cyberattacks, crafting proposals that would empower the government to set and enforce security standards for private industry for the first time.

Your Cell and Your Berry: Tools of the Enemy

Recommendation:
1

According to Joel F. Brenner, national counterintelligence executive and mission manager for counterintelligence for the director of national intelligence, in the new electronic information world, your cellphone or BlackBerry can be tagged, tracked, monitored and exploited by a foreign intelligence service between the time you disembark from a plane in that country's capital and the time you reach the airport taxi stand.

Opinion Could Dampen Zeal To Classify Government Information

Recommendation:
2

If it is ultimately upheld, a memorandum opinion written by a federal judge in Virginia and released last week may limit the overclassification of information on national security grounds and prevent future prosecutions for leaking such information.

Pentagon May Have Mixed Propaganda With PR

Recommendation:
4

The Pentagon's inspector general said yesterday that the Defense Department's public affairs office may have "inappropriately" merged public affairs and propaganda operations in 2007 and 2008 when it contracted out $1 million in work for a strategic communications plan for use by the military in collaboration with the State Department.

Partnering for Cyberspace Security

Recommendation:
1

In two recent speeches that have attracted little notice, Donald Kerr, principal deputy director of national intelligence, has called for a radical new relationship between government and the private sector to counter what he called the "malicious activity in cyberspace [that] is a growing threat to everyone." Kerr said the most serious challenge to the nation's economy and security is protecting the intellectual property of government and the private sector that is the basis for advancements in science and technology.

US to Fund Pro-American Publicity in Iraqi Media

Recommendation:
2

The Defense Department will pay private US contractors in Iraq up to $300 million over the next three years to produce news stories, entertainment programs and public service advertisements for the Iraqi media in an effort to "engage and inspire" the local population to support US objectives and the Iraqi government.

Cybersecurity Will Take A Big Bite of the Budget

Recommendation:
2

President Bush's single largest request for funds and "most important initiative" in the fiscal 2009 intelligence budget is for the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, a little publicized but massive program whose details "remain vague and thus open to question," according to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Keeping Secrets: In Presidential Memo, A New Designation for Classifying Information

Sometime in the next few years, if a memorandum signed by President Bush this month ever goes into effect, one government official talking to another about information on terrorists will have to begin by saying: "What I am about to tell you is controlled unclassified information enhanced with specified dissemination." That would mean, according to the memo, that the information requires safeguarding because "the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure would create risk of substantial harm." Bush's memorandum, signed on the eve of his daughter Jenna's wedding, introduced "Controlled Unclassified Information" as a new government category that will replace "Sensitive but Unclassified." Such information -- though it does not merit the well-known national security classifications "confidential," "secret" or "top secret" -- is nonetheless "pertinent" to U.S.

Cabinet Officials Cite Concerns About Senate Version of Reporter's Shield Law

Bush Cabinet members with national security responsibilities are sending letters to Senate leaders about the Free Flow of Information Act. The bill would protect a reporter's source unless a federal judge, "by a preponderance of the evidence," ruled that the identity sought is "essential to the resolution of the matter." In a criminal case, the judge must determine that "there are reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has occurred." In their letter, Attorney General Michael B.