US Opinion and Commentary

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Another Trove of Hillary Clinton Emails

Posted October 31st, 2016 at 3:16 pm (UTC-4)
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Hillary Clinton’s email issues will apparently haunt her well beyond Election Day. FBI Director James Comey told Congress Friday that new emails have surfaced that need investigating. It’s unlikely the investigation will be completed by next Tuesday.

The emails in question were on a computer owned by disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner, estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin. They surfaced during an investigation of Weiner sending explicit messages to a 15-year old girl.

In July, Comey publicly recommended closing the probe of Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State, without bringing charges. At the time, he said Clinton and her aides were “extremely careless” handling classified information, but no prosecutor would recommend charging her.

Now, the FBI director is accused of violating Justice Department policy and precedent by commenting on an investigation, especially a politically-charged one so close to the election.

And Clinton has eight days to conduct whatever damage control she can before most Americans cast their vote for president.

James Comey’s Abuse of Power

Posted July 7th, 2016 at 4:08 pm (UTC-4)
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In a case where the government decides it will not submit its assertions to that sort of rigorous scrutiny by bringing charges, it has the responsibility to not besmirch someone’s reputation by lobbing accusations publicly instead…Comey ignored those rules…

FBI Director on Clinton’s Email: ‘Extremely Careless’ but No Prosecution

Posted July 6th, 2016 at 2:49 pm (UTC-4)
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Hillary Clinton will not be prosecuted for her “extremely careless” handling of email while secretary of state. But the country’s top cop called her credibility and judgment into question.

FBI Director James Comey’s explanation of and conclusions drawn from the investigation into Clinton was riveting as an act of political and legal theater. He did not deliver what Clinton foes wanted: an indictment, a prosecution.

But he did deliver something almost as damaging: a narrative that jabs at her Achilles heel, the issue of trust.

Political pundits and legal scholars are prosecuting their own cases.

When Diplomats Get Punished for Doing Their Jobs

Posted May 18th, 2016 at 10:24 am (UTC-4)
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The threat that government surveillance and national-security investigations pose for private citizens has been hotly debated for the past decade. Less understood is the damage done to government officials themselves when they fall into the dragnet.

A Presumptive Candidate’s Troubles

Posted March 31st, 2016 at 5:00 pm (UTC-4)
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The FBI investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s failure to protect state secrets contained in her emails has entered its penultimate phase, and it is a dangerous one for her and her aides.

The Thin Line Between Privacy and Security

Posted March 29th, 2016 at 3:21 pm (UTC-4)
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After the horrific and deadly terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California at a work holiday party, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began its work: what drove the suspects – a Muslim couple with an infant – to kill 14 people? Were they acting at the behest of ISIS? Investigators found the iPhone of Syed Farook, but couldn’t get past the passcode to examine his contacts. Apple CEO Tim Cook refused an FBI order to create a coded “backdoor.” Critics called foul, accusing the FBI of looking for a case with which it could set a legal precedent. Cook held firm. Privacy protests erupted. This week, the FBI announced it used a third party to successfully hack the smartphone. Obvious questions were immediately raised: why did U.S. authorities try to legally compel Apple to create a backdoor? Who wins in such cases? Are we safer when officials can force digital companies to make hackable products? Or, must personal privacy always trump security?

In The Case Of Apple V. FBI, Congress Should Be The Judge

Posted March 1st, 2016 at 2:53 pm (UTC-4)
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The laws governing who has access to our personal, digital information and communications were written when a cloud was exclusively a white, puffy thing that formed familiar shapes. Technology has far outpaced the law, and now law enforcement, business, courts, and Congress are all grappling with the implications.

Does Privacy Trump Security? Apple Thinks So

Posted February 18th, 2016 at 4:10 pm (UTC-4)
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It has been just over two months since a married Muslim-American couple opened fire on a holiday party in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 co-workers. Since then, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been investigating the couple, who appear to have been inspired by Islamic State. But investigators have been unable to access information stored on one of the suspect’s password protected iPhone. Using an obscure law, written in 1789 — the All Writs Act — the FBI got a federal judge to order Apple to place a back door into its iOS software in order to gain access. This week, Apple CEO Tim Cook answered the FBI with a firm “no,” setting off a huge debate, much of it on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. The question of privacy versus national security is reminiscent of the revelations made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, which revealed the extent to which the U.S. government is “listening” to its citizens.Encryption, back doors, government spying all summon up the fantasy world of George Orwell’s famed novel “1984.” Sixty-seven years later, Americans ponder the same dilemma, while weighing legitimate needs of law enforcement.

The Apple Fight Isn’t About Encryption

Posted February 17th, 2016 at 3:53 pm (UTC-4)
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Those who think encryption protects their personal data from the government — or, for that matter, from anyone determined enough to invest the effort in a brute force attack — are naive. Any encryption can be broken.

What the FBI Director Could Learn from The Rolling Stones

Posted October 1st, 2015 at 12:26 pm (UTC-4)
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If there is a backdoor [to encryption software], other people, bad people, could figure out how to use it to steal valuable information. Other countries would also ask for their own backdoors