Nick Gillespie: Americans Trust Government Less and Less Because We Know More and More About How It OperatesPosted: November 16, 2014
Nick Gillespie writes: Fifty years ago, FBI operatives sent Martin Luther King, Jr. was has come to be known as the “suicide letter,” an anonymous note suggesting the civil rights leader should off himself before his private sex life was made public. The information about King’s extramarital assignations was gathered with the approval not just of the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover but Attorney General Robert Kennedy and President Lyndon Johnson.
“There is but one way out for you,” reads the note, which appeared in unredacted form for the first time just last week. “You better take it before your filthy fraudulent self is bared to the nation.”
Thus is revealed one of the most despicable acts of domestic surveillance in memory. These days, we worry less about the government outing our sex lives than in it tracking every move we move online. It turns out that President Obama, who said he would roll back the unconstitutional powers exercised by his predecessor, had a secret “kill list” over which he was sole authority. Jesus, we’ve just learned that small planes are using so-called dirtboxes to pick up cell phone traffic. One of the architects of Obamacare publicly states that Americans are stupid and that the president’s healthcare reform was vague and confusing on purpose. The former director of national intelligence, along with the former head and current heads of the CIA, have lied to Congress. Read the rest of this entry »
For Hollywood Reporter, Mike Barnes and Duane Byrge write: Efrem Zimbalist Jr., the suave leading man who starred on ABC for 15 straight seasons on 77 Sunset Strip and then The F.B.I., died Friday at his ranch in Solvang, Calif., his children announced. He was 95.
Zimbalist was a household name from 1958 through 1974 for his performances as dapper private eye Stuart Bailey on Friday night staple 77 Sunset Strip, which lasted six seasons, and as Inspector Lewis Erskine on The F.B.I., which ran for nine.
A close friend of then-FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, Zimbalist ended many Quinn Martin productions on Sunday nights with a description of a fugitive wanted by the feds, exhorting viewers to be on the lookout. One of the more prominent names from this segment was James Earl Ray, assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Efrem’s character embodied fidelity, bravery and integrity. So much so that he inspired a generation of future FBI employees, many of whom pursued a career in the bureau because they watched The F.B.I. series as they grew up,” FBI director Robert Mueller said when he presented an honorary Special Agent badge to Zimbalist in 2009. “In those days, he may well have been the bureau’s best and most effective recruiter!” Read the rest of this entry »
Our government is always hiding something
For USA Today, Betty Medsger writes: The Obama administration has used the Freedom of Information Act to increase rather than decrease government secrecy. In 2013, it increased use of exemptions to bar release of requested files by 22% over the previous year, according an analysis by the Associated Press. The government fully denied or redacted large portions of files in 36% of the 704,394 requests submitted
There also was a substantial increase in citing national security concerns as reason for withholding information. The administration did so 8,496 times in 2013 – more than double the rate in President Obama’s first year in office. The National Security Agency censored records or denied FOIA requests 98% of the time in 2013.
This growing disregard for openness is especially disappointing from a president who, on his first full day in office, announced he would have the most transparent administration in history. It is evident not only in the administration’s handling of FOIA requests, but also in the recent CIA dispute with the Senate Intelligence Oversight Committee over the committee’s report on the government’s use of torture in the aftermath of 9/11 and in the scope and nature of mass surveillance by the NSA, known because of files made public by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The need to reverse this trend is evident in the critical role the FOIA has played in revealing secrets that, once public, led to major reforms. The revelation of COINTELPRO, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s secret illegal operations, is an example of the fundamental importance of the FOIA.
Ernest Hemingway’s friend A.E. Hotchner has a moving essay in The New York Times about the closing months of the novelist’s life in 1960 and 1961. At that point Hemingway was anxious, paranoid, convinced the Federal Bureau of Investigation was following him and that his home and car were bugged. He tried several times to kill himself and was put in a mental ward, where he received 11 electroshock “treatments.” Even in the hospital, he insisted that the FBI was spying on him. Finally, 50 years ago yesterday, he ended his life.
Decades later, in a twist you may have seen coming,