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Reporters Committee releases two-part analysis of indictment of Julian Assange

In an extensive analysis, Gabe Rottman of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, addresses the U.S. government’s indictment of WikiLeaks Julian Assange for conspiring to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a law criminalizing hacking. In Part I, Rottman writes that the government is hinging the case on password cracking to avoid …

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Devin Nunes files lawsuit to intimidate local press

California Republican Representative Devin Nunes is suing the McClatchy newspaper chain for an article in the Fresno Bee, he claims as ‘character assassination” for its description of  a lawsuit by a server on a 2015 San Francisco Bay fund-raising cruise paid for a winery partly owned by Nunes. The server said the cruise included drugs …

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Defense Department cited for withholding budget information from the press

A retired admiral complains that the Department of Defense has not held a press briefing in over 300 days, leaving the public in the dark about how they are spending some $700 billion in taxpayer money. Retired Admiral James Stavridis, April 16, 2019, Time Magazine, argues that the Pentagon needs the press to convey their …

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California open government roundup: ACLU sues Orange County for curbing public access

The American Civil Liberties Union is backing a homelessness task force in filing a lawsuit that claims the Orange County Board of Supervisors is illegally restricting speech at meetings and access to public documents. The ACLU accuses the board of being the least transparent government agency in California and that their conduct during public comment …

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Censorship: Lawsuit against Trump administration targets prepublication review system

Five former military and intelligence officials are suing the Trump administration claiming the government’s prepublication review system restricts their First Amendment rights. The lawsuit says those reviewing publications have too much power that they use to eliminate criticism of the  government while they speedily approve favorable memoirs by retired senior officials. (The New York Times, …

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Fight for disclosure of Mueller report and grand jury information intensifies

The Reporters Committee is asking the federal court in Washington, D.C. to release the grand jury information from the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Legal Director Katie Townsend said, “The calls for transparency are broad and bipartisan. The president himself has said the report should …

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Lawsuit over Trump Twitter access hits federal appeals court

Federal appeals court judges in New York City heard arguments in a key First Amendment case last week on whether President Donald Trump can ban people from his personal Twitter account he uses to conduct presidential business. The plaintiffs say in their complaint that the president has established a public forum that would make “viewpoint-based …

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Full disclosure of Mueller report could be ensnarled by Rule 6(e)

Even if Attorney General William Barr releases the report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, expect heavy redactions, Most prominent would be content from grand jury proceedings, restricted by law. Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure obstacle, makes it a criminal act to reveal grand …

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New local owner plans ambitious Los Angeles Times turnaround

Prominent Los Angeles physician and entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong is gradually revealing his plan to resurrect the Los Angeles Times that suffered losses of $50 million over the last year. But rather than cut the newsroom, the new owner added almost 100 new reporters this last year. The new hires are essential in maximizing core reporting …

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Government agencies need more resources to deal with FOIA requests

A recent study showed that government workers charged with processing Freedom of Information Act requests are inundated by the numbers of requests. The study in the American Review of Public Administration analyzed data from 102 agencies from 2008 and 2016. ICE reported that each analyst dealt with 35 to 50 FOIA requests a week. The …

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