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PNS Daily News - December 13, 2019 


Brexit wins at the polls in the U.K.; major changes come to New England immigration courts today; and more than a million acres in California have been cleared for oil and gas drilling.

2020Talks - December 13, 2013  


The House passes legislation to reign in drug prices, Sen. Bernie Sanders is on the upswing, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang plays Iowa congressional candidate J.D. Scholten - who's running against long-time incumbent Steve King - in a game of basketball.

Psst….Government Secrets on the Rise

September 4, 2007

The number of Virginia homes and businesses being searched secretly by the government is -- well, secret -- but it is on the rise. A new report tracks an increase in wiretaps, phone usage and library record requests, all in the name of national security, and says the variety of information and frequency of "secret" searches is alarming.

Report coauthor Patrice McDermott, with the watchdog group www.openthegovernment.org ,
explains domestic spying through the use of so-called "National Security Letters" has no judicial oversight, leaving too much room for the possibility of misuse of power and corruption.

"The government is not going to tell individuals they are under surveillance. Victims have no ability to remedy the situation, because they don't have access to or knowledge of this information. An additional concern is the fact that they're not reporting well to Congress."

Virginia is also considering passing its own, new government secrecy laws; McDermott agrees secrecy is required in certain cases, such as natural disasters and protecting public health and safety.

"Some of them are legitimate things, like keeping secret where the supply of emergency drugs to fight radiation sickness might be."

The report says some of the information gathered is kept indefinitely, although United States' policy before National Security Letters were adopted was to regularly purge outdated surveillance data. McDermott says there is a push in Congress for rules to oversee the ways in which this information can be used.

To read the full report, visit www.openthegovernment.org

Deborah Smith/John Robinson, Public News Service - VA