Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - March 27, 2020 


The U.S. now has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other country. Despite the pandemic, Election 2020 continues and states are making changes.

2020Talks - March 27, 2020 


3.3 million people reported being jobless last week, according to new Labor Department numbers. And Puerto Rico was supposed to hold primaries this weekend, though they pushed it back to late April, because of COVID-19.

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kept indefinitely, although United States' policy before National Security Letters were adopted was to regularly purge outdated surveillance data.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