Podcast: The US Surveillance State Now That USA Freedom Act is Law

Marcy Wheeler

The USA Freedom Act was signed into law this past week. It was viewed as both a victory for those concerned with privacy and restricting the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance and also as a law that did not go far enough in restricting spy agencies. In fact, the USA Freedom Act further codified the post-9/11 legal framework for surveillance and resurrected Patriot Act provisions, which expired for a couple days.

The law did do away with the NSA’s control of all Americans’ domestic call records. On the other hand, it left other programs, policies and practices, which NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed to the public, entirely untouched. For example, “backdoor searches” under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act can continue, which means the NSA can collect emails, browsing and chat history of US citizens without a warrant.

On “Unauthorized Disclosure” this week, journalist Marcy Wheeler joins the show to discuss the current state of play now that this law considered to be reform has passed.

Wheeler has written more about the USA Freedom Act than any other journalist. Her work can be found at Emptywheel as well as ExposeFacts.org, where she regularly contributes to the site’s “Right to Know” column.

During the discussion portion of the show, hosts Kevin Gosztola and Rania Khalek highlight how the US government declassified some of the torture memories of a former CIA detainee, Majid Khan. Gosztola talks about journalist Jason Leopold and how he was told to never file another FOIA request with a Pentagon in-house think tank. Khalek discusses a Texas law allowing people to carry firearms on college campuses and how President Barack Obama is trying to get an anti-slavery provision removed from the Trans-Pacific Partnership for Malaysia.

The podcast is available on iTunes for download. For a link (and also to download the episode), go here. Click on “go here” and a page will load with the audio file of the podcast. The file will automatically start playing so you can listen to the episode.

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