Website Criticizing Lafayette Police Chief Shut Down, PRISM Scandal Rocks Obama Administration – Wingin’ It Wednesday
On this week's edition of "Wingin' It Wednesday", panelist Mike Stagg, Carol Ross, and Warren Caudle joined "Mornings with Ken and Bernie" to discuss the recent Lafayette police scandal subsequent shutdown of a website critical to Lafayette's police chief, as well as the PRISM surveillance program.
Here's what the panel had to say:
1. The 5th Circuit of Appeals will hear a Lafayette case next month on whether or not the US District Court in Lafayette went too far when they shut down a website critical of the Lafayette's police chief, department and other officials. Do you think the court had the right to shut down the website?
Mike Stagg started us off:
I definitely think the court went too far shutting that website down. If you understand at the media environment we're in now, where resources are scarce and staffs have been reduced, citizen journalist have become important. While we have plenty of protections for journalists, citizen's ability to put information out there is every bit as vital in today's media climate as the ability for journalists to produce their stuff.
The challenge is what is accurate and what is true? In time we have to figure this stuff out, but the district court went too far to shut this down.
Carol Ross added:
Traditionally, when a judge would issue a gag order it would cover all traditional media people involved with the case. This website could come under a gag order, it's just a new technology under which a gag order could be placed. I don't know what was on this website, I don't even care about this case to be honest with you. It's a question of balancing first amendment rights with a fair trial.
Warren Caudle replied:
I think this thing has the makings to be one of the landmark decisions that's going to come down. We're seeing where two forces collide. Freedom of speech and freedom of press. The one thing I'm not to sure about, the litigant of the case, are they the ones that own the site and are putting out their side? If the litigants are actually doing that, there's a fine line of how far they can go.
I think this has the real makings to be a landmark case.
- Warren Caudle, Carol Ross, Mike Stagg; KPEL 965
2. Director of National Intelligence Agency says James Clapper says the government surveillance tool PRISM is narrowly focussed and does not target Americans. Your thoughts?
General Clapper said that, then he was caught in a bold faced lie. I think this is one of the biggest outrages that has come along in my lifetime. The whole nation should be outraged about it. This thing has been building over the years. We keep going one step further, one step further, then came a giant leap with the Patriot Act. The very idea that they're out there sucking up all this information. The friends that I've got that actually worked in these outfits that are retired now all say unanimously that you cannot believe what has happened.
Another function of technology, they have the capability to do it so they're going to do it. Rand Paul has introduced twice legislation to reign in these kinds of things. Just add this to the corrosion of trust brought on by recent government scandals.
I did a little research on this guy Snowden, this guy is a high school drop out. He's ended up with security clearances above top secret. He did the CIA thing, then he walked out of the CIA after five years, then he worked for a private defense contractor, then he went back to the CIA. Who is he working for?
Tim Weiner wrote a book about intelligence, he said trying to get intelligence out of raw intelligence is like trying to get a drink of water out of a fire hose.
This project was called Prism now actually goes back to post 9/11 started when the Bush Administration ordered AT&T to move traffic onto a second line. It was a very big deal with the renewal of the Patriot Act to grant immunity to the phone companies for doing this work that was clearly illegal.
What's happened since then is that this is unfortunately illegal. Every bit of communication flown across the United States is intercepted and analyzed. This is the fact, this is where we are. This is the deal we made after 2011, that we would somehow be more safe. I agree with Ben Franklin, you give up a little freedom for a little security and you end up with neither.
Now it’s your turn to tell us what you think about today’s Wingin’ It Wednesday topics. Who got it right, who got it wrong, and who was way off? Let us know in the comment section.