HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KTLA) — A man killed Tuesday in a fiery car crash in Hollywood was journalist Michael Hastings, his employer said.
The wreck happened near the intersection of Highland and Melrose avenues around 4:15 a.m., according to LAPD Officer Lillian Carranza.
The car, presumably driven by Hastings, slammed into a tree and caught fire.
“I was just coming northbound on Highland and I seen a car, like, going really fast and all of a sudden I seen it jackknife,” said Luis Cortez, who witnessed the wreck.
“I just seen parts fly everywhere and I slammed on my brakes and stopped and tried to call 911,” Cortez added.
The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
Coroner’s officials said the body was too badly burned to make an immediate identification.
But, Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed both reported Tuesday afternoon the victim was Hastings.
BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith issued a statement, saying his team was “shocked and devastated by the news.”
“Michael was a great, fearless journalist with an incredible instinct for the story and a gift for finding ways to make his readers care about anything he covered, from wars to politicians,” Smith said. “He wrote stories that would otherwise have gone unwritten, and without him there are great stories that will go untold.”
Hastings was perhaps best known for a Rolling Stone article that led to the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has taken the unusual step of actively blocking a former committee aide from talking to TPM about congressional oversight of the intelligence community. At issue isn’t classified sources and methods of intelligence gathering but general information about how the committee functions — and how it should function. The committee’s refusal to allow former general counsel Vicki Divoll to disclose unclassified information to a reporter was the first and only time it has sought to block her from making public comments, based on her experience as one of its most senior aides, since she left Capitol Hill in 2003.
The committee’s decision comes amid fallout from leaks of classified National Security Agency documents by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden. In light of the Snowden revelations about the country’s secret surveillance programs, TPM was reporting a story based on interviews with members of Congress and current and former aides about the successes and pitfalls of intelligence oversight on Capitol Hill. The goal was to answer some basic questions for readers: How does a classified process differ from public oversight? What challenges do the combination of government secrecy, classified briefings, and strict committee protocols present to legislators trying to control the nation’s sprawling intelligence apparatus?
Divoll served as a senior aide on the committee from 2000-2003, including two years as its general counsel. Before that, from 1995-2000 she was assistant general counsel for the Central Intelligence Agency, where she also served as deputy legal adviser to the agency’s Counterterrorism Center. After leaving the Senate, Divoll was a fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics and an adjunct professor at the Naval Academy. She has been regularly cited by reporters in news stories, penned op-eds on counterterrorism and civil liberties, and appeared on television.
The ground rules for the interview were that it would be conducted off the record, but only temporarily, to give Divoll an opportunity to review the accuracy of the quotes she provided, and that those would be placed back on the record.
While Divoll remains legally barred from disclosing classified information, she is also still subject to a non-disclosure agreement with the Senate Intelligence Committee that bars her from discussing committee-sensitive business. Out of an abundance of caution, Divoll also conferred with the committee on Friday about her interview with TPM. She anticipated that the committee would approve the interview, noting that in her post-government career, both the committee and the CIA had never done more than request minor tweaks when she brought them pieces of her writing for pre-publication review.
This, she believed, would be a similar process.
But for the first time in her career, the committee took the extraordinary step, on a bipartisan basis, of declaring the interview’s entire contents a violation of her non-disclosure agreement and effectively forbade her from putting any of it on the record.
“The committee has reviewed your submission … and objected to any publication of the information contained therein,” she was told.
Perhaps the real reason why the did this is to show that the Senate is complicit in this whole mess, perhaps? It certianly wouldn’t be surprising, but still, you have to ask yourself-by actively doing the blocking, one has to ask-‘What are you hiding?”, remembering the old saw: ‘It isn’t the crime, but the cover-up’.
But even the press in aggregate is not a friend to whistle-blowers, as its recent treatment of Snowden attests, what with the deep dives into his teen years (including photos), his education and employment history, his reputation as a loner and a “brainiac,” his pants-down hijinks, his online scribblings, his dancer girlfriend, his predilection for (in his own words) “post-coital Krispy Kremes.” Squeezing every possible query at every known commercial database, journalists worldwide have aped the National Security Agency’s snooping skills to track down Snowden’s friends, associates, neighbors, schoolmates, relatives and colleagues to instapaint his portrait.
No matter how generously you read the team portrait, Snowden comes off as a bit of a cocky know-it-all. And how could he not? He did a bodacious, criminal thing; threatens to commit additional acts of criminal bodaciousness; and maintains the cool-customer persona in his video and print interviews. And he comes off as a little squirrelly and ego-swollen.
But what mortal wouldn’t come off a little squirrelly and ego-swollen after nonstop scrutiny by the press, even if they hadn’t leaked NSA secrets? I guarantee you that if the press ever gets around to vacuuming your every posting, scrapbooking your most dishy teen pix, and interviewing all the people in your past, it will depict a creep of some variety. Not because you’re a creep but because the language and methodology of journalism are ill-equipped to capture normalcy—even when its subjects project normalcy. Journalism is about finding flaws and magnifying them, and surely someone who would spill massive loads of state secrets must contain a few broken parts, right?
Whether Snowden is more psychologically integrated than your average 29-year-old makes for stimulating conversation and fun clicks, but it’s not really germane to the secrecy “debate” that even President Barack Obama claimed to “welcome” last week. Once we (the press and readers) exhaust ourselves on the Snowden, Up Close and Personal, angle, the debate will likely be interrupted, just as the debate about the Pentagon Papers was interrupted by the White House back in 1971, when Daniel Ellsberg dumped them to the press.
About two weeks after the New York Times began publishing the papers in June 1971, President Richard Nixon told National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger and Attorney General John Mitchell that he didn’t want Ellsberg to get a fair trial for leaking. “Let’s get the son-of-a-bitch in jail,” Nixon said. “Don’t worry about his trial. Just get everything out. Try him in the press. Try him in the press. Everything, John, that there is on the investigation, get it out. Leak it out. We want to destroy him in the press. Is that clear?”
Comparing Obama to Nixon may be Shafer’s ‘Jumping the Shark’ moment, but we’ll have to see how this plays out, won’t we? Remember when Nixon imposed Wage and Price controls? By today’s GOP/wingnut standards, that’s souchialushum!
A former Hollywood stunt double has sued News Corp and its subsidiary News International, accusing the companies of ordering the hacking of her phone.
The suit, the first such claim from the US, was filed by Eunice Huthart, a British former double for Hollywood star Angelina Jolie.
In the suit, the Liverpool resident alleges messages from family, friends and Ms Jolie were intercepted and in some cases deleted.
News Corp declined to comment.
In a civil complaint filed on 13 June, Ms Huthart seeks damages for violations of federal and California laws and “intrusion into private affairs”.
According to IMDB, Ms Huthart worked as Ms Jolie’s stunt double on the films Wanted, Mr and Mrs Smith, and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
In the court filing, she describes herself as a close friend of Ms Jolie, and says the pair “often travelled and socialized together”.
Ms Huthart said that in 2004-05, some friends and relatives complained she had not returned their phone calls, and she in turn complained to her mobile phone provider that voice messages were being lost in their system.
She said Ms Jolie left messages concerning travel arrangements and other plans, which Ms Huthart never received.
Angelina Jolie (3 June 2013) in London Ms Huthart claims News Corp hacked into her phone seeking information about Angelina Jolie
She added that her daughter left messages complaining about bullying in school in Liverpool, which she also never received - rendering her unable to console her daughter. Ms Huthart said her husband had also criticised her for not responding to his messages.
Note that this lawsuit is filed in the US, the corporate home of News Corporation.
Which reminds me-wasn’t there some form of FCPA investigation going on against News Corp over its subsidiary News International that led to the shutdown of News Of the World a few years back, and the UK wound up indicting a slew of current and ex-News International employes at the time?
From The Atlantic 2013-06-18 Conor Friedersdorf.
USA Today has published an extraordinary interview with three former NSA employees who praise Edward Snowden’s leaks, corroborate some of his claims, and warn about unlawful government acts.
Thomas Drake, William Binney, and J. Kirk Wiebe each protested the NSA in their own rights. “For years, the three whistle-blowers had told anyone who would listen that the NSA collects huge swaths of communications data from U.S. citizens,” the newspaper reports. “They had spent decades in the top ranks of the agency, designing and managing the very data collection systems they say have been turned against Americans. When they became convinced that fundamental constitutional rights were being violated, they complained first to their superiors, then to federal investigators, congressional oversight committees and, finally, to the news media.”
NASA also issued a request for information (RFI) for ideas on locating, redirecting, and exploring asteroids
NASA is looking for brilliant minds to figure out how to locate dangerous asteroids and eliminate any potential harm they may cause.
NASA announced the Asteroid Grand Challenge today, which is asking anyone — from government agencies to companies to citizen scientists — to come up with a way to locate ominous asteroids headed our way and protect the planet from destruction.
“NASA already is working to find asteroids that might be a threat to our planet, and while we have found 95 percent of the large asteroids near the Earth’s orbit, we need to find all those that might be a threat to Earth,” said Lori Garver, NASA Deputy Administrator. “This Grand Challenge is focused on detecting and characterizing asteroids and learning how to deal with potential threats. We will also harness public engagement, open innovation and citizen science to help solve this global problem.”
NASA also issued a request for information (RFI) for ideas on locating, redirecting, and exploring asteroids.
The White House said it is on board with the Grand Challenge.
Google has petitioned a secret U.S. national security court to relax restrictions on the information the tech giant can disclose about government data requests, claiming such restrictions violate the company’s right to free speech under the First Amendment. Google’s motion, filed Tuesday with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, is the tech giant’s latest attempt to address recent media reports that suggested it gives the National Security Agency unfettered or “direct” access to user data.
Google and other large Internet companies, including Apple, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft, have come under intense scrutiny following reports that the NSA uses a classified U.S. intelligence system called Prism to examine data — including e-mails, videos and online chats — that it collects via requests made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Following those reports, the tech giants have vigorously pushed back against the notion that they allow the government unfettered or “direct” access to their servers.
Beyond Camp, other lawmakers scheduled to attend the rally include GOP Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Lee (Utah) and Rand Paul (Ky.) along with Reps. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Tim Huelskamp (Kan.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio).
If for no other reason than to watch heads explode.
Call it Klan Kamp, a summertime retreat in the Ozark Mountains where, for $500 per camper, young and old can learn the fundamentals of the “HOLY mission of White Christian Revival” with the goal of becoming leaders in the “New Crusade for race, faith and homeland.”
On Aug. 23, the first class of the Soldiers of the Cross Training Institute (SOTC) is scheduled to begin on the Arkansas property of the Knights Party, the offspring of David Duke’s Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
The seven-day institute is the brainchild of the Knights Party leader and pastor, Thomas Robb, who has brought together a roster of fellow white supremacists from down the road and across the sea to teach such subjects as “America’s Changing Political climate,” “Leadership - Activist leaders and leaders in the shadows,” “What is propaganda and how to use it effectively,” and “Establishing white conscienceness [sic] in modern society.”
There is no mention on the institute’s website of spelling or typing lessons being offered during the weeklong kickoff of the crusade to establish “white consciousness.”
In addition to Robb, the six-person faculty will include Paul Fromm, one of Canada’s best-known white supremacists and anti-immigration ideologues; Tomislav Sunic, a Croatian author and frequent guest speaker at American extremist events; and Billy Roper, the uncensored voice of violent neo-Nazism, born into organized hate as the son and grandson of Klansmen.
But before the first marshmallow can be roasted, the institute needs money and is seeking contributions to build a dorm for the students and a place “to house our vast library.” According to the SOTC website, the dorm will cost $40,000. “We are at the beginning of a new year and many of you are getting your refund checks in the mail,” the Klan Kamp solicitation letter states. “I know it could be tough for some of you, but we need to stop for a moment and put some value on our people and consider whether safeguarding the existence of our people, and providing a future for our children is worthy of what ever sacrifice we make now.”
The institute is open to campers 16 and up, although students under 18 will need a signed, notarized statement from a parent or guardian granting permission to attend. There will be scholarships available if enough people sign over their tax refunds.
See, the government is good for something.
The camp’s primary focus is to train future leaders who will return to their communities “with the tools to become actively involved” in the “struggle for our racial redemption.”