Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requests up in 2012, but National Security Letters down
An annual government report on national security investigation legal probes involving foreign intelligence shows an uptick in requests to do surveillance or searches of people suspected of being involved in terrorism against the U.S.
Law enforcement officials made 1,856 so-called “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Requests”to a special panel of judges in 2012 and all of them were approved, an annual report from the Department of Justice this week showed. In 40 cases, the judicial review panel asked for modifications; in one case, the government withdrew its request.
That total was 6% higher than 2011, when 1,745 requests were made.
Nearly all the requests in 2012 and 2011 — 96% — were for authority to conduct surveillance. The remainder were for physical searches.
National Security Letters issues by the the FBI were down about 8%, dropping to 15,229. Those requests involved 6,223 individuals — 14% fewer than a year earlier.
The controversial National Security Letters are demands from the FBI for certain information about someone — and they can come along with a order to not even disclose that a request was made.
SOURCE: OnTheBeat graphics using EPIC.org compilation from Federation of American Scientists document collection.
This week on National Security Zone’s Local Lookout
- Blocked Christian website causes confusion on bases
- Sprawl drives military to join conservation movement
- Protesters march against drones outside operating base in upstate NY
- Veteran student groups proliferate as soldiers come home and enroll
VA to senior officials: no bonuses for you because of disability backlog
Bonuses for some Department of Veteran’s affair managers are not being paid because of the enormous backlog of disability claims that has swamped the system, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Department of Veteran’s Affairs is witholding management bonuses
“VA spokesman Josh Taylor said Monday that the savings would be used to trim the backlog. He didn’t provide specifics, nor could he say how many people would be affected or how much the savings would be. The bonus withholdings apply only to the Veterans Benefits Administration, which is part of the VA.
“In all, records show that the VA paid its senior executives a total of $2.8 million in bonuses in fiscal year 2011. Three staff members at the VBA received the top payment of $23,091 each.”
Above: The records backlog at one point at the Veterans Benefits Administration inspection of the VA regional office in Winston-Salem, NC. (The piles have since been cleaned up). There were so many files it threatened the structural integrity of the building.
Source: Los Angeles Times
One in five females in military have faced unwanted sexual contact, new survey reveals
Some 22% of women in the U.S. military said they have been victims of unwanted sexual contact by someone in the service, and the issues seems to be most significant in the Marine Corps, where 30% — nearly 1 in 3 — women reported unwanted advances. Among men, by comparison, 3.3% said they were victims.
The data is from a final version of a major global, anonymous survey of military personnel done every three years by the Department of Defense, TRICARE and others. About 40,000 participated in the survey, which was done in 2011 but was not made public until a few days ago.
The survey is exhaustive and covers many issues, including substance abuse, stress and mental health, including post-traumatic stress, depression, gender issues, suicide and traumatic brain injury.
A terrific team of Medill journalism students spent a quarter investigating the looming proliferation of drones in the United States and produced a series of eye-opening stories about the potential ramifications. The team’s package of stories and multimedia content launched today. Over here.
Data updates: Army suicides up so far this year; veteran jobless rate down slightly since Feb.
Monthly updates on two data streams we monitor for you and provide downloadable data.
MILITARY SUICIDES: Potential suicides among inactive U.S. Army reservists troops are up 25% through March compared to the same period a year ago, data from the Army shows. The number of potential suicides among active duty soliders is down 9%.
Reserve inactive suicides drove the increase, with 20 more potential suicides in the first quarter vs. 2012. The number of potential active duty suicides declined by four.
Army suicides were up significantly last year compared to a year earlier — 325 either confirmed or under investigation among active duty and inactive reservists, compared to 283 confirmed the year before. Across all military branches, active duty suicides were up 16% over 2011, with the Army comprising the largest share, data released earlier this year show.
View more data, including downloadable spreadsheets.
UNEMPLOYMENT: Unemployment among 9/11-era veterans dropped slightly in March compared to the month before — 9.2% vs. 9.4%, but edged up slightly for women to 11.8% compared to 11.6%, new federal data shows.
The rate for 9/11-era women was up from a year ago — 8% v. 7.4% — while the overall rate for men and women combined was down to 7.1% from 7.5%.
The rate for all veterans in March was up slightly to 7.1% from a month earlier, but showed improvement over the 7.5% rate in March 2012. A total of 783,000 veterans were unemployed in March. Of those, 207,000 — or 26% — were in the service since 9/11. The civilian unemployment rate in March was 7.4%.
Responsible journalism sometimes means NOT going with the story
National Security Zone’s Josh Meyer examines the journalistic miscues, mistakes and misjudgements surrounding the bombings in Boston this week. http://nat-sec.me/11mdBSC
A new feature: Local Lookout
The Medill National Security Journalism Initiative has launched a new regular feature that wraps up of some of the most interesting and useful stories done about national security issues by local reporters across the country. It will be updated weekly.
The column is put together by Natalie Jones, a staffer in our Washington newsroom. Natalie is also a freelance journalist with a masters in journalism from UC Berkeley. She’s been she working on freelance radio, writing and infographic projects, and is assisting with research for a book about Apple.