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What Little We Know About the NSA Leaker

June 10, 2013 The man behind a set of astounding leaks about top-secret government data-gathering efforts has unmasked himself. The Guardian and The Washington Post, both of which published details about a highly classified NSA data-mining program late last week, unveiled the man behind those revelations as Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former government ...

NSA Forced Verizon To Turn Over Data on Millions of Customers

June 6, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The National Security Agency is collecting the telephone data of millions of Verizon customers in the United States, according to a Wednesday Guardian report, and the information collected could be incredibly revealing even if it doesn't seem so at first. That's because big data sets -- even supposedly anonymized ones ...

Susan Rice Taking Over as National Security Advisor Despite Benghazi Mess

June 5, 2013 President Obama will elevate U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to national security advisor -- a post currently held by Tom Donilon, who will resign -- despite Republican fury over her mischaracterization of the fatal attacks on American diplomats in Benghazi. Obama plans to make the announcement this afternoon, according to various ...

The Banality of Al-Qaida's Scathing Letter to One of Its Operatives

May 29, 2013 Al Qaida, it turns out, isn't immune from bureaucratic dysfunction. In a lengthy report posted late Tuesday night, the Associated Press's Rukmini Callimachi described in great detail a letter from al-Qaida leadership excoriating one its insubordinate employees. The harsh rebuke reads like a warning from human resources to a senior ...

Analysis: Could Fracking Close the Budget Deficit?

May 29, 2013 You can measure the success of a disruptive new market by how freaked out existing market participants are. And oil producers around the globe are plenty freaked by the U.S. oil boom. The surprising shift in fortunes has major implications. The boom could help to boost the economic recovery and ...

Analysis: The Good Side of the IRS Scandal

May 22, 2013 If there’s just one lesson to learn from the IRS scandal, it’s that big government failed. If there’s another, it’s that big government worked. News of the scandal broke when an IRS official responded to a planted question, explaining that the tax agency unduly interrogated conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. ...

Why the Immigration Plan Really Could Give Us Border Security

April 17, 2013 The bipartisan immigration reform proposed by the "Gang of Eight" promises to bring the 11 million illegal immigrants out of the shadows. But first, there’s the little issue of securing the border. The plan requires that a set of border-security goals be met before any undocumented immigrant gets legal status. ...

The Income Tax Form Turns 100

April 15, 2013 There is probably no single number more closely associated with tax day than 1040, the number assigned to the federal income tax form. This year, that form turns 100. On Feb. 3, 1913, Wyoming ratified the 16th amendment to the Constitution, authorizing Congress to tax income. That move gave the ...

Why This Is the Age of Small Government (Sort Of)

April 11, 2013 With the president's budget released on Wednesday, all the plans, Democratic and Republican, are in. And under each, nondefense spending—funding for many of the government's most-visible operations—will reach a 50-year low. Here’s an explanation we wrote when the Senate Democrats and House Republicans released their budgets in March: Every year, ...

Is Chained CPI the Wrong Solution to the Right Problem?

April 3, 2013 When President Obama releases his budget next week, it may include what some tout as an elegant solution to the nation's fiscal problems, a way of measuring price changes known as “chained CPI.” The thinking goes like this: The debt needs to be reined in. Changes to benefit payments don’t ...