Secrecy News StoriesExcerpts of Key Secrecy News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of secrecy news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
The Defense Department has launched 20 or more projects to build modern business-management systems since the late 1990s. At least five were subsequently killed as complete failures after billions of dollars were spent on them. With each failure, a pattern emerges: An off-the-shelf product with a proven track record in the private sector is chosen and then modified to the point where it doesn't work properly. The Pentagon is unable to account for itself, and thus for roughly half of all congressionally approved annual federal spending. Interviews with scores of current and former defense officials, contractors and Pentagon watchers, as well as a review of dozens of reports by oversight agencies, show that the Pentagon is continually thwarted by a lack of accountability for failures ... and an incentive to spend. All other federal agencies are audited annually ... and with rare exceptions, they pass every year. The Pentagon alone has never been audited, leaving roughly $8.5 trillion in taxpayer dollars unaccounted for since 1996. The Pentagon has for years kept lousy books with impunity. The 2009 law requiring the Defense Department to be audit-ready by 2017 provides for no penalties if it misses the deadline. From 1995 through 2002, Senator Charles Grassley pushed through an amendment to the annual defense appropriations bill requiring the Pentagon to account for its expenditures by following one seemingly simple procedure: match each payment to the expense it covered. The order was ignored, and Grassley gave up. There is no doubt that bad bookkeeping conceals movements of money that in some instances are illegal.
Note: See also this article on the Reuters website. This article sadly fails to state the obvious: Many military officers illegally rake in tons of money with false contracts which benefit those officers and contracting companies. They obviously don't want their accounts to be properly audited. For a revealing essay by a top U.S. general exposing major war manipulations, click here. For more on military corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The FBI thoroughly searched its archives and found no evidence that more videos of the Oklahoma City bombing exist, agency employees told a judge [on July 28] in a trial that has rekindled questions about whether any others were involved in the 1995 attack. Additional searches for videos that Salt Lake City lawyer Jesse Trentadue believes are being withheld would be burdensome and fruitless, FBI attorney Kathryn Wyer argued during the first day of a bench trial. Trentadue says the agency is refusing to release videos that show a second person was with Timothy McVeigh when he parked a truck outside the Oklahoma City federal building and detonated a bomb that killed 168 people. The government says McVeigh was alone. [But] the 30 video recordings the FBI has released don't show the explosion or McVeigh's arrival in a rental truck. Unsatisfied by the FBI's previous explanations and citing the public importance of the tapes, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups has ordered the agency to explain why it can't find videos that are mentioned in evidence logs. Trentadue believes the presence of a second suspect explains why his brother, Kenneth Trentadue, was flown to Oklahoma several months after the bombing, where he died in a federal holding cell. Kenneth Trentadue bore a striking resemblance to a police sketch based on witness descriptions of the enigmatic suspect "John Doe No. 2," who was never identified..
Note: There is strong evidence of a major cover-up in the Oklahoma City bombing. See this Wall Street Journal article, this Associated Press article, this ABC News article, and this Deseret News article for examples.
A sweeping [gag] order issued in Australia to block reporting of any bribery allegations involving several international political leaders in the region has been exposed by WikiLeaks. The prohibition emerged from a criminal case in the Australian courts and applies throughout the country. It was issued by the criminal division of the supreme court of Victoria in Melbourne. The Australia-wide [gag] order is a superinjunction, which means it also contains a clause insisting that the terms of the order itself should remain secret. [It] states: "Subject to further order, there [shall] be no disclosure, by publication or otherwise, of any information derived from or prepared for the purposes of these proceedings including the terms of these orders." In a statement published with the leak, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, said the gagging order relates to a case that "concerns the subsidiaries of the Australian central bank". He said it was the first blanket suppression order of this nature in Australia since 1995. "With this order, the worst in living memory, the Australian government is not just gagging the Australian press, it is blindfolding the Australian public," said Assange, who is himself Australian. "This is not simply a question of the Australian government failing to give this international corruption case the public scrutiny it is due. Foreign minister Julie Bishop must explain why she is threatening every Australian with imprisonment in an attempt to cover up an embarrassing corruption scandal involving the Australian government".
Note: Very few media were even willing to report on the reasons for this gag order, which were clearly to cover up corruption at the highest levels. See the CNN article for how no mention is even made of what was revealed. It seems that the higher up the corruption goes, the more vehemently courts rule to keep the investigations secret. Could there be a double standard here? For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The CIA is acknowledging for the first time the extent of its deep involvement in Chile, where it dealt with coup-plotters, false propagandists and assassins. The agency [released] a declassified report required by the U.S. Congress. Despite the disclosures, the CIA report admits to no abuses or cover-up by CIA agents. But it chronicles clandestine contacts authorized by then-U.S. President Richard Nixon and other top U.S. officials which it said would violate standards now upheld by the agency. Among the disclosures: The CIA had prior knowledge of the plot that overthrew Allende three years later. The CIA supported a kidnapping attempt of Chile's army chief in October 1970, as part of a plot to prevent the congressional confirmation of Allende as president. The kidnapping attempt failed, and Gen. Rene Schneider was shot and killed. The CIA later paid $35,000 to the kidnappers in what it termed "humanitarian" assistance. The CIA made a one-time payment to secret police head Gen. Manuel Contreras Sepulveda, the head of the military regime's feared secret police. He was sentenced in 1993 for killing Chilean socialist leader Orlando Letelier in Washington in 1976. Contreras has said the CIA was behind the assassination. The report also describes efforts to influence news media in Chile against Allende and to continue anti-leftist propaganda efforts by successor Pinochet, "including support for news media committed to creating a positive image for the military Junta" now accused of an array of abuses during his 17-year rule, including more than 3,000 killings.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency operations news articles from reliable major media sources.
Just how badly does the American Red Cross want to keep secret how it raised and spent over $300 million after Hurricane Sandy? The charity has hired [law firm Gibson Dunn] to fight a public request [ProPublica] filed with New York state, arguing that information about its Sandy activities is a “trade secret.” The Red Cross’ “trade secret” argument has persuaded the state to redact some material, though it’s not clear yet how much since the documents haven’t yet been released. The Red Cross releases few details about how it spends money after big disasters. That makes it difficult to figure out whether donor dollars are well spent. An attorney from [Gibson Dunn] appealed to the attorney general to block disclosure of some of the Sandy information, citing the state Freedom of Information Law’s trade secret exemption. Doug White, a nonprofit expert who directs the fundraising management program at Columbia University, said that it’s possible for nonprofits to have trade interests — the logo of a university, for example — but it’s not clear what a “trade secret” would be in the case of the Red Cross. He called the lawyer’s letter an apparent “delaying tactic.” Ben Smilowitz of the Disaster Accountability Project, a watchdog group, said, “Invoking a ‘trade secret’ exemption is not something you would expect from an organization that purports to be ‘transparent and accountable.’”
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
As part of the American Civil Liberties Union’s recent report on police militarization, the Massachusetts chapter of the organization sent open records requests to SWAT teams across that state. A number of SWAT teams in [Massachusetts] are operated by what are called law enforcement councils, or LECs. LECs are funded by several police agencies in a given geographic area and overseen by an executive board, which is usually made up of police chiefs from member police departments. Some of these LECs have also apparently incorporated as 501(c)(3) organizations. And it’s here that we run into problems. According to the ACLU, the LECs are claiming that the 501(c)(3) status means that they’re private corporations, not government agencies. And therefore, they say they’re immune from open records requests. Let’s be clear. These agencies oversee police activities. They employ cops who carry guns, wear badges, collect paychecks provided by taxpayers and have the power to detain, arrest, injure and kill. They operate SWAT teams, which conduct raids on private residences. And yet they say that because they’ve incorporated, they’re immune to Massachusetts open records laws. The state’s residents aren’t permitted to know how often the SWAT teams are used, what they’re used for, what sort of training they get or who they’re primarily used against. From the ACLU of Massachusetts’s report on police militarization in that state: "Due to the weakness of Massachusetts public records law and the culture of secrecy that has infected local police departments and Law Enforcement Councils, procuring empirical records from police departments and regional SWAT teams in Massachusetts about police militarization was universally difficult and, in most instances, impossible."
Note: The author of this article, Radley Balko, is the author of the book Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces. For more on this topic, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
WikiLeaks has published what it calls "the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Financial Services Annex," apparently covering 50 countries and most of the world's trade in services. "The draft Financial Services Annex sets rules which would assist the expansion of financial multinationals — mainly headquartered in New York, London, Paris and Frankfurt — into other nations by preventing regulatory barriers," the website says in a statement. The draft deal is seen as a way to prevent more regulation of financial services, despite calls for tighter regulatory measures that followed the 2007-08 world financial crisis. That market meltdown set the world's biggest banks up against critics who said governments needed to rein them in. The last round of TISA talks took place April 28 to May 2 in Geneva. WikiLeaks also [stated] that the U.S. is "particularly keen on boosting cross-border data flow" and that this would include personal and financial data. During his teleconference, [Assange] urged U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to end a four-year-long grand jury investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks. "National security reporters are required by their profession to have intimate interactions in order to assess and verify and investigate the nature of the material that they are dealing with," he said. "So I call on Eric Holder today to immediately drop the ongoing national security investigation against WikiLeaks or resign."
Note: Why is this important release getting so little news coverage? For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Supreme Court has been quietly revising its decisions years after they were issued, altering the law of the land without public notice. The revisions include “truly substantive changes in factual statements and legal reasoning,” said Richard J. Lazarus, a law professor at Harvard and the author of a new study examining the phenomenon. The court’s secretive editing process has led judges and law professors astray, causing them to rely on passages that were later scrubbed from the official record. The widening public access to online versions of the court’s decisions, some of which do not reflect the final wording, has made the longstanding problem more pronounced. Unannounced changes have not reversed decisions outright, but they have withdrawn conclusions on significant points of law. The larger point, said Jeffrey L. Fisher, a law professor at Stanford, is that Supreme Court decisions are parsed by judges and scholars with exceptional care. “In Supreme Court opinions, every word matters,” he said. “When they’re changing the wording of opinions, they’re basically rewriting the law.” The court does warn readers that early versions of its decisions, available at the courthouse and on the court’s website, are works in progress. A small-print notice says that “this opinion is subject to formal revision before publication,” and it asks readers to notify the court of “any typographical or other formal errors.” But ... the court almost never notes when a change has been made, much less specifies what it was. And many changes do not seem merely typographical or formal.
The Obama administration has been quietly advising local police not to disclose details about surveillance technology they are using to sweep up basic cellphone data from entire neighborhoods. Citing security reasons, the U.S. has intervened in routine state public records cases and criminal trials regarding use of the technology. This has resulted in police departments withholding materials or heavily censoring documents in rare instances when they disclose any [information] about the purchase and use of such powerful surveillance equipment. One well-known type of this surveillance equipment is known as a Stingray. The equipment tricks cellphones into identifying some of their owners' account information, like a unique subscriber number, and transmitting data to police as if it were a phone company's tower. That allows police to obtain cellphone information without having to ask for help from service providers ... and can locate a phone without the user even making a call or sending a text message. The Obama administration is asking agencies to withhold common information about the equipment, such as how the technology is used and how to turn it on. "These extreme secrecy efforts are in relation to very controversial, local government surveillance practices using highly invasive technology," said Nathan Freed Wessler, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, which has fought for the release of these types of records. "People should have the facts about what the government is doing to them."
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government surveillance news articles from reliable major media sources.
Reports from an oil rig worker who saw a fire in the sky on the night Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared are being taken seriously, police sources have confirmed. But New Zealander Mike McKay, 55, has lost his job in the ‘‘circus’’ that developed after his report to authorities was leaked. Mr McKay had been working on the Songa Mercur oil rig in the South China Sea when he saw an ‘‘orange light’’ on an especially clear night. The object was still in one piece and close to where MH370 first dropped off radar between Malaysia and Vietnam on March 8 with 239 people on board. He emailed his employer and Vietnamese authorities about his sighting, but his statement was leaked, which included his full name, email, passport number, and full details of the company operating the rig. In the ensuing media storm, Mr McKay said the Japanese-based petroleum company, Idemitsu, was flooded with emails and he was taken off the rig. He is now unemployed and disappointed his efforts at reporting potentially vital information turned into such a circus. ‘‘I was only trying to privately help,’’ he told Fairfax Media during a series of interviews. ‘‘If it was the aeroplane I saw, then it must have been an external fire. How far would an aeroplane stay in the air after such a fire?’’
Note: So much strangeness here. Why was this man fired for reporting simply what he saw? And why isn't this getting more media attention? For possible answers, see our essay on media corruption.
Reports that nearly 800 dead babies were discovered in the septic tank of a home run by nuns [have] sparked calls for accountability from government and Catholic Church officials. Some 796 children were secretly buried in the sewage tank of the home in Tuam, County Galway, where unmarried pregnant women were sent to give birth in an attempt to preserve the country's devout Catholic image. The home was run by nuns from the Bon Secours Sisters congregation between 1925 and 1961. People who lived near the home said they have known about the unmarked mass grave for decades, but a fresh investigation was sparked this week after research by local historian Catherine Corless ... showed that of the hundreds of children who died at the home, only one was buried at a cemetery. She also said that health board records from the 1940s said conditions at the home were dire, with children suffering malnutrition and neglect and dying at a rate four times higher than in the rest of Ireland. The claims came to light after Corless obtained death records for the home and cross checked them with local cemetery records. According to Eoin O'Sullivan, associate professor at Trinity College Dublin, "Tuam was a former workhouse and conditions were pretty bleak," said O'Sullivan, co-author of the 2001 book Suffer the Little Children: The inside Story of Ireland's Industrial Schools. "Ireland's first mother and baby home, at Bessborough, in Cork, had an even worse infant mortality rate of around 82 percent: In the year ending March 31, 1944, 124 children were born or admitted there, and 102 died."
Note: For more on institutional abuse of children, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Back in December, 60 Minutes broadcast a now-notorious segment of pure access journalism in which they gullibly disseminated one false NSA claim after the next. The program claimed that Snowden “is believed to still have access to 1.5 million classified documents he has not leaked”. Ever since then, that Snowden “stole” 1.7 or 1.8 million documents from the NSA has been repeated over and over again by US media outlets as verified fact. The Washington Post‘s Walter Pincus, citing an anonymous official source, purported to tell readers that “among the roughly 1.7 million documents he walked away with — the vast majority of which have not been made public — are highly sensitive, specific intelligence reports”. Reuters frequently includes in its reports the unchallenged assertion that “Snowden was believed to have taken 1.7 million computerized documents.” In fact, that number is and always has been a pure fabrication, as even Keith Alexander admits. The claimed number has changed more times than one can count: always magically morphing into randomly chosen higher and scarier numbers. The reality, in the words of the General, is that the US Government ”really [doesn't know] what he actually took with him” and they ”don’t have an accurate way of counting”. All they know is how many documents he accessed in his entire career at NSA, which is a radically different question from how many documents he took. But that hasn’t stopped American media outlets from repeatedly affirming the inflammatory evidence-free claim that Snowden took 1.7 million documents.
Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Contradicting an earlier assertion made under oath by a senior FBI official, an attorney for the Justice Department said [on April 30] that the FBI has identified four more boxes of “classified” 9/11 documents held by its Tampa field office. The government, however, has yet to comply with a federal judge’s orders ... that it turn over copies of that massive 9/11 file — now said to total 27 boxes — for his personal inspection. U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch issued those orders in a Freedom of Information lawsuit brought by BrowardBulldog.org seeking records about the FBI’s investigation into apparent pre-9/11 terrorist activity in Sarasota. Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, who co-chaired Congress’ Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks, has said that the FBI did not disclose the existence of the Sarasota investigation to either the Joint Inquiry or the subsequent 9/11 Commission. The documents state that the Sarasota Saudis had “many connections” to “individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001.” One document lists three individuals, with names blacked out, and ties them to the Venice, Fla., flight school where suicide hijackers Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi trained.
Note: For solid evidence that many more were involved in 9/11 than is generally admitted, see the revealing newspaper article at this link. For an excellent documentary focused on the Venice, Florida flight school which all but proves a major cover-up involving US citizens involved in the planning of 9/11, click here. And for a treasure trove of reliable information showing a major cover-up around 9/11, click here.
Each day, hundreds of thousands of people commute into and out of Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Thousands more eat at the station's restaurants and sip cocktails at its elegant bars. But Grand Central houses two secret areas few people ever see. Nine stories below the lowest floor sits a bunker known as M-42. It's rumored that during World War II, the bunker had guards with shoot-to-kill orders, for fear of sabotage while the station's trains were being used to ferry troops into and out of New York. Also below the elaborate station is Track 61, which is not on any train map. Track 61 was built for wealthy travelers arriving on private trains and has a freight elevator that rises to the garage level of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The track's most frequent user was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who wore leg braces and used a wheelchair because of his polio. FDR's private train included a car specially outfitted to hold his Pierce-Arrow limousine. When he rode into Manhattan from his hometown of Hyde Park, N.Y., he would be driven in the limo off the train, into the freight elevator and right into the hotel. The clandestine entrance prevented the public from seeing the President's inability to walk.
Note: For more on institutional secrecy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The Obama administration has barred officials at 17 agencies from speaking to journalists about unclassified intelligence-related topics without permission, according to a newly disclosed directive. The directive, issued by James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, also requires the agencies’ employees to report any unplanned contact with journalists. Officials who violate the directive may be disciplined or fired, the directive says. The directive prohibits unauthorized “contact with the media about intelligence-related information, including intelligence sources, methods, activities and judgments,” without regard to whether it is classified. It says that employees who violate the policy “may be subject to administrative actions that may include revocation of security clearances or termination of employment.” At a minimum, the directive adds, any violation of the policy “will be handled in the same manner as a security violation.” Mr. Clapper signed the directive on March 20, and it was quietly posted on the office’s website last week. The directive limiting contact with reporters was reported Monday by Steve Aftergood, a government secrecy specialist for the Federation of American Scientists. In a blog post, Mr. Aftergood portrayed the directive as seeking to ensure that “the only news about intelligence is to be authorized news.” He criticized the policy as going too far, arguing that routine interactions between agency employees and reporters about unclassified matters did not pose a threat to national security, but that limiting them would hurt the public.
Note: Yet another major effort to muzzle whistleblowers. For more on government secrecy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The federal government’s spy-satellite agency failed to alert authorities after some of its employees and contractors admitted during polygraph tests to crimes including child molestation and lying on security-clearance questionnaires, according to a watchdog. The intelligence community’s inspector general released two reports ... saying the National Reconnaissance Office did not refer some of the cases because of confusion about reporting expectations and requirements. According to one of the reports, an Air Force lieutenant colonel admitted during a 2010 lie-detector test to touching a child in a sexual way and downloading child pornography on his work computer. The NRO only reported that case to the Air Force division that oversees security clearances instead of the Justice Department or the Air Force’s special-investigations office, the inspector general said. The NRO is not legally required to report certain state crimes such as child molestation. Thirty individuals who took NRO lie-detector tests from 2009 through 2012 admitted to child abuse or using child pornography, according to the report. The NRO failed to report three of those cases. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who requested the review after a McClatchy news investigation raised concerns about the matter in 2012, said the NRO showed a “complete lack of common sense in failing to require reporting of serious state crimes of this sort.”
Note: The NRO is the agency that was running a drill on the morning of 9/11 of an airplane crashing into one of its Washington, DC buildings, as reported in this USA Today article. It has also allegedly been involved in the UFO cover-up, as reported in this testimony.
Attorney James Connell has visited his client inside the secret Guantanamo prison complex known as Camp 7 only once, taken in a van with covered windows on a circuitous trek to disguise the route on the scrub brush-and-cactus covered military base. Connell is allowed to say virtually nothing about what he saw in the secret camp where the most notorious terror suspects in U.S. custody are held except that it is unlike any detention facility he's encountered. "It's much more isolating than any other facility that I have known," the lawyer says. "I've done cases from the Virginia death row and Texas death row and these pretrial conditions are much more isolating." The Camp 7 prison unit is so shrouded in secrecy that its location on the U.S. base in Cuba is classified and officials refuse to discuss it. Camp 7 has never been part of the scripted tours of Guantanamo offered to journalists and there are no published photos. It's not even mentioned on a military media handout about the detention center. Military officials, while insisting that they adhere to international human rights standards, refuse to describe Camp 7. A few facts have come out through government reports and court testimony. It apparently holds 15 of the 154 prisoners at Guantanamo. The men are apparently held in solid-walled cells — as opposed to the cage-like structures used soon after the U.S. began using Guantanamo as a prison in 2002 — that are intended to limit their ability to communicate with each other. The secret camp also is apparently falling apart.
Note: For more on government secrecy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The Air Force’s secret space plane has been up in orbit for nearly 500 days—a space endurance record. But nearly a year and a half into the mission, the Pentagon still won’t say what the X-37B is doing up there, or when it might come back. The U.S. Air Force boosted the robotic X-37B atop the nose of an Atlas-5 rocket in December 2012. Since then it’s orbited the Earth thousands of times, overflying such interesting places as North Korea and Iran. The U.S. Air Force will not comment on what kind of missions the X-37B does in space. The service, which doesn’t mind talking about the space drone as a technological achievement, clams up when discussing actual missions. Brian Weeden, a former Air Force officer with the Space Command’s Joint Space Operations Center and now at the Secure World Foundation, believes that the X-37B is primarily a test bed for new technologies. “I think it is primarily an ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) platform for testing new sensor technologies or validating new technologies.” Weeden [said]. “The current [flight] has basically been in the same orbit since launch, with only the occasional maneuver to maintain that orbit. That’s consistent with a remote sensing/ISR mission.” The X-37B is probably testing technologies that might be incorporated into the spy satellites of the future. New cameras, radars, and other sensors could be tested in space and then brought back to Earth for study.
Note: For more on government secrecy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The controversy surrounding Adolf Hitler's skull fragments is a little embarrassing for the Russian secret services. In 2000 they presented a skull fragment and a piece of jawbone that they claimed were the remains of the Nazi leader. It was an attempt to quash outlandish rumors that he had escaped alive at the end of World War II. But in October US researchers presented the results of DNA tests on the skull and said it definitely didn't belong to the dictator because it was from a female. Scientists had already harbored doubts about the authenticity of the piece of bone because it was thinner than a male's usually is. "The bone seemed very thin -- male bone tends to be more robust. It corresponds to a woman between the ages of 20 and 40," said Nick Bellantoni of the University of Connecticut. The position of the exit wound at the back of the skull also made scientists suspicious because eyewitnesses said Hitler had committed suicide by firing into his right temple. Bellantoni said he was allowed to work on the skull for an hour. When he flew home from Moscow he had two samples in his luggage: a sample from the skull fragment and one sample of blood from the sofa on which Hitler is said to have shot himself. Bellantoni was able to compare the bloodstains on the blood-stained fabric with photos the Soviets took after they seized Hitler's bunker in Berlin. The stains had matched those in the photos. The research showed that the sofa blood DNA did not match the skull DNA. The sofa blood was male and the skull belonged to a woman, claimed Bellantoni.
Note: For more on the mysteries surrounding the end of Hitler's life, click here.
In the tense days after a powerful earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan on March 11, 2011, staff at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission made a concerted effort to play down the risk of earthquakes and tsunamis to America’s aging nuclear plants, according to thousands of internal emails reviewed by NBC News. The emails, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, show that the campaign to reassure the public about America’s nuclear industry came as the agency’s own experts were questioning U.S. safety standards and scrambling to determine whether new rules were needed to ensure that the meltdown occurring at the Japanese plant could not occur here. At the end of that long first weekend of the crisis three years ago, NRC Public Affairs Director Eliot Brenner thanked his staff for sticking to the talking points that the team had been distributing to senior officials and the public. "While we know more than these say," Brenner wrote, "we're sticking to this story for now." There are numerous examples in the emails of apparent misdirection or concealment in the initial weeks after the Japanese plant was devastated: When asked to help reporters explain what would happen during the worst-case scenario -- a nuclear meltdown -- the agency declined to address the questions. The emails pull back the curtain on the agency’s efforts to protect the industry it is supposed to regulate. The NRC officials didn't lie, but they didn't always tell the whole truth either. When someone asked about a topic that might reflect negatively on the industry, they changed the subject.
Note: For more on corruption in the nuclear power industry, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.