Government Corruption News StoriesExcerpts of Key Government Corruption News Stories in Major Media
This comprehensive list of government corruption 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 U.S. corporate media’s first response to the leaking of secret documents about the war in Ukraine was to throw some mud in the water, declare “nothing to see here,” and cover it as a depoliticized crime story about a 21-year-old Air National Guardsman who published secret documents to impress his friends. What these documents reveal, however, is that the war is going worse for Ukraine than our political leaders have admitted to us, while going badly for Russia too, so that neither side is likely to break the stalemate this year, and this will lead to “a protracted war beyond 2023,” as one of the documents says. We can’t help wondering what President Biden’s plan could be, or if he even has one. In what amounts to a second leak that the corporate media have studiously ignored, U.S. intelligence sources have told veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh that they are asking the same questions, and they describe a “total breakdown” between the White House and the U.S. intelligence community. According to Hersh’s report, the CIA assesses that Ukrainian officials, including President Zelenskyy, have embezzled $400 million from money the United States sent Ukraine to buy diesel fuel for its war effort, in a scheme that involves buying cheap, discounted fuel from Russia. Meanwhile, Hersh says, Ukrainian government ministries literally compete with each other to sell weapons paid for by U.S. taxpayers to private arms dealers in Poland, the Czech Republic and around the world.
A set of secret national security documents burst into public view last week. The intelligence documents appear to have entered the public domain in an unusual way — someone began sharing them, starting late last year, on an obscure Discord server called Thug Shaker Central. The alleged leaker, Jack Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, was arrested. It is traditional for the government to exaggerate the alleged harms of classified information becoming public, and this appears to be happening again. The real problem isn’t what’s leaked, but what’s classified. Almost every news story about the latest disclosures has noted that the Pentagon and other government agencies will now put tighter lids on secret documents, even though, as historian Matthew Connelly points out in his new book, “The Declassification Engine,” the government already puts way too much material behind its moat. In fact, the human harm caused by unauthorized leaks is almost always inflicted by the government itself in the form of egregious prosecutions of leakers. Although Snowden, [Chelsea] Manning, and, more recently, Reality Winner, revealed secrets that the public had a right to know, the government charged all of them under the draconian Espionage Act. While Snowden sought safety in Russia, Manning served seven years in prison (she was originally sentenced to 35 years), and Winner was sentenced to more than five years for leaking just a single document.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
In 2010, Chelsea Manning shocked the world with leaked documents that exposed abuses and crimes committed by the United States military in Iraq. These revelations also made the publisher of those documents, Julian Assange, and his organization, WikiLeaks, household names. The U.S. government [is] charging Assange — a publisher — with violating the Espionage Act. Under the Espionage Act, one does not have the ability to make a public interest defense. All prosecutors have to do is show that a whistleblower possessed documents or transferred “national defense information” to a member of the press. Damage has already been done, but the future of journalism is in further jeopardy if the U.S. government holds a trial against Assange, convicts him, and shows the world that it has the final say over who is and is not a journalist. CIA Director Mike Pompeo and other officials sketched plans to target Assange that included poisoning or kidnapping him. This, along with the disruption campaign against WikiLeaks, represented the CIA’s all-out war against a dissident media organization. The agency went so far as to redefine the organization as a “non-state hostile intelligence service” to carry out operations that it could never get away with against a group of journalists. It should be the subject of an intense investigation in Congress, and the Justice Department should be dropping the charges after publicly conceding that the CIA’s actions mean Assange could never have a fair trial.
The U.S. has not engaged in a defensive war for nearly 80 years, instead destabilizing governments worldwide in Vietnam, the Korean Peninsula, Iraq, Afghanistan, throughout Africa and across Latin America. Although all weapons of mass destruction in space are technically prohibited by the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, it isn’t without precedent for major military powers to withdraw from such treaties. In 2019, President Donald Trump diverged from President Barack Obama’s promise he would “not weaponize space,” and created an official Space Force. Countersurveillance and counter-communications have been central goals of U.S. military space operations since the 1990s, alongside attaining U.S. “full spectrum dominance” of all potential conflict sites — including space. Space infrastructure ... increases the risk of global nuclear war by presenting new opportunities for armament and hostility. The government’s ability to militarize this technology is strongly related to investment and development in the private sector through companies such as Boeing, SpaceX and Blue Origin. The commercial arm of the military-industrial complex is extending into space. Along with Blue Origin, SpaceX has collaborated with DOD in developing rapid global military cargo delivery systems, which the DOD hopes will make for global military logistics — delivery of supplies, weapons and even human soldiers anywhere on earth — in under 60 minutes.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Two international legal agreements [are] currently working their way through the World Health Organisation: a new pandemic treaty, and amendments to the 2005 International Health Regulations, both due to be put before the governing body of the WHO, the World Health Assembly, in May next year. As concerned scholars and jurists have detailed, these agreements threaten to fundamentally reshape the relationship between the WHO, national governments, and individuals. They would hardwire into international law a top-down supranational approach to public health in which the WHO, acting in some cases via the sole discretion of one individual, its Director General (DG), would be empowered to impose sweeping, legally binding directions on member states and their citizens. A global system for digital ‘health certificates’ for verification of vaccine status or test results would be routinised, and a bio-surveillance network ... would be embedded and expanded. The WHO has fallen largely under the control of private capital and other vested interests. Over 80 percent of the WHO’s budget is now ‘specified’ funding by way of voluntary contributions typically earmarked for specific projects or diseases in a way that the funder specifies. The WHO [is] ordaining itself as the exclusive global controller not just of the identification of pandemics and potential pandemics but of the design and execution of pandemic responses, while also granting itself a vast health surveillance network and a global workforce.
The secret contract was finalized on Nov. 8, 2021, a deal between a company that has acted as a front for the United States government and the American affiliate of a notorious Israeli hacking firm. Under the arrangement, the Israeli firm, NSO Group, gave the U.S. government access to one of its most powerful weapons — a geolocation tool that can covertly track mobile phones around the world without the phone user’s knowledge or consent. Only five days earlier, the Biden administration had announced it was taking action against NSO, whose hacking tools for years had been abused by governments around the world to spy on political dissidents, human rights activists and journalists. The White House placed NSO on a Commerce Department blacklist, declaring the company a national security threat. The secret contract ... violates the Biden administration’s public policy, and still appears to be active. The contract, reviewed by The Times, stated that the “United States government” would be the ultimate user of the tool, although it is unclear which government agency authorized the deal and might be using the spyware. Elements of America’s expansive national security apparatus in recent years have bought the weapons, deployed them against drug traffickers, and have quietly pushed to consolidate control of them into the hands of the United States and its closest allies. The F.B.I. purchased access in 2019 to NSO’s most powerful hacking tool, known as Pegasus, which invades mobile phones and mines their contents.
Note: Read how journalists and activists have been targeted with NSO Group spyware. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
In recent months, the Pentagon has moved to provide loans, guarantees, and other financial instruments to technology companies it considers crucial to national security — a step beyond the grants and contracts it normally employs. So when Silicon Valley Bank threatened to fail in March following a bank run, the defense agency advocated for government intervention to insure the investments. The Pentagon had even scrambled to prepare multiple plans to get cash to affected companies if necessary, reporting by Defense One revealed. Their interest in Silicon Valley Bank stems from the Pentagon’s brand-new office, the Office of Strategic Capital. The secretary of defense established the OSC in December specifically to counteract the investment power of adversaries like China in U.S. technologies, and to secure separate funding for companies whose products are considered vital to national security. The national security argument for bailout, notably, found an influential friend in the Senate. As the Biden administration intervened to protect Silicon Valley Bank depositors on March 12, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who chairs the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee and also sits on the Banking Committee, issued a press release warning that the bank run posed a national security risk. Warner — the only member of Congress to have publicly tied SVB to national security — has received significant contributions from the financial sector. Since 2012, Warner has received over $21,000 from Silicon Valley Bank’s super PAC.
Note: Many tech startups with funds in Silicon Valley Bank were working on projects with defense and national security applications. Explore revealing news articles on the rising concerns of the emerging technologies that the Defense Department is investing in, given their recent request for $17.8 billion to research and develop artificial intelligence, autonomy, directed energy weapons, cybersecurity, 5G technology, and more.
Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) said on Monday the U.S. Army has awarded a multi-year production contract for Joint-Air-to-Ground Missiles (JAGM) and HELLFIRE missiles, in a deal that could go up to $4.5 billion including follow-on awards. The contract, which will have a total value of $439 million in its first year, is among the first multi-year awards for precision munitions, as the Pentagon looks to build stocks in the hopes of deterring China. In March, President Joe Biden requested $842 billion for the Pentagon and $44 billion for defense-related programs at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Energy and other agencies. The 2024 budget proposal is $28 billion more than last year's $858 billion. Lockheed added the contract also offers three additional follow-on awards which will start in late 2023, allowing for a total contract value of up to $4.5 billion over the next four years. The JAGM program anticipates a "significant increase" in international demand for the weapon system, Lockheed said.
Note: Many benefit financially from warfare when it comes to provoking proxy wars and furthering U.S. agendas of full-spectrum dominance, as thoroughly explored in the book War is a Racket by the highly decorated general Smedley D. Butler. According to a revealing report, at least 47 members of Congress and their spouses hold between $2 million and $6.7 million worth of stock in Lockheed Martin and other companies that are among the top 100 defense contractors.
As mainstream U.S. media outlets pause to remember the U.S. invasion of Iraq, it’s clear that there’s a lot they hope we’ll forget – first and foremost, the media’s own active complicity in whipping up public support for the war. But the more you dig into mainstream news coverage from that period ... the harder it is to forget how flagrantly news networks across the broadcast and cable landscape uncritically spread the Bush administration’s propaganda and actively excluded dissenting voices. A 2003 report by the media watchdog Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) found that in the two weeks leading up to the invasion, ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, and the PBS Newshour featured a total of 267 American experts, analysts, and commentators on camera to supposedly help make sense of the march to war. Of these 267 guests, an astounding 75% were current or former government or military officials, and a grand total of one expressed any skepticism. The bedrock democratic principle of an independent, adversarial press was simply tossed out the window. “Often journalists blame the government for the failure of the journalists themselves to do independent reporting,” [author Norman] Solomon says. “But nobody forced the major networks like CNN to do so much commentary from retired generals and admirals and all the rest of it. That really runs directly counter to the idea of an independent press.”
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., is circulating a letter among her House colleagues that calls on the Department of Justice to drop charges against Julian Assange and end its effort to extradite him from his detention in Belmarsh prison in the United Kingdom. The Justice Department has charged Assange, the publisher of WikiLeaks, for publishing classified information. The Obama administration had previously decided not to prosecute Assange, concerned with what was dubbed internally as the “New York Times problem.” The Times had partnered with Assange when it came to publishing classified information and itself routinely publishes classified information. Publishing classified information is a violation of the Espionage Act, though it has never been challenged in the Supreme Court, and constitutional experts broadly consider that element of the law to be unconstitutional. The Obama administration could not find a way to charge Assange without also implicating standard journalistic practices. The Trump administration, unburdened by such concerns around press freedom, pushed ahead with the indictment and extradition request. The Biden administration, driven by the zealous prosecutor Gordon Kromberg, has aggressively pursued Trump’s prosecution. Tlaib noted that the Times, The Guardian, El País, Le Monde, and Der Spiegel had put out a joint statement condemning the charges, and alluded to the same problem that gave the Obama administration pause.
It had been 15 years since the U.S. invaded Iraq when, on March 19, 2018, the celebrated Iraqi novelist and poet Sinan Antoon published a blistering op-ed in The New York Times. He took readers through his observations of the steady deterioration of Iraqi society since the war began, but the most scathing words came toward the end. “No one knows for certain how many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago,” Antoon wrote. “Some credible estimates put the number at more than one million. You can read that sentence again. The invasion of Iraq is often spoken of in the United States as a ‘blunder,’ or even a ‘colossal mistake.’ It was a crime. Those who perpetrated it are still at large.” That the invasion was not just a moral catastrophe but an egregious war crime has been echoed by everyone from United Nations heads to human rights leaders. With the 20th anniversary of the invasion now approaching, the sanitizing of the war’s major culprits — or, at the very least, the soft forgetting of their crimes — continues. As the very top decision-makers faded into retirement, the next layer of war pushers, enablers and overseers — the top defense and national security officials and the celebrity generals — went on to profit immensely following their leadership of an illegal war, darting through the revolving door to snag coveted corporate board seats and prestigious university appointments. Many of them remain in these positions with defense industry giants, tech firms and Wall Street investors today.
In February, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) published an extensive investigation into the spectacular collapse of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces’ (ANDSF), which the U.S. spent two decades and $90 billion building. In common with previous SIGAR reports, it offers a remarkably uncompromising, no-punches-pulled assessment, exposing corruption, incompetence, lies, and delusion every step of the way. The Pentagon and State Department rejected SIGAR’s jurisdiction over them, declined to review interim drafts of the report, denied access to their staff, and “mostly” refused to answer requests for information. The Afghan government and military, their trainers and the Pentagon alike were all heavily incentivized to lie to one another, and political leaders in Washington, who were in turn motivated to mislead the public. As prior SIGAR reports also found, so much money and equipment were flowing into Afghanistan without any supervision whatsoever, and weaponry and other aid were misused, stolen or illegally sold off with ease by Afghans, U.S. personnel and Pentagon contractors. SIGAR ominously warns that a similar absence of accountability is evident in the “unprecedented” U.S. arms shipments to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion on February 24, 2022. Despite U.S. leaders promising a keen eye is being kept on the weapons shipments, SIGAR’s report makes clear these same officials did not even know what was being sent to Afghanistan. Is the same true for Kiev?
In March 2003, the newly christened Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, opened its doors. The department took everything from immigration enforcement and counterterrorism to airport security and disaster response under one gargantuan bureaucracy. Despite these wide-ranging missions, the department's unifying logic in the post 9/11 era has been to wage the so-called war on terror at home. The result has been systemic abuse of minority communities, a dangerous militarization of American life, and a massive waste of money that sapped resources from addressing the real threats to our homeland. DHS agencies have militarized U.S. streets, sending officers in tactical gear to respond to civilian protests and conducting surveillance of U.S. citizens engaged in constitutionally protected activities. There are stories of DHS drones surveilling Indigenous water and land protectors and DHS forces spying on Black Lives Matter protesters. DHS even monitored journalists who reported on the department's tactics. None of these abuses have come cheap. Since its founding in 2003, the U.S. has spent $1.4 trillion on the agency. That's more than seven times what the government spent over the same period on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including the CDC's COVID-19 pandemic response—and more than five times more than on the Environmental Protection Agency. The [DHS] was supposed to be about making the U.S. safer. But it has failed.
Note: A thorough investigation reveals details on the DHS "Disinformation Governance Board," an unsuccessful effort in 2022 to police online speech it considers inaccurate and dangerous. Now, the DHS board and its key subcommittees are undergoing sweeping changes as public concern grows over social media censorship and government overreach.
Under a post-9/11 surveillance program known as “Upstream”, the NSA is systematically searching Americans’ internet communications as they enter and leave the United States. The agency sifts through these streams of data looking for “identifiers” associated with its many thousands of foreign targets – identifiers like email addresses and phone numbers. The NSA does all of this without warrants, without any individual judicial approval, and without showing that any of the people it is surveilling – including countless Americans – have done anything wrong. This surveillance raises serious constitutional concerns, but no court has ever considered a legal challenge to it because the government has claimed that allowing a suit against Upstream surveillance to go forward would implicate “state secrets”. In 2007, for example, an appeals court dismissed a lawsuit filed by Khaled El-Masri claiming that, in a case of mistaken identity, he had been kidnapped and tortured by the CIA. The court acknowledged the public evidence of El-Masri’s mistreatment but held that state secrets were too central to the case to allow it to go forward. And in 2010, a different appeals court dismissed a lawsuit filed by five individuals who claimed that one of Boeing’s subsidiary companies had flown the planes carrying them to the black sites where they were tortured by the CIA. This use of the state secrets privilege – to dismiss cases – departs from the supreme court’s narrow framing of the privilege.
It has been more than four decades, but Ben Barnes said he remembers it vividly. His longtime political mentor invited him on a mission to the Middle East. What Mr. Barnes said he did not realize until later was the real purpose of the mission: to sabotage the re-election campaign of the president of the United States. It was 1980 and Jimmy Carter was in the White House, bedeviled by a hostage crisis in Iran that had paralyzed his presidency and hampered his effort to win a second term. Mr. Carter’s best chance for victory was to free the 52 Americans held captive before Election Day. That was something that Mr. Barnes said his mentor was determined to prevent. His mentor was John B. Connally Jr., a titan of American politics. Now Mr. Connally resolved to help Mr. Reagan beat Mr. Carter. What happened next Mr. Barnes has largely kept secret for nearly 43 years. Mr. Connally, he said, took him to one Middle Eastern capital after another that summer, meeting with a host of regional leaders to deliver a blunt message to be passed to Iran: Don’t release the hostages before the election. Mr. Reagan will win and give you a better deal. Mr. Connally’s files indicated that he did, in fact, leave Houston on July 18, 1980, for a trip that would take him to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel before returning to Houston on Aug. 11. Iran did hold the hostages until after the election, which Mr. Reagan won, and did not release them until minutes after noon on Jan. 20, 1981, when Mr. Carter left office.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources.
The US government’s new mobile app for migrants to apply for asylum at the US-Mexico border is blocking many Black people from being able to file their claims because of facial recognition bias in the tech, immigration advocates say. The app, CBP One, is failing to register many people with darker skin tones, effectively barring them from their right to request entry into the US. People who have made their way to the south-west border from Haiti and African countries, in particular, are falling victim to apparent algorithm bias in the technology that the app relies on. The government announced in early January that the new CBP One mobile app would be the only way migrants arriving at the border can apply for asylum and exemption from Title 42 restrictions. Racial bias in face recognition technology has long been a problem. Increasingly used by law enforcement and government agencies to fill databases with biometric information including fingerprints and iris scans, a 2020 report by Harvard University called it the “least accurate” identifier, especially among darker-skinned women with whom the error rate is higher than 30%. Emmanuella Camille, a staff attorney with the Haitian Bridge Alliance ... said the CBP One app has helped “lighter-skin toned people from other nations” obtain their asylum appointments “but not Haitians” and other Black applicants. Besides the face recognition technology not registering them ... many asylum seekers have outdated cellphones – if they have cellphones at all – that don’t support the CBP One app.
Recent reports about the Secret Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement playing fast and loose with rules regarding cellphone tracking and the FBI purchasing phone location data from commercial sources constitute an important wake-up call. They remind us that those handy mobile devices many people tote around are the most cost-effective surveillance system ever invented. "The United States Secret Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) did not always adhere to Federal statute and cellsite simulator (CSS) policies when using CSS during criminal investigations," the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General reported last month. "Separately, ICE HSI did not adhere to Department privacy policies and the applicable Federal privacy statute when using CSS." The OIG report referred to the use of what is commonly called "stingray" technology—devices that simulate cellphone towers and trick phones within range into connecting and revealing their location. "They also gather information about the phones of countless bystanders who happen to be nearby," the ACLU warns. Even the most precise phone company location data remains available with court approval. The courts are currently mulling multiple cases involving "geofence warrants" whereby law enforcement seeks data not on individuals, but on whoever was carrying a device in a designated area at a specified time.
The House committee investigating the events of January 6, 2021, is nearly finished. Nearly 900 ... criminal prosecutions of alleged rioters remain underway, and one case has shed troubling new light on how the FBI investigated these defendants. The suspect's name is David Rhine. His lawyer is the first to present a potentially successful challenge to the geofencing warrant the FBI used to place some defendants inside the Capitol building during the attack. A previous Wired report last year found 45 federal criminal cases citing the warrant, which required Google to provide the FBI with data on devices using its location services inside a set geographic area. Rhine's case has revealed just how expansive the FBI's request to Google really was. Google initially listed 5,723 devices in response to the warrant, then whittled the tally to exclude likely Capitol staff and police as well as anyone who wasn't "entirely within the geofence, to about a 70 percent probability." The final list of identifying details handed over to the FBI had 1,535 names. It included people whose phones had been turned off or put in airplane mode, and "people who attempted to delete their location data following the attacks were singled out by the FBI for greater scrutiny." It's ... easy to envision geofencing warrants undergoing the usual surveillance mission creep. Left unchecked, law enforcement could decide geofence data would come in handy while looking for a journalist's whistleblowing source, or perhaps at political protests.
The US Air Force is facing more questions as to why it spent tens of thousands of dollars over the last three years on large cups that can reheat beverages, like coffee or tea, on refueling tankers and cargo aircraft during flight. Despite being assured by Air Force Secretary Dr. Heather Wilson earlier this month that the service has “suspended its purchasing of the exorbitantly priced cups,” Sen. Chuck Grassley sent a follow-up letter last week asking for further explanation as to why they were purchased in the first place. Grassley raised the issue of the cups in an October 2 letter to Wilson after reports surfaced this summer that the 60th Ariel Port Squadron at Travis Air Force Base had spent $1,280 on each cup in 2018 – a dramatic increase from the $693 per-cup price in 2016. In her response to that letter, Wilson said the Air Force has spent $326,785 on nearly 400 cups since 2016 – an average of $817. “You are right to be concerned about the high costs of spare parts, and I remain thankful to have your support in addressing this problem,” Wilson told the senator in a letter dated October 17. The increasing cost of the cups was first reported ... in July as part of a report on how airmen at Travis Air Force Base are attempting to use 3D printing to develop a cost-effective way to replace the cups’ plastic handles, which have a tendency to break. “Unfortunately, when dropped, the handle breaks easily leading to the expenditure of several thousand dollars to replace the cup as replacement parts are not available,” the Air Force said.
Note: Read this eye-opening article to learn the many ways the government wastes your tax dollars. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
I participated in an online forum called US CBDC—A Disaster in the making? We had a very productive discussion about the policy aspect of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). I believe that the Fed should not launch a CBDC. Ever. And I think that Congress should amend the Federal Reserve Act, just to be on the safe side. I want to distinguish between a wholesale CBDC and retail CBDC. With a wholesale CBDC, banks can electronically transact with each other using a liability of the central bank. That is essentially what banks do now. But retail CBDCs are another animal altogether. Retail CBDCs allow members of the general public to make electronic payments of all kinds with a liability of the central bank. This feature–making electronic transactions using a liability of the Federal Reserve–is central to why Congress should make sure that the Fed never issues a retail CBDC. The problem is that the federal government, not privately owned commercial banks, would be responsible for issuing deposits. And while this fact might seem like a feature instead of bug, it’s a major problem for anything that resembles a free society. The problem is that there is no limit to the level of control that the government could exert over people if money is purely electronic and provided directly by the government. A CBDC would give federal officials full control over the money going into–and coming out of–every person’s account. This level of government control is not compatible with economic or political freedom.
Note: The above was written by Norbert Michel, Vice President and Director of the Cato Institute's Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
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.