Trump Muzzles Federal Employees; Reporters Start Asking For Leaks

from the we'll-see-how-this-goes... dept

Reports started coming out this morning that the new Trump Administration had told the EPA that it needed to stop doing anything publicly without first getting approval from the White House (in addition to freezing grants and contracts). According to a memo that was sent around to EPA staff:

If you can't read that, the key parts say:
  • No press releases will be going out to external audiences.
  • No social media will be going out. A Digital Strategist will be coming on board to oversee social media. Existing, individually controlled, social media accounts may become more centrally controlled.
  • No blog messages.
  • The Beach Team will review the list of upcoming webinars and decide which ones will go forward.
  • Please send me a list of any external speaking engagements that are currently scheduled among any of your staff from today through February.
  • Incoming media requests will be carefully screened.
  • No new content can be place on any website. Only do clean up where essential.
  • List servers will be reviewed. Only send out critical messages, as messages can be shared broadly and end up in the press.
Why yes, such messages may end up in the press.

Of course, it quickly became clear that this was not just for the EPA. The USDA received similar marching orders. Same with the Department of Health & Human Services and possibly others as well, including the Department of Commerce, being told it can't even publish the basic research it releases for US companies.

It's possible to say that this is just the Trump administration hitting the pause button to figure out what's going on before moving forward again, but many in these agencies are quite worried that they're going to be muzzled for political reasons. Most of the people working in these agencies are civil servants, not political appointees, and their work is not at all political. The press releases and blog posts are generally to release new findings, research and data from taxpayer funded studies. This shouldn't be controversial or reviewed for political motives.

Of course, this kind of thing is hardly unprecedented. For many years, we wrote about the ridiculousness of then Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper gagging Canadian scientists from talking about factual research that was politically inconvenient (including a study on fish stock). This kind of gagging on "politically sensitive" but factual science was only lifted last year once Justin Trudeau came into office. Of course, just a few months before that, the UK similarly started muzzling scientists to stop them saying anything the politicians didn't like.

One hopes the Trump administration will not be putting in place similar policies.

Of course, if that is the plan, it should be a huge boon for investigative journalists. And they're already hunting for sources. As the reports on the gag order came out this morning, lots of reporters stepped up on Twitter with notes on how to contact publications with information:

So, perhaps this kind of gag order will lead to a golden age of whistleblowing. Unfortunately, it may also lead to further crackdowns on whistleblowers. Once again, as we've explained over and over again the past few years, the Obama administration was the most aggressive and proactive in cracking down on whistleblowers and the press, and they've now handed off that power and precedent to the Trump administration, which will have a pretty big opportunity to use it.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 2:55pm

    Inconvenient Truths

    must be stopped. For the public's own good, of course.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AnonCow, 24 Jan 2017 @ 3:13pm

    This will be the leakiest four years in our Federal government's history.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AnonCow, 24 Jan 2017 @ 3:14pm

    The alternative to alternative facts is the truth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sorrykb (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 3:17pm

    Badlands

    In apparent defiance of this muzzling policy, someone at Badlands National Park (@BadlandsNPS) began tweeting facts about climate change today, sending several tweets before apparently being stopped. (The tweets have since been deleted.) Just documented, factual information about an issue that impacts our national parks (as it does everywhere else).

    Someone risked their job to do this.

    The least we can do is have their back.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 4:12pm

      Re: Badlands

      Unfortunately, the time to have their back was at the polls back in November.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Thad, 24 Jan 2017 @ 4:33pm

        Re: Re: Badlands

        So we should, what, just give up?

        There will be other elections. And in the meantime, there are many ways to exert pressure on elected leaders beyond the ballot box. Go to a rally, make a donation, volunteer, write your Congressman -- there are a lot of ways to make your voice heard.

        Trump doesn't seem like a very good listener. But a third of the Senate and all of the House is up for reelection in two years. And that's before we get into state and local offices.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 25 Jan 2017 @ 5:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Badlands

          This. Now pay attention, people. This is your chance to tip the balance back in favour of the public.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Thad, 30 Jan 2017 @ 4:24pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Badlands

            I should add that calling your congressman is probably more effective than writing, and attending town hall meetings and other opportunities to meet your representatives in person may be the most effective. There have been some good guides published on this subject over the past week or two.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        harbingerofdoom (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 5:36pm

        Re: Re: Badlands

        you are incredibly wrong.
        the time to have their back is "always". Regardless of your feelings of both the previous and current administration.

        pretty sure Edmund Burke has a few wise words on the subject. you may want to look em up.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jan 2017 @ 7:13am

        Re: Re: Badlands

        All of the big candidates sucked something bad
        Hillary: only president with a bodycount...unrelated to war or duels, known for lying through her teeth on various matters
        Sanders: would have bankrupted the us on social programs
        Trump: big business in the big chair
        the question at the polls could have been "which horrible venereal disease do you want" and the result would have been something similar

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Apollo (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 2:38pm

      Re: Badlands

      are you paid directly by soros, or just volunteering your time?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bob, 26 Jan 2017 @ 8:52pm

      Re: Badlands

      There's an empirically observable fact that everyone's missing in this discussion about climate change.

      Focusing a lot of advertising dollars on awareness of one's carbon footprint in pursuit of justifying a tax payable to the U.N., and lets be honest here, is about the most evil thing we've seen since the Socialist Party in Germany and their death camps.

      It takes a very special kind of mentally insane person to genuinely believe a tax is going to save the world.

      It's not until you put the mentally insane in institutions, clean up the messes left behind by their psychological warfare (AKA propaganda if you prefer less scientific terms), destroy the credibility of the advertisers and the UN, then put together a group of researchers with real integrity backed by money with real integrity, that you can get something done. And those researchers are out there, and they've been surrounded by biased opinion in an echo chamber for decades.

      Otherwise, people will gravitate to what they always have done; do it bigger and better until catastrophe strikes.

      Lets see some solid research, then lets make some solid policies.

      Trump seems to be following through as best he can with what he ran on. Give him a shot and the benefit of the doubt for a few months. There are a lot of sacred cows in government that need to be slaughtered.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 3:22pm

    Hm

    EPA. Department of Health & Human Services. Department of Commerce.

    While I'm not in favor of Trump's gag order, I do kind of wonder if I'd even notice if all of those agencies just disappeared from the face of the earth.

    Of course, those who work for them, or are persecuted, or subsidized, by them, would notice.

    But the rest of us? Maybe at the margin, a little. Mostly I think they just suck up tax money and turn it into hot air. At best.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 3:30pm

      Re: Hm

      Well, maybe you'll get your chance to find out.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      sigalrm (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 3:48pm

      Re: Hm

      You may think you don't care about HHS. But consider that the operating divisions for HHS include, but are not limited to:

      • Administration for Children and Families,
      • Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality,
      • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry,
      • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC),
      • Centers for Medicare & Medicade Services (CMS)
      • Food & Drug Administration (FDA),
      • National Institutes of Health (NIH), and more.

      more here: https://www.hhs.gov/about/agencies/orgchart/

      These all roll up under HHS, and are presumably all subject to this gag order, given HHS as the parent organization.

      US Department of Commerce? Yeah. That includes:

      • NOAA,
      • NIST,
      • The Patent and Trademark Office, and more.

      Also all presumably under a gag order.

      More here: https://www.commerce.gov/sites/commerce.gov/files/media/files/2015/docorgchartfinal.pdf

      One or two of those might be important.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 4:15pm

        Re: Re: Hm

        What exactly would it mean for the PTO to be under a gag order? No patents or marks to be issued?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Manabi (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 6:46pm

          Re: Re: Re: Hm

          It'd be hilarious if that was how the PTO interpreted it, and businesses started raising holy hell because they couldn't get any new patents or trademarks. Especially ones with huge sway with congress like the pharmaceutical companies.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        OldMugwump (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 7:32pm

        Re: Re: Hm

        Agreed. Of the 10 divisions you listed, I agree at least 2 (NOAA and NIST) earn their keep. I have a soft spot for the CDC too.

        Most of the rest we'd be better off without (I have a deep familiarity with some of them).

        Every cabinet-level department, no matter how worthless or even counterproductive, is so sprawling that it has a few good programs worth keeping.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          killthelawyers (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 5:57am

          Re: Re: Re: Hm

          Do tell us about your deep familiarity with the FDA and your expert-level background which justifies your opinion.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Hm

            Well - many people have done extensive research on websites like Fox News, Brietbart and infowars and they arrive at the same conclusions, what else could you possibly expect?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Bruce C., 25 Jan 2017 @ 1:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Hm

            I can understand where he's coming from. The FDA is a captive agency of the companies it's supposed to regulate, until people actually start dying.

            But at least it's there to throw its weight around when people actually do start to die.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 11:33am

        Re: Re: Hm

        Isn't NIST the one that was pwned by the NSA and put out broken crypto standards?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Bruce C., 25 Jan 2017 @ 1:40pm

        Re: Re: Hm

        Here's hoping the gag order applies to the FCC indefinitely. If they can't announce any rule changes, net neutrality might actually stick around for a while.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 24 Jan 2017 @ 3:55pm

      Re: Hm

      While I'm not in favor of Trump's gag order, I do kind of wonder if I'd even notice if all of those agencies just disappeared from the face of the earth.

      That would depend on how quickly the contaminated food, water, air, and medications killed you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        OldMugwump (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 7:35pm

        Re: Re: Hm

        We live in a highly litigious era.

        That has costs. But it also has benefits, the largest of which is that those who sell contaminated food, water or medications, or who pollute the air, can confidently expect to be sued for it. And to lose big.

        It's not a winning business strategy - regulations or no.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 4:43am

          Re: Re: Re: Hm

          "those who sell contaminated food, water or medications, or who pollute the air, can confidently expect to be sued for it. And to lose big."

          Yeah sure - like that has happened in that past ... even when they lose big in court they never pay. Has Exxon paid the fines for their valdez incident yet? Did BP pay any of the fines levied upon them?

          How quickly we forget, or maybe some never knew to begin with.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Bruce C., 25 Jan 2017 @ 1:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Hm

            And that doesn't even cover the situation for many people impacted by corporate greed. Nowadays, you have to go to binding arbitration because you probably have a service contract with them or a subsidiary or a business partner that prohibits lawsuits or class actions.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 25 Jan 2017 @ 5:52am

          Re: Re: Re: Hm

          OldMugwump, I've got one word for you: Flint.

          I'll just leave that there.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            freedomfan (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 7:47am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Hm

            Hmm. What does that word imply? It certainly doesn't imply that those agencies that ostensible purpose is to keep us safe actually get the job done.

            Not weighing in on the broader debate about the overall utility of the various agencies, but it's a mistake to accept the claims of any entity (whether government agency, company, private group, etc.) about what it does as evidence that it actually does those things, does them effectively, and does them without causing or exacerbating other problems. Beyond that, it's plain silly to assume that if the Agency of Good X didn't exist that we wouldn't have Good X.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 10:47am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hm

              The city of Flint successfully hid their nefarious activity from the US government (EPA) for an extended period of time and therefore the entire EPA should be abolished - got it. What an amazing display of iron clad logic.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                freedomfan (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 2:12pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hm

                Since no one in this thread has stated that what happened in Flint is the reason to "abolish" the EPA, one needn't look further than your post for examples of inferences to which one might sarcastically refer as iron-clad logic.

                Someone mentioned Flint as a counter to the suggestion that there are other mechanisms for dealing with certain problems than simply the government agencies whose names or ostensible missions is to deal with those problems. I don't think there is any logically fallacy in pointing out that Flint doesn't really illustrate the point. Especially since Flint is an example of municipal and state government agencies not doing the job they were supposed to. To think that federal agencies are immune from such failings is, IMO, folly.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:24pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hm

                  OldMugWump said:
                  1) EPA. Department of Health & Human Services. Department of Commerce.
                  While I'm not in favor of Trump's gag order, I do kind of wonder if I'd even notice if all of those agencies just disappeared from the face of the earth.

                  to which Thad replied:
                  That would depend on how quickly the contaminated food, water, air, and medications killed you.

                  OldMugWump then said:
                  We live in a highly litigious era.
                  That has costs. But it also has benefits, the largest of which is that those who sell contaminated food, water or medications, or who pollute the air, can confidently expect to be sued for it. And to lose big.
                  It's not a winning business strategy - regulations or no.

                  Then Wendy Cockcroft said:
                  OldMugwump, I've got one word for you: Flint.
                  I'll just leave that there.

                  Hmm. What does that word imply? It certainly doesn't imply that those agencies that ostensible purpose is to keep us safe actually get the job done.

                  then freedomfan:
                  Not weighing in on the broader debate about the overall utility of the various agencies, but it's a mistake to accept the claims of any entity (whether government agency, company, private group, etc.) about what it does as evidence that it actually does those things, does them effectively, and does them without causing or exacerbating other problems. Beyond that, it's plain silly to assume that if the Agency of Good X didn't exist that we wouldn't have Good X.

                  to which AC replied:
                  The city of Flint successfully hid their nefarious activity from the US government (EPA) for an extended period of time and therefore the entire EPA should be abolished - got it. What an amazing display of iron clad logic.

                  .... agreed - no one claimed that Flint was the reason to abolish the EPA

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 3:10pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hm

              Go read The Jungle, it's what prompted the creation of the FDA in the first place.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          DannyB (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:02am

          Re: Re: Re: Hm

          Even if you could successfully sue, and I promise you can't, it would never undo the damage to YOU or YOUR FAMILY.

          Personally, I don't want my family injured by unregulated corporate greed that knows absolutely no bounds.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Hm

            Yup, you've been unknowingly drinking contaminated water for decades but that one lawsuit will fix everything. I'm sure that winning a law suit big time would certainly cure your cancer or whatever horrible resultant disease.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 7:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Hm

            Also, the only way to punish a company is through economic fines. Everything else being equal, the ease of making a company and filing for bankrupcy of that specific company after such a scandal could make it a good way to commit crimes.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 7:56am

          Re: Re: Re: Hm

          Sued by whom? Private citizens? Riiiiiight.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 11:49am

          Re: Re: Re: Hm

          Randian nonsense. Here's a good explanation of why you're wrong:

          ...the dirtiest companies must spend the most on politics if they are not to be regulated out of existence, so politics comes to be dominated by the dirtiest companies. It applies across the board. Banks designing dodgy financial instruments; pharmaceutical companies selling outdated drugs; gambling companies seeking to stifle controls; food companies selling obesogenic junk; retail companies exploiting their workers; accountants designing tax-avoidance packages: all have an enhanced incentive to buy political space, as all, in a fair system, would find themselves under pressure. The system buckles to accommodate their demands.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Thad, 30 Jan 2017 @ 11:59am

          Re: Re: Re: Hm

          That has costs. But it also has benefits, the largest of which is that those who sell contaminated food, water or medications, or who pollute the air, can confidently expect to be sued for it. And to lose big.

          Which I'm sure will come as a huge relief to anyone who's still alive after there's an outbreak and no Center for Disease Control.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jan 2017 @ 6:39am

        Re: Re: Hm

        "While I'm not in favor of Trump's gag order, I do kind of wonder if I'd even notice if all of those agencies just disappeared from the face of the earth."

        I looked at the EPA's budget a while back. Almost all of it is spent on superfund sites. From that I would surmise that the EPA's primary function is to externalize cleanup costs for corporate pollution into the public tax budget.

        IOW, the EPA is a federally paid nanny that wipes asses for the most reckless and irresponsible corporations in the country. And sometimes they get to do science and environmental protection work too.

        I'm not knocking them BTW. I'm just saying that cutting them puts a large degree of civil liability back on some very large companies.

        The EPA ain't going anywhere folks.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      sorrykb (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 4:14pm

      Re: Hm

      OldMugwump wrote:

      EPA. Department of Health & Human Services. Department of Commerce. While I'm not in favor of Trump's gag order, I do kind of wonder if I'd even notice if all of those agencies just disappeared from the face of the earth.

      I'm 46 years old and have lived in Los Angeles most of my life. I remember the 1970s when we regularly had days where it was unsafe to run and play outside due to smog.

      Now? I can literally look out my window and see the positive effects of the existence of the EPA.

      But this of course is anecdotal.

      Fortunately, you don't have to take my word for it. We have science*! http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/03/150304-los-angeles-smog-children-health-environment/

      *Funded in part by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the NIH, which is also subject to the Trump administration's gag order

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 5:39pm

        Re: Re: Hm

        There are SMART things that can be done and have been done to clean the air and then there's getting on your knee's with a manual tooth brush scrubbing that last little bit of crap. That will make almost zero difference and increase costs onto the consumers in much higher energy bills, and for what?

        By the way, C.A.R.B, the California version of the Federal EPA with even stronger standers, have done really DUMB things in the past like requiring MTBE into the gas to supposedly make it cleaner burning. Even though warned by experts before hand, still did it. That crap got into the water supply and lest a bad taste in the water and polluted the water ways. They finally stopped that crap. Yet you put all your faith into them to do the right thing.

        http://www.wnd.com/1997/07/3114/
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTBE_controversy

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 7:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: Hm

          Yes, someone did something wrong once. Let's shut the government down.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 7:33pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Hm

            It's not the wrong once that's the problem, it's the repeated efforts of wrong that the problem.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 4:44am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hm

              Back to the smog then, got it.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 10:10am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hm

                The police are always right or fully justified in any action they take against citizens.

                Civil forfeiture is a perfectly apt way to control criminal behaviour as it only affects criminals.

                Political campaign contributions are the best way to support all politicians because this can never be abused.

                etc, etc, etc.

                You example of smog is a furphey. For everything a government might get right, it gets magnitude of orders more things wrong. Until governments (politicians, judges, civil servants and law enforcement, etc) are open and are actually responsible to the citizenry then there will always be problems and abuses. Anything that they actually get right is a gift horse.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Thad, 30 Jan 2017 @ 2:27pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hm

              It's not the wrong once that's the problem, it's the repeated efforts of wrong that the problem.

              Which is why we should totally remove oversight from the oil and pharmaceutical industries, obviously.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        OldMugwump (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 7:28pm

        Re: Re: Hm

        There's a difference between having laws limiting how much pollution is allowed (which I support, within reason), and having a whole federal agency like the EPA.

        If the EPA disappeared, that would not prevent enforcement of existing laws, or private parties suing polluters in court.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Paul, 24 Jan 2017 @ 7:55pm

          Re: Re: Re: Hm

          The EPA is the only group tasked with enforcing those laws on clean air etc. Shut the EPA down and some states would have only civil suits as the only way to stop firms from breaking the law.

          In addition many parts of the law are highly technical and require a lot of science to bring a suit. Science the common man does not have access to.

          It would become open season on ignoring air scrubbers and dumping waste, because firms would no there is no more cops to check.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 4:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Hm

          I think the federal government might pull a bit more weight than one individual and given the resources and attitudes of those who willfully pollute our environment, I think it is needed.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 25 Jan 2017 @ 5:55am

          Re: Re: Re: Hm

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          DannyB (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:05am

          Re: Re: Re: Hm

          Private parties should not have to sue polluters in court. Why should the public have to expend their personal resources to enforce the laws? Isn't that was taxes are for? Aren't conservatives for letting people keep their own resources?

          I suppose we could just get rid of all local police. If you get robbed, you could find out for yourself who did it, and sue them. If if a member of your family is murdered, you could figure out for yourself who did it, and sue.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 5:06pm

      Re: Hm

      You're delusional.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:56am

      Re: Hm

      I hardly care enough about any gov't agency to pee on it, if it catches fire, but having the White House try to suppress any of them is ENTIRELY WORTHY OF NOTE.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 3:23pm

    Trump's Amerika

    Most of the people working in these agencies are civil servants, not political appointees, and their work is not at all political.

    When truth is the enemy, all statements not approved in advance are counter revolutionary and must be suppressed for the good of the state.

    I'm not at all shocked or surprised by this policy except in that it took until today to leak. You should be looking for the suppression of "fake" or "irresponsible" news outlets next.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 3:55pm

      Re: Trump's Amerika

      More like a new Ministry of Truth to keep the whistling down. "We have always been at war with Eurasia"...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 12:01pm

      Re: Trump's Amerika

      I bet that as soon as the administration is aware of the reporting links they will be blocked and/or monitored for use at every federal facility.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 3:34pm

    Hopefully Trump doesn't go after the AP like Obama did

    I hope Trump doesn't secretly investigate the AP the way that Obama did. Hopefully he doesn't use the IRS to do that either like Obama did.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      sigalrm (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 3:50pm

      Re: Hopefully Trump doesn't go after the AP like Obama did

      no need to investigate when you have Alternafacts at your disposal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 4:55pm

      Re: Hopefully Trump doesn't go after the AP like Obama did

      IIRC, the only 501c application that was rejected during the 2012/2013 irs story was from a liberal group and no conservative groups had their applications rejected.

      But listening to the manufactured outrage one would've thought it quite the opposite.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 5:07pm

      Re: Hopefully Trump doesn't go after the AP like Obama did

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 5:39pm

      Re: Hopefully Trump doesn't go after the AP like Obama did

      Once again, the people who don't play party politics comes to the defense of their party. :) You guys make this too easy.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 5:51pm

        Re: Re: Hopefully Trump doesn't go after the AP like Obama did

        You've failed to notice that the responses didn't play party politics. Unless you count partisan fake news as a defining trait of YOUR party.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Rapnel (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 4:03pm

    (kshchskt) This is the captain speaking, obviously (krschkt) Captain Jones, not captain obvious (krscht) Right, anyway (kcht) we're experiencing some pre-turbulence turbulence right now and the tower (kschkt) The tower says we're in for a rough ride (kchtskt) (..awkward delay..) (kchsst) So please stay in your seats with your seat belts fastened and please let the pretty stewardess kiss you goodbye. But not really, the pretty one is my wife. (kcht) Good luck next time and thank you for flying We Deserve This Airlines and we hope you'll fly with us the next time you feel like visiting Not Giving One Fuck About What Happens in Reality Island (kcht) Enjoy the rest of the flight (krchst)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 24 Jan 2017 @ 4:35pm

      Re:

      You know most people didn't vote for the current President, right?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 4:37pm

        Re: Re:

        Most people say Obamacare should be repealed, so should we repeal it?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Rapnel (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 5:43pm

        Re: Re:

        (kshchk) Eh? (kchkt) What difference could that ever possibly make, ever, passenger person? (kchk) You know he's the president (kchk) right? Same flight, same rules (kchkt) Buckle up, cowboy. (kcht)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 7:43pm

        Re: Re:

        Considering the State of the Union, you are correct that most people didn't vote for this President. But you should be more careful, since those who didna vote, didna vote for Hilary either.

        What was the actual turnout? If only 40% actually voted and all of those voted for Trump, then you would still be correct and completely wrong at the same time.

        If you aren't willing to cast a vote, you don't have the right (as a legitimate, bona fide right) to complain. If you did, then you do have a legitimate, bona fide right to complain.

        If you won't pick up the responsibility, then you don't have the privileges that goes with it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Paul, 24 Jan 2017 @ 8:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Your vote does not count. If you live in Cali, Oregon, or Washington then your going to vote for Clinton in the last election. If you live in most lesser populated states your voting for Trump. Why? Because demographics say you are.

          Only a few states have swing electoral power, only a few people have any real power over our current process. Because of that your vote does not really do any good in today's world.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 8:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Wrong, completely wrong. your vote always counts, it may not be part of the winning group, but it always counts. However, if you don't vote, it never counts.

            If the number of no-voters actually did vote, the results obtained will be different and may be the opposite of what is currently expected.

            It is a privilege and a responsibility to cast your vote. So man up and vote (or if you are a woman, woman up and vote).

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Designerfx (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 8:22pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              This is untrue. Gerrymandering ensures that your vote doesn't always count, because even if you vote 99% democrat and 1% republicans vote in your area the repub will get the house seat.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 3:05am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Gerrymandering is a later stage symptom of problems in the voting system. it also reinforces existing problems with voting rules.

                Ultimately the State Governments must be banned from writing federal Voting Laws.

                It Only takes (1) one Rouge State Governor/Legislature Set to put in place a Gerrymander on that states federal seats.

                This usurps the rights of Citizens in the Nation that live in that State to self-determination.

                So States write state voting laws, Federals write Federal voting laws. Every citizen only needs to understand 1 set of consistent rules. State residents retain the enjoyment of their states voting rules.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 4:04am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                You don't understand Gerrymandering. If you did then you would know how it works and that what you have said is incorrect.

                I know of one state in Australia that the incumbent left-wing party used gerrymandering to great effect to ensure that they remained in power. However, the demographics changed over time (a few short years, where their voting base moved location for work purposes) and they lost power and the following right-wing party kept the gerrymander in place to maintain rule. That left-wing party over subsequent decades complained about the injustice of the gerrymander and blamed the ruling right-wing party of being the originator of it.

                The current system of voting in the USA should devolve to a gerrymander. If you actually want this to change, you need to change how you vote.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Paul, 25 Jan 2017 @ 5:09am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Unlike other parts of the world, many people in the US don't have the ability to just move to undo gerrymandering. Even if people moved in 10 years the lines will follow. For the most part the goal has been to make as many districts 99% democratic voters as you can to limit total number of seats democrats actually get. This results in large population centers being single districts while rural areas can be cut up in a 60/40 split favoring republicans. This has been done so well that republicans are often only weak at the primary level and the party mantra of the "true republican" allows for more and more extreme candidates to push out the sane republicans.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:43am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    That's a really good plan to solve gerrymandering - rely upon the citizens to pack up and move.

                    Dear constituents, since your government am too damned lazy to correct their own screw ups - fix it yourselves - just pack up your crap and move. See? wasn't that simple?

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 10:55am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      ... and as soon as everyone has left the lonely government will finally wake up, say "wtf", and gerrymandering will be gone forever.

                      - the end

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 3:19pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    You misunderstand, the party that created the gerrymander situation lost power because economically their power base had to move because jobs moved.

                    Secondly, you could always arrange for a direct proportional representation system but this has the side effect of creating even more politicians. Then each politician directly represents a specific number of people and his vote has that same value. Pollie A represents 100,000 people he gets 1 vote. Pollie B represents 200,000 people, he gets 2 votes. If he direct support base falls below 10,000 he's no longer able to represent anyone.

                    Select base level representation based on population size. The moon is a harsh mistress.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:06am

        Re: Re:

        You know most people didn't vote for the current President, right?

        More fake news.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It is a well established fact that Dumpf lost by millions of votes. What exactly do you think refutes this?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 7:18am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You know most people didn't vote for the current President, right?

          More fake news.

          That part really chafes your ass, doesn't it, along with the abysmal inauguration numbers?

          It's so irritating that such a bigly president can't just let it go.

          Sad.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Roger Strong (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 7:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Images can be deceptive. Trump's crowd was by no means any smaller. It's just that so many of his supporters were wearing white hoods.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 7:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Trump, it's bad enough you troll twitter. Now you're down here in the Techdirt comment mines, don't you have a country to run?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 4:36pm

    "... and stay tuned for the hourly RealNews, the only Officially Sanctioned news agency on air..."

    Given the first possible reason I can think of for such a gag-order is to keep the agencies from releasing anything that might be 'inconvenient' to the administration, either what they're doing or what they're saying, I'd say that after a move like this assuming they're going to be lying through their teeth in the near future at the very least would probably be a safe bet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 5:22pm

      Re: "... and stay tuned for the hourly RealNews, the only Officially Sanctioned news agency on air..."

      They've been lying through their dentures for more than a year before the election. Their base prefers a lie they want to hear than the truth they do not want to hear.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 4:58am

        Re: Re: "... and stay tuned for the hourly RealNews, the only Officially Sanctioned news agency on air..."

        What - exactly - did who publish where that is not factual?

        Extras points for using facts rather than innuendo.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 10:58am

        Re: Re: "... and stay tuned for the hourly RealNews, the only Officially Sanctioned news agency on air..."

        "Their base prefers a lie they want to hear than the truth they do not want to hear."

        and what have the Trumpettes said that you would consider to be factual?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 5:14pm

    This is a temporary measure until the press officers (political officers, for any Russians here) are appointed. Look at the last Republican presidency for examples.

    Like the guy who Bush II appointed as press officer of NASA for having previously worked in the Bush II/Cheney election campaign. He immediately set about ensuring that NASA didn't contradict creationism or climate denial.

    He ordered the NASA website designer to add the word "theory" after every occurrence of the phrase Big Bang, because it was a religious issue. He declared NASA climate scientists dishonest, while lying on his NASA résumé about having a college degree.

    Other political appointees at the National Park Service removed any Grand Canyon literature that contradicted young-Earth creationism and replaced it with creationist literature and plaques.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 6:09pm

      Re:

      Mostly good, but one point - the Big Bang Theory IS just a theory.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        tracyanne, 24 Jan 2017 @ 10:29pm

        Re: Re:

        So is the Theory of Gravity, the Theory of Electromagnetism, the Theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun, The Theory of Evolution, Black Hole Theory, String Theory, Atomic Theory...

        My God there's nothing there it's all just a Theory.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        DannyB (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:23am

        Re: Re:

        When something is elevated to the status of being an actual theory in science, that means it has been pretty thoroughly scrutinized. It cannot be contradicted by any existing facts, and it must have predictive power.

        For example the Theory of Relativity explained facts that could not be reconciled at the time. It also made predictions that could be and were tested at the time, and predictions that could not be tested until later. Despite how unintuitive relativity is, it is the best model of large scale reality that we have. Without relativity GPS would not work to make your in car navigation possible.

        The theory of Quantum Mechanics explains existing observations and makes predictions. It is also weird. Without it we would never have had the transistor which is based on a quantum understanding of P-N junctions.

        The Big Bang is a theory. But it explains all observable facts. The Big Bang would be the most brilliantly bright event in the universe. So why don't we see the brilliant bright light all over the universe today? We do! But it's the cosmic microwave background radiation. As per the big bang, space is still stretching, and as space stretches, all those 13.7 billion year old waves of bright light have been stretches as the space stretches. That names all those waves longer, and therefore lower frequency. Therefore no longer visible light but microwaves. And all of the math works out perfectly. And there is way more than this to back up the big bang.

        If you want to have an alternate creation belief, fine. But it probably should include the big bang. If Adam and Eve cut down a tree, would the tree trunk have rings indicating years of growth? I believe it would, because the entire universe would have a back story full of things that happened just yesterday, last week, and 13.7 billion years ago. But that's not science. Not any more than my claim that the entire universe was created by my cat last Thursday, and it has a back story that includes all of our memories prior to last Thursday. (And all TechDirt posting history.)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Clearly you do not know what you are talking about, because the earth is only 6000 years old, humans existed along side dinosaurs, and the earth is the center of the universe. Anyone saying otherwise is guilty of ... hmmm, I wonder what they will end up calling it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          JoeCool (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 7:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          There are observations that are CONSISTENT with the theory. That doesn't mean it's been proven, just that it hasn't been disproven. For the record, I don't believe the universe or the Earth are 4000 years old or whatever nonsense the religious crazies claim, I just have this thing about mainstream science proclaiming all their theories as if they were laws when all they really have are consistent observations and not proof. They make good models, and will do until a better model is found. The problem is that they actually believe their models are the truth when they are only models.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            tracyanne, 25 Jan 2017 @ 8:15pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Proof exists only in mathematics.

            For everything else, a well supported Theory, IS the Truth until a better Theory comes along. After that it isn't.

            Get over yourself.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Roger Strong (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 8:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Nothing is ever "proven." What we have in the case is two competing theories:

            a) "The Big Bang theory", backed by overwhelming evidence. Many different kinds of evidence, from many different sources, peer reviewed by many different scientists.

            b) The invisible magic sky fairy did it. No evidence.

            Very often a new model is an improved version of the old model, not a replacement. We still teach the Bohr model of the atom in grade 9. A more current, more detailed model gets taught in grade 12. Which doesn't so much replace the Bohr atom as build on it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            DannyB (profile), 26 Jan 2017 @ 8:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That's another thing about a theory: it can be disproven by facts, either already existing facts or newly discovered facts.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 5:21pm

    Presidential Authority

    Does Trump really have the authority to gag all these agencies? I know the president has the authority to appoint the people who lead these agencies, but don't the agencies themselves enjoy some degree of independence from the president?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Manabi (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 7:09pm

      Re: Presidential Authority

      They're part of the executive branch, so he does have the authority to do so. However, he will have trouble if he tries to fire people. In general, civil service employees at or below the pay level of GS-15 cannot be fired on a presidential whim. Those above that pay level can be and are political appointees. People at GS-15 are senior employees who know how the system works and have access to information before their politically appointed bosses do. Combine that with the gag order and leaks of "censored" information will probably become quite common. (Censored here referring to information that Trump's administration tries to prevent being published.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        shanen (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 1:30am

        How to politicize the civil service

        Nice theory, but in practice the so-called Republicans have worked hard to politicize the civil service. Rather early to say for #PresidentTweety, but the big dick Cheney was a master of twisting the rules. (Rumsfeld was also pretty good at being bad, but Cheney was the master.) President Obama inherited a federal bureaucracy that had already been twisted and I'm sure the process will only accelerate now.

        A few examples? Since it was hard to directly fire people for political reasons, they focused on encouraging the "wrong people" to quit. Obvious methods are by preventing promotions or by assigning them to unpleasant work under unpleasant bosses.

        On the hiring side, they focused strongly on getting the right people into the filtering process. Again, the hiring process is supposed to be non-political, but as long as you have a good supply of applicants you're always looking for reasons to eliminate candidates. Much easier when you know what you want, and they did.

        P.S. I briefly worked for the federal civil service, but never seriously considered it as a career. Sort of a disclaimer?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        sorrykb (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 12:15pm

        Re: Re: Presidential Authority

        Manabi wrote:

        They're part of the executive branch, so he does have the authority to do so. However, he will have trouble if he tries to fire people. In general, civil service employees at or below the pay level of GS-15 cannot be fired on a presidential whim.

        Except... "House Republicans this week reinstated an arcane procedural rule that enables lawmakers to reach deep into the budget and slash the pay of an individual federal worker — down to $1 — a move that threatens to upend the 130-year-old civil service." From: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/house-republicans-revive -obscure-rule-that-could-allow-them-to-slash-the-pay-of-individual-federal-workers-to-1/2017/01/04/4 e80c990-d2b2-11e6-945a-76f69a399dd5_story.html?utm_term=.943d63c2323d

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Paul, 26 Jan 2017 @ 9:29am

          Re: Re: Re: Presidential Authority

          Does this mean we could slash military members to $1 but force the contract to continue? Wow, that could not be abused ever.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:26am

      Re: Presidential Authority

      You can bet he does! If he has the power to use the military to shut down both houses of Congress by force, then he most certainly has the power to gag federal agencies.

      Oh, wait. You said 'authority' not power.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 6:09pm

    Foia request?

    Cant a reporter just file a daily FOIA request for information? Or are those avenues also removed?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:27am

      Re: Foia request?

      File away. Your FOIA request will be reviewed in due time. We'll get back to you with a progress report every one quarter of a galactic turn.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Eldakka (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 7:01pm

    No social media will be going out. A Digital Strategist will be coming on board to oversee social media. Existing, individually controlled, social media accounts may become more centrally controlled.

    's/Digital Strategist/Political Commissar/g'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 7:46pm

    Relax everyone, Trump is just helping the legislators move faster to impeachment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 7:49pm

    If do they do leak anything via Wikileaks, they better use a VPN to do so. Wikileaks does use a database backend that the Feds can break into to get the metadata and trace down any leaker.

    I do believe that is how they Bradley/Chelsea Manning, in a way where the fourth amendment would not get in the way. They could break into the MySQL database backend, and get the data they needed, and Wikileaks would never know the Feds were there, because MySQL keeps no logs.

    Also, breaking into the backend also means the Feds can ignore the fourth amendment, because they circumvent having to get a warrant.

    So if you are affected by this, and intend to leak anything to the press, better get yourself a VPN, so that if the Feds break into the database backend on WikiLeaks, or wherever you post, the metadata they get will only show the IP address of the VPN. Just make sure the VPN, itself, you use does not keep any logs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Paul, 24 Jan 2017 @ 8:11pm

      Re:

      No sane person would leak anything with out being damm sure it won't come back to him. Tor from a pulblic library or using an open wifi connection with someone else's laptop (a kids I hope) is the minimum here.

      Any real leaks will be done with private key encryption or more.

      Many news outlets are setting up processes for just this

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        sorrykb (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 8:39pm

        Re: Re:

        No sane person would leak anything about the Trump administration to Wikileaks.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 9:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You are right there, becuause, like I said, the Feds can break into the MySQL backend on WikiLeaks, get metadata needed, and Julian Assange will never know the Feds were there.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 1:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I think his point went over your head.

            Wikileaks made it a personal crusade to get Trump elected. It stretches belief that they would publish information to damage him now.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 5:02am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Smart people would find a more trusted venue.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 9:18pm

        Re: Re:

        No matter what computers you want to use, after you have posted the leak, you will then want to wipe the hard disk clean with KillDisk, then reinstall the operating system all all your programs, so that if your computer is examined, they will not get any evidence.

        I like to take road trips all over North America, and I do this with my laptops, before crossing the border into either Canada or the USA, so anything else I don't know about that might get me denied entry and/or put in the local jail cannot be recovered. And unlike EE, KillDisk does not leave any "telltale" evidence of its use.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 3:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If you are traveling all the time wouldn't be easier to just have a prepared clean hard-disk just before you leave the US swap out your US local Hardrive, put in your "Clean" disk,
          if some agency confiscates your stuff, well you know your clean, you only face the hard slog of having your property restored to you.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 4:12am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Not good enough. Take an oxy-acetylene torch to the disk drive and melt the platters to totally unusable and unrecognisable material. Buy a brand new disk and then format and install your new o/s, etc. Change any parts that leave identifying information around and destroy these as well. So perhaps, just buy/build a new computer for your use.

          All disk-erasure software leaves behind evidence to allow recovery. The techniques have been know for at least a decade, if not two.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          DannyB (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:29am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Do you know about Intel's Management Engine, and similar technology in AMD processors?

          Your computer is already pre-compromised at the hardware level, before even the motherboard firmware is executed to begin the bloat loader process. And has been compromised for several years now.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 10:09pm

      Re:

      *If do they do leak anything via Wikileaks, they better use a VPN to do so. Wikileaks does use a database backend that the Feds can break into to get the metadata and trace down any leaker.

      I do believe that is how they Bradley/Chelsea Manning, in a way where the fourth amendment would not get in the way. They could break into the MySQL database backend, and get the data they needed, and Wikileaks would never know the Feds were there, because MySQL keeps no logs.*

      FWIW, Manning was caught because she reached out to Adrian Lamo, thinking Lamo would be a kindred spirit. But Lamo immediately went to the feds and handed over Manning. https://www.wired.com/2010/06/leak/

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Apollo (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 2:24pm

        Re: Re:

        Most of those foreign VPN's are owned by the CIA if not outright, through agreements with other five eyes countries.

        Oh, I see you linked over to your compatriots at that moron-a-thon CIA-owned and operated, publication: Wired

        Obama LOVED Wired! Remember when one of their bloggers wrote had a hissy fit about materials in the FBI libraries, well then Obama had the libraries PURGED of materials which Muslim terrorists might find offensive, and ordered intelligence personnel to undergo sensitivity training.

        Yep, Obama, Wired...Mike Masnick....all impartial shills...don't mind me, go ahead use those VPN's suckers.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    tracyanne, 24 Jan 2017 @ 10:36pm

    Spamgourmet

    Strips the metadata.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 11:07pm

      Re: Spamgourmet

      But the logs on MediaWiki, the software that Wiki-like sites, like WikiLeaks and Wikipedia use, do record the IP address of where a post was made from, and will be in the database. This is why anyone who posts to WikiLeaks needs to use a VPN, to hide their IP address, so your "Spamgourmet" will not do much good there.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        tracyanne, 25 Jan 2017 @ 12:43am

        Re: Re: Spamgourmet

        Interestingly the IP address of the sender will be that of the Spamgourmet server, and not that of the person sending the email, because the meta data of the sender is stripped before the email is redirected on to the recipient.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    trump vader, 25 Jan 2017 @ 2:59am

    @tracyanne

    get ready for virus problems without proper authentication

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      tracyanne, 25 Jan 2017 @ 2:51pm

      Re: @tracyanne

      Not sure what in the hell that means, but it's nice that someone noticed me. I thought for a while there I was invisible.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Lord Lidl of Cheem (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:37am

    And now he's getting the EPA to remove the climate change page from their website! :(

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 7:22am

      Re:

      That's how they "fix" things - just ignore them.

      You really weren't expecting republicans to work on anything were you?

      They've gotten so lazy over the last 8 years doing absolutely nothing, that they've become exactly the welfare, do-nothing bums that they and their followers can't stand.

      Expect more of the same from this welfare republican congress. Perhaps making them take drug tests in order to serve would stimulate them a bit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mattmon (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 7:13am

    Make Whistleblowing Great Again

    So now Trump is going to Make Whistleblowing Great Again

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 8:01am

    Tell me again how both parties are totally the same. I need a good laugh.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    stosh, 25 Jan 2017 @ 10:36am

    "Most of the people working in these agencies are civil servants, not political appointees, and their work is not at all political."

    Non-political, and unicorns are real...unsurprisingly 90%+ of these paragons of virtue contribute and vote for a single party.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 10:42am

    Is this normal?

    *It's possible to say that this is just the Trump administration hitting the pause button to figure out what's going on before moving forward again*
    Is it really "possible" to say this? Did Obama or Bush II do this? If not, then I don't think it's a "pause button" as it is "censoring" and "controlling the message".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Apollo (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 2:09pm

    You mentioned Obama once. Congratulations! You win a Pulitzer!

    I am proud of you people. You had an article attacking Trump, but you did make a half ass attempt at being 'fair' by mentioning Obama precisely once, at the very end of your article,

    ...by which point of course most of your readership gotten bored/jittery-from-opiod withdrawal/triggered and went straight to commenting about "science" and how this and that, and then patted themselves on the back on how knowledgeable they all were, and stupid poo poo head trump is dum dum.

    However, none of this matters. I did CTRL + F and searched for Obama, and there it was! Good Job.

    I congratulate you!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 3:18pm

      Re: You mentioned Obama once. Congratulations! You win a Pulitzer!

      Your blog sucks.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2017 @ 7:02pm

        Re: Re: You mentioned Obama once. Congratulations! You win a Pulitzer!

        So does your Mom's face, but it didn't bother me one bit when she went down on me last night.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Apollo (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 2:14pm

    oschit!

    I just realized that this was a Mike Masnick article, and I just complimented him.

    Oh well, I guess even an alarmist nonsense-peddler deserves a pat on head...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 26 Jan 2017 @ 4:45am

    So it turns out Trump is not just bad but abysmally bad. And it's been 6 days since he moved into the White House. Fun times ahead people! If the US can survive Trump there will be a lot to clean up. If they survive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jan 2017 @ 6:40am

    Trump's opponents are in favour of leaks (again)? I thought they hated "russian hacks". What's with all that flip-flopping?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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