Wednesday, December 5, 2012

just take a taxi.

A man was pushed into the tracks while a train was passing by. There is a picture taken by a freelance photographer of the New York Post of the man standing in the tracks and watching the train come towards him. The New York Police have the suspect in custody, but have yet to charge him for anything. 

I thought that since it wasn't politics, the articles from the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal would be relatively similar, there doesn't seem to be a side to take, just information.
WP's headline reads "Controversy grows over published photo of fatal NY subway push as NYC police question suspect" while the WSJ's is simply, "Subway push subject is questioned." The WP led me to believe that the photo taken would be the center of the article while the WSJ would stay short and to the point, much like the rest of their stories. 

Well, the photo was mentioned in both articles, asking the question of if the photographer had time to take photos, he had time to help the guy get out of the tracks. I guess it's all relative, it depends on where he was and where the train was, if he put his camera together as he was running to the scene, if he was strong enough to lift the man out in time to get himself to safety as well. That being said, there was surveillance video taken at the scene and no one on the subway platform tries to help. Maybe they didn't see him? Maybe they too were stunned just as much as the man who was pushed was?

In this case, the Wall Street Journal offered more information of what happened that day. I also thought it was interesting that the WSJ named the suspect and talked to people who worked with him (he was a street vendor at the subway) and suggested that the charges would not come until there was a line up for witnesses. They also gave a background of the man, Han, who was going into the city to have his Korean visa renewed. Police are also having a toxicology test done since an empty pint of vodka was found with Han's things on the platform. Could he have been intoxicated and started a fight with the man who pushed him?

The Washington Post did what they said they would do, focused on the moral dilemma of the photo and nothing else. It's proof once again that a reader should never just have one newspaper, for there can be alot they are missing out on. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

poking holes in the petraeus case.

As if the world had not heard it enough when they were in school, the past few weeks have been a true lesson in being careful what one posts on the internet. First with Malala and her blog on BBC about living under a terrorist regime and now with the thousands of emails that were uncovered between Director of the CIA, David Petraeus and biographer Patricia Broadwell. 
Jill Kelley, Florida Socialite as the newspapers call her, notified a personal contact in the FBI about the threatening emails from an anonymous source that she was receiving. Little did she know the task would unravel an affair and begin a full blown investigation, bringing three of her good friends shame and dishonor. Not only was the affair between Petraeus and Broadwell discovered, but so was the flirty relationship between Kelley and Allen, and the shirtless pictures the FBI contact sent to Kelley. With all of these affairs and sexting going on, what exactly are the intelligence agencies doing all day?
What was surprising about this story was not how the CIA never knew the affair was happening, the domino effect it had on other leaders of the military or intelligence, nor was it the way no one in the department thought this was important enough to inform the White House staff or members of Congress (which should have been seen as important due to the communication failure over the Benghazi situation, they should be doing everything possible for that not to happen again) but no, it was not any of these things. The most surprising happening was how the major newspapers had different takes on it. Not just different opinions or facts not matching up, the newspapers each wrote about something completely different. The New York Times wrote about privacy issues and the fear regular citizens have about posting online, the Wall Street Journal asked the military about how they felt, and the Washington Post focused on why the members of Congress were not informed and why the director was even asked to resign at all.  
The New York Times wrote “The F.B.I investigation that toppled the director of the C.I.A and has now entangled the top American commander in Afghanistan underscores a danger that civil libertarians have long warned about: that in policing the Web for crime, espionage and sabotage, government investigators will unavoidably invade the private lives of Americans.” 
The article questioned the tactics used to look into the private lives of those involved and what surveillance methods were used to track down emails and whatnot on the internet. Law enforcement claims they had a search warrant for most of the information and Jill Kelley gave them permission to access her computer to find the identity of the anonymous sender. It was then that they also found the original F.B.I agent in the case had sent shirtless photos of himself to her (Kelley).
“It is a particular problem with cyber investigations- they rapidly become open-ended because there’s such a huge quantity of information available and it’s so easily searchable,” marc Rotenburg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center said, adding, “If the C.I.A director can get caught, it’s pretty much open season on everyone else.”
The article brought up some other good points; the investigation has caused the “C.I.A without a permanent director at a time of urgent intelligence challenges in Syria, Iran, Libya, and beyond. The leader of the American-led effort to prevent a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan is distracted, at the least, by an inquiry into his email exchanges.” This is definitely food for thought, Petraeus was breaking the rules by having an affair but as soon as they (the C.I.A) cleared the question of who the mistress was and how much classified information she had in possession, shouldn’t the investigation been over with, did he really have to resign? On the flip side of that, it was breaking the rules and Petraeus and Allen are both responsible for a large amount of government intelligence and security, so they should expect everything they send and say would be scrutinized with the thought of “what if Russian or Chinese intelligence found the emails first?”
The article also brought up an interesting and unrelated fact concerning civil libertarians urging the Department of Homeland Security to take the role in cyber security from the National Security agency because, “the D.H.S, if far from entirely open to public scrutiny, is much less secretive than the N.S.A, the eavesdropping and code-breaking agency. To this day, N.S.A officials have revealed almost nothing about the warrantless wiretapping it conducted inside the United States in the hunt for terrorists in the years after 2001.” This agency is kind of terrifying.
This article was impressive; it made many good points and gave the reader something to think about.
The Wall Street Journal wrote something different as well; asking the military how they felt after finding out U.S Marine Corps Gen. John Allen was tangled in the investigation.
While Commander James Terry “shrugged off concerns that the scandal was affecting the mission,” many other officers and enlisted service members felt differently. “It’s death by a thousand paper cuts, it will never help Americans’ perception of us. They’ll always focus on the 2% we do wrong and not the 98% we do right,” lamented a U.S Marine colonel who asked to remain nameless.
The article ended with the quote from a U.S Marine, “I worked under General Allen in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s highly intelligent- one of our best leaders, I’d follow him to hell and back.”
In typical WSJ fashion, the story was short and to the point, excluding unnecessary details, rather than diving into all the salacious news of who had sex with who and whatnot. One thing that was noticed however was that they stated “Barack Obama put General Allen’s promotion as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s top commander on hold pending the investigations outcome.” But the New York Times said that General Allen was already NATO’s commander. This may be nothing at all, just something that was noticed.
The Washington Post stated that “Members of Congress still pushing for answers about why they weren’t informed of investigation sooner.”
Apparently, when investigators saw emails from Petraeus linked to the emails from the women who sent the threatening messages, they assumed his account had been hacked and that national security had been threatened (this seems like the time to tell the members of the White House and Congress). The article went on to talk about Broadwell being wary of Kelley’s relationship with Petraeus, Broadwell not being available for comment, and Petraeus expressing deep remorse for what had happened. An odd statement was, “Petraeus, a retired four star Army general who was once seen as a potential presidential candidate, said Friday that he was resigning as CIA chief because he had been involved in an extramarital affair. He has been married for 38 years and has two grown children, though he said in his resignation statement to CIA colleagues that he had been married for “over 37 years.” It may not be relevant, but it appeared to be a rather odd detail to harp on.
The mystery the Washington Post attempted to solve was why Petraeus was asked to resign even once it was declared that it was not a threat to national security and it was found that Broadwell did not know any information she was not cleared to know. They were not successful but did say that the F.B.I cleared him “they [the FBI] reviewed the evidence with him but did not suggest that he should resign or that he would be charged with a crime,” (maybe they had another way of reprimanding him other than asking for resignation) and then as soon as Clapper, the White House aid was notified, Petraeus was strongly urged to resign. “Clapper then spoke with Petraeus and urged him to resign, notifying the White House the next day. That sequence has become a source of controversy, raising questions among some members of Congress about why key intelligence committees were not notified earlier and why the FBI waited before informing the administration about a probe that had stumbled into embarrassing details about the CIA chief.”
Two conspiracies to this theory are that the White House administration thought that the investigation would hurt President Obama being reelected and another was that General Petraeus had a connection of withholding information about the Benghazi attack. The article tried to address both saying, “White House intelligence officials said again Saturday that there was no connection between Petraeus’ resignation and the controversy surrounding the deaths of four Americans in Libya in September.” Another US official said, “This is a very personal matter, not a matter of intelligence. There are protocols for this. I would imagine things have to cross a certain threshold before they are reportable.”
Let’s hope the government lowers the threshold, for there are many unanswered questions and somewhat sneaky details that make this case a much bigger deal than it needed to be.

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