Seven prominent national security whistleblowers Monday called for a number of wide-ranging reforms – including passage of the “Surveillance State Repeal Act,” which would repeal the USA Patriot Act – in an effort to restore the Constitutionally guaranteed 4th Amendment right to be free from government spying.

Several of the whistleblowers also said that the recent lenient sentence of probation and a fine for General David Petraeus – for his providing of classified information to his mistress Paula Broadwell – underscores the double standard of justice at work in the area of classified information handling.

Speakers said Petraeus’s favorable treatment should become the standard applied to defendants who are actual national security whistleblowers, such as Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Jeffrey Sterling (who has denied guilt but who nevertheless faces sentencing May 11 for an Espionage Act conviction for allegedly providing classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen).

In a news conference sponsored by the ExposeFacts project of the Institute for Public Accuracy at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., speakers included William Binney, former high-level National Security Agency (NSA) official; Thomas Drake, former NSA senior executive; Daniel Ellsberg, former U.S. military analyst and the Pentagon Papers whistleblower; Ray McGovern, formerly CIA analyst who chaired the National Intelligence Estimates in the 1980s; Jesselyn Radack, former Justice Department trial attorney and ethics adviser, and now director of National Security and Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project; Coleen Rowley, attorney and former FBI special agent; J. Kirk Wiebe, 32-year former employee at the NSA.

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Antiwar.com Editorial Director Justin Raimondo spoke to Bill Meyer of KMED Radio in Medford, Oregon. The subject was Raimondo’s recent article, “We’ll Never Limit Government Unless We Ditch Foreign Intervention

Listen to the interview here.

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Press TV called early this morning seeking comments on an article about Hillary Clinton’s promise to “topple” the top 1%. That topic was too good to resist; here’s the link to their page and file of my monologue, and here are some outtakes:

*Hillary Clinton is perhaps the most corrupt Secretary of State in American history. The Clinton Foundation was getting massive windfalls from foreign governments and entities at the same time that Hillary was doing favors for them.

* For Hillary Clinton to base her presidential campaign on “toppling the 1%” is like her husband campaigning in favor of sexual abstinence. Hillary is apparently basing her presidential hopes on the unlimited gullibility of American voters.

* The real 1% issue is how the Federal Reserve has rigged the economic game to crucify the middle class with zero interest rates. Folks who relied on their savings have been devastated at the same time the Federal Reserve artificially inflates stock values to benefit the richest Americans.

* Instead of fixing this injustice, Hillary wants politicians to have even more power to dictate who gets what. But Hillary’s entire career proves that politicians cannot be trusted with arbitrary power.

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The eloquent Will Grigg in an outstanding interview with Ron Paul and Daniel McAdams, discussing his article Protecting the Vicious, Punishing the Virtuous: Marijuana Prohibition and Idaho’s Prison-Industrial Complex.

My favorite coinages from the interview: Will referring to the CCA-run Idaho State Correctional Center as a “Stygian pit of abuse and despair” and Ron referring to CPS’s abduction of marijuana activist Shona Banda’s son as “Child Forfeiture.”

Be sure to read Will Grigg’s outstanding essays at http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com

Former CIA Director David Petraeus just got sentenced to two years of probation for leaking highly sensitive information to his mistress and then lying to the FBI about it.

Petraeus had asked to enter the court room via a backdoor, so he would not be photographed, but he was forced to enter the courthouse in the normal fashion.

As happens with big-wigs, Petraeus’ lawyer cited the 34 letters of support from other big-wigs sent on his behalf. Petraeus admitted his crimes and apologized to those he hurt.

The only “surprise” of the hearing is that, rather than getting slapped with a $40,000 fine, Judge David Keesler more than doubled the fine to send a message.

To $100,000.

According to SpeakerPedia, Petraeus makes upwards of $132,750 for each speech.

In other words, this fine, meant to be especially harsh so as to send a message about the gravity of Petraeus’ crimes, is about 75% of one speaker’s fee for Petraeus.

Investigative journalist Marcy Wheeler writes the “Right to Know” column for ExposeFacts. She is best known for providing in-depth analysis of legal documents related to “war on terrorism” programs and civil liberties. Wheeler blogs at emptywheel.net and publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the Iraq War and Out a Spy. Wheeler won the 2009 Hillman Award for blog.

Reprinted with permission from ExposeFacts.

AIPAC’s AIEF Briefing Book Leaked

An American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF) briefing book (PDF) from a December 2014 congressional staff junket to Israel may be the first piece of “educational” information ever to leak out of the captive AIPAC shell organization to the public.

AIEF was incorporated in 1988 to promote a more “balanced and realistic” understanding of American interests in the Near East and within the general public and among policy-makers, academics and journalists. Although it promised the IRS in its application for tax-exempt status that “All research produced and published will be made available to the general public” AIEF has never complied. Its relatively new, single-page website contains no information on education programs.

Only on Legistorm is AIEF’s main accomplishment readily apparent: sending members of Congress and their families on all-expense paid trips to Israel – over 1,000 since the year 2001.

That no AIEF briefing books are publicly available should come as no surprise to the observant. AIEF is not functionally separate from AIPAC, a lobby for the Israeli government ever since it split off from the defunct American Zionist Council in 1962. AIEF is housed in the very same offices as AIPAC , with 66% of its board of directors drawn from AIPAC. (PDF) On annual tax charitable returns, AIEF (which raises $45 million in yearly tax-deductible donations) claims to have no employees. It doesn’t need any since according to materials accompanying the briefing book AIPAC employees like the “Grassroots and Missions Director” and “Israel Seminars Assistant” accompany travelers to Israel.

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