Stories by Rob Margetta:
Jan. 12, 2015
After months of speculation about how the Federal Communications Commission would act on its new open Internet rule, the agency is beginning to show its cards, and lawmakers watching the net neutrality issue are starting to put plans of their own into play in reaction.
Jan. 12, 2015
While lawmakers have proved to be more than willing to weigh in on the Federal Communications Commission’s open Internet rule-making, and some have threatened legislation, the legislative branch likely isn’t the area of government that worries the FCC most.
Dec. 11, 2014
CIA Director John O. Brennan maintained his objections about a Senate Intelligence Committee report on the agency's post-9/11 interrogation program during a rare news conference Thursday, saying the use of enhanced techniques produced useful intelligence while adding it is impossible to know if that was because of those techniques.
"The cause and effect relationship between the use of EITs and useful information subsequently provided by the detainees is in my view unknowable," Brennan said.
Brennan also said he was troubled by the study's findings that the CIA for years misled the Congress, the White House and the public about the brutality of interrogation techniques, their effectiveness and how often they were used.
"The study's contention that we repeatedly and intentionally misled the public and the rest of the U.S. government rests on the committee's view that detainees subjected to EITs did not produce useful intelligence, a point on which we still fundamentally disagree."
Dec. 10, 2014
Two accidents in the commercial space industry this year — an unmanned rocket that exploded shortly after launch in the fall and an experimental suborbital craft that broke apart during flight shortly after — are almost sure to come up the next time a congressional committee discusses the private spacecraft market. But, experts say the incidents won’t have much of an effect on the sector’s increasing expansion.
Dec. 9, 2014
The blockbuster report on CIA interrogation practices after 9/11 from the Senate Intelligence Committee confirmed reports and answered scores of lingering questions about the Bush-era policies. But the report doesn’t provide a definitive accounting of exactly what detail White House staff knew about the program, and when they knew it.
Oct. 10, 2014
Papers from the Clinton White House released Friday detail much of the behind-the-scenes legal work of the White House as President Bill Clinton dealt with multiple scandals and controversies in his second term.
July 29, 2014
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy on Tuesday introduced a new surveillance overhaul bill that has the backing of civil liberties groups, but leaves an open question about what a House and Senate compromise on intelligence might look like.
Leahy’s bill would ban bulk government collection and storage of telephone metadata under Section 215 of the law known as the Patriot Act. If passed, the Vermont Democrat said the bill “would represent the most significant reform of government surveillance authorities since Congress passed the USA Patriot Act 13 years ago.”
May 21, 2014
Lawmakers from both parties regard with something close to hostility a congressionally mandated ban affecting the contents of the cable boxes that sit atop millions of Americans’ television sets. Texas Democratic Rep. Gene Green said the ban has “cost consumers and business over a billion dollars since 2007 in impeding innovation and efficiency,” and he has already tried to kill it with stand-alone legislation.
May 21, 2014
Most of the language in a complex satellite and cable broadcast bill working its way through Congress deals with issues the average pay-TV viewer won’t see up close, ranging from retransmission negotiations to media ownership. But one section of the measure would affect a piece of hardware that sits in the TV tuner of every viewer’s cable box — and the makers of third-party units like TiVo say the bill is about to make those consumers’ lives much harder.
March 12, 2014
In the aftermath of major hacking attacks at retail giants Target and Neiman Marcus, lawmakers have been searching for a way to move forward on data security legislation and seem to have arrived on one area of limited bipartisan consensus — creating a federal standard requiring companies to disclose data breaches.
Feb. 5, 2014
Retailers including Target and Neiman Marcus made the rounds on Capitol Hill this week, testifying at three days’ worth of hearings with the dual mission of apologizing for recent large-scale data breaches and discouraging any new regulatory legislation.
Feb. 5, 2014
While lawmakers this week were looking to get to the bottom of the recent data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus and possibly craft legislation to respond to those attacks, they were faced with a stark reality from the investigations: They and the public won’t be getting solid answers anytime soon.
Jan. 15, 2014
Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures about the agency’s surveillance programs have left Congress stuck between two hugely influential groups: a technology industry that’s long been unhappy about forced cooperation with intelligence operations and an intelligence community that says the work is vital to national security.
Jan. 15, 2014
Thanks to federal restrictions, technology companies and communications providers largely have their hands tied when it comes to providing the public with information about how much customer data they turn over to intelligence agencies.
July 12, 2013
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s decision to leave the Cabinet this fall means President Barack Obama will have to find a replacement just as deliberations over an immigration overhaul may reach their peak.
June 13, 2013
Top law enforcement and intelligence officials fiercely defended the Obama administration’s sweeping surveillance programs on Capitol Hill Thursday, emphasizing their legality, their record of success in thwarting terrorist attacks and the many opportunities lawmakers have had over the years to alter the programs that some are now criticizing as too intrusive.
June 12, 2013
In the Twitter age, apparently lawmakers don’t even need to wrap up their hearings before responding to news reports they don’t like, as BuzzFeed reporter Rosie Gray discovered Wednesday.
Jan. 17, 2013
Organizers of President Barack Obama’s second inauguration say they’ve made changes in security and logistics that should prevent some of the problems seen in 2008, but the size of the crowd, expected to be vastly smaller than four years ago, could be the biggest factor that determines how smoothly things run.
Dec. 14, 2012
Lawmakers concluded weeks ago that the possibility of passing a cybersecurity bill this session is gone, finished, dead and buried. Except it might not be, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said Friday.
Oct. 17, 2012
Immigration policy, a background issue for much of the presidential campaign, played a significant role in Tuesday night’s presidential debate, with both President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney going on the offensive.