The Criminal N.S.A.

An Op-Ed by Jennifer Granick and Christopher Sprigman, in The New York Times:

We may never know all the details of the mass surveillance programs, but we know this: The administration has justified them through abuse of language, intentional evasion of statutory protections, secret, unreviewable investigative procedures and constitutional arguments that make a mockery of the government’s professed concern with protecting Americans’ privacy. It’s time to call the N.S.A.’s mass surveillance programs what they are: criminal.

Donor bought Rolex watch for Virginia Gov. McDonnell, $15,000 in clothes for Governor's Wife

Carol Leonnig and Rosalind Helderman, at The Washington Post write:

A prominent political donor purchased a Rolex watch for Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, according to two people with knowledge of the gift, and the governor did not disclose it in his annual financial filings. The $6,500 luxury watch was provided by wealthy businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr., the people said. He is the chief executive of dietary supplement manufacturer Star Scientific and the person who paid for catering at the wedding of the governor’s daughter. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because of an ongoing federal investigation into the relationship between Williams and the McDonnell family. and later on in the same article They are also investigating other money provided to Maureen McDonnell, as well as expensive designer clothing — some bought in 2011 in New York City — according to people familiar with the inquiry. The shopping trip emanated from a social occasion with Williams and Maureen McDonnell shortly after the governor won election. The governor’s wife mentioned that she would need an inauguration dress, preferably one from the designer Oscar de la Renta, and would like Williams’s help getting one, according to two people familiar with her suggestion. Williams agreed to buy one for her, but a top staffer to the governor advised Williams and the first lady that such a gift was not allowed. A year later, the first lady contacted Williams to propose that he take her shopping at Bergdorf Goodman, the people familiar with the shopping said. In that store, Williams purchased an estimated $15,000 in clothing for Maureen McDonnell, they said.

Romney Spent $100,000 In Taxpayer Money To Conceal Digital Records

Alex Seitz-Wald writes on ThinkProgress:

Then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney spent almost $100,000 in taxpayer funds to replace computers when he left office “as part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret,” Reuters reports. ThinkProgress has previously noted, Romney led an obfuscation campaign that state officials described as “unheard of.” Staffers deleted emails, purchased official hard drives, and otherwise obliterating digital records of Romney’s time in office. … Now, according to Reuters, Romney used state funds to carry out this political activity:

The cleanup of records by Romney’s staff before his term ended included spending $205,000 for a three-year lease on new computers for the governor’s office, according to official documents and state officials. In signing the lease, Romney aides broke an earlier three-year lease that provided the same number of computers for about half the cost – $108,000. Lease documents obtained by Reuters under the state’s freedom of information law indicate that the broken lease still had 18 months to run. As a result of the change in leases, the cost to the state for computers in the governor’s office was an additional $97,000.