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Trump Announces One-Sided Plan To Meet With Video Game Makers Over Gun Violence

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In the conspiracy against video games that is now in full swing after the school shooting in Florida, it seems that it goes all the way to the top, by which I mean the recent comments by our Dear Leader, Donald Trump. Lower levels of the government have already begun foisting the sins of the shooter on the scapegoat of violent games, with Rhode Island looking for a plainly unconstitutional tax on adult-rated games and the governor of Kentucky trying to blame violent games for the recent shooting, sans evidence. And now it seems that Donald Trump has gotten into the mix, announcing that he will be meeting with "the video game industry" in coming weeks to see how they can stop real-world gun violence.

Presidential Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced at a briefing Thursday that President Trump plans to meet with members of the video game industry next week "to see what they can do" on the issue of gun violence.Details on specific timing and attendance for the meeting weren't immediately available, but Sanders cast the meeting as of a piece with multiple others that have already taken place between the president and "a number of stakeholders" in the gun violence debate.
Except it appears that the reason the timing for those meetings wasn't provided during the White House briefing is almost certainly because nobody in the video game industry has any idea what Trump or Sanders is talking about. The Entertainment Software Association, which represents the larger game studios and publishers, came out with a statement that it has had no plans to meet with Trump, has received no invitations to meet with Trump, and would push back on any responsibility games have for real life violence were such a meeting to occur.
The same video games played in the US are played worldwide; however, the level of gun violence is exponentially higher in the US than in other countries. Numerous authorities have examined the scientific record and found there is no link between media content and real-life violence. The US video game industry has a long history of partnering with parents and more than 20 years of rating video games through the Entertainment Software Rating Board. We take great steps to provide tools to help players and parents make informed entertainment decisions.
It's about as perfect a rebuttal to the violent games argument as there is: other countries have these same games, but not the violence. For its part, the White House clarified later that the invitations to meet with Trump would be going out over the next few days. Still, it probably would have been good for meetings to be scheduled before they were announced to the gaggle from the White House podium.With this being so one-sided, instead, we're left to witness another grandstanding politician with another whipping post talking about protected art and speech being culpable for real-world tragedy.

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posted at: 12:00am on 07-Mar-2018
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CIA Still Arguing Its Official Leaks To Journalists Shouldn't Be Subject To FOIA Requests

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Last week, a federal judge pointed out the obvious to the CIA: release-to-one is release-to-all, no matter how the agency's lawyers spin it. The CIA had emailed classified information to certain journalists. When another journalist sought copies of those emails, the CIA handed him fully-redacted versions. Obviously, they weren't redacted when they were sent to select members of the public. Why would the CIA feel the need to redact the information now when another member of the public asked for it?The CIA argued it had every right to hand out classified info to whoever it saw fit and then turn around and refuse to hand it over when an FOIA requester requested it. It said the classified info it gave to journalists was never published by those journalists, so it was technically not a public release. The judge shot back, stating that the CIA had effectively waived its right to withhold this information by handing it out to journalists in the first place.

CIA voluntarily disclosed to outsiders information that it had a perfect right to keep private. There is absolutely no statutory provision that authorizes limited disclosure of otherwise classified information to anyone, including "trusted reporters," for any purpose, including the protection of CIA sources and methods that might otherwise be outed. The fact that the reporters might not have printed what was disclosed to them has no logical or legal impact on the waiver analysis, because the only fact relevant to waiver analysis is: Did the CIA do something that worked a waiver of a right it otherwise had? The answer: CIA voluntarily disclosed what it had no obligation to disclose (and, indeed, had a statutory obligation not to disclose). In the real world, disclosure to some who are unauthorized operates as a waiver of the right to keep information private as to anyone else.
The FAS Secrecy News blog brings us the news that the CIA has already issued a response [PDF] containing new arguments about why it should be able to engage in selective disclosure of classified info to members of the public.
CIA argued that the court is wrong to think that limited, selective disclosures of classified information are prohibited or unauthorized by law. The National Security Act only requires protection of intelligence sources and methods from "unauthorized" disclosure, not from authorized disclosure. And because the disclosures at issue were actually intended to protect intelligence sources and methods, they were fully authorized, CIA said. "The CIA properly exercised its broad discretion to provide certain limited information to the three reporters.""The Court's supposition that a limited disclosure of information to three journalists necessarily equates to a disclosure to the public at large is legally and factually mistaken," the CIA response stated. "The record demonstrates beyond dispute that the classified and statutorily protected information withheld from the emails has not entered the public domain. For these reasons, the limited disclosures here did not effect any waiver of FOIA's exemptions."
So, technically, it's not a new argument, just a reiteration of the CIA's stance on classification waivers it would rather believe aren't waivers of classification. In essence, the CIA would like to be able to selectively leak classified information while retaining the privilege of denying every other member of the public access to these leaks. If the selected journalists choose to publish classified info handed to them by the CIA, only then does it enter the public domain, according to the the CIA. Otherwise, the CIA will decide what's classified and withholdable, not judges or logic or common sense.Apparently, this is standard operating procedure for the agency. MuckRock's stash of CIA documents contains official instructions for CIA leaks to the press, including a checklist for post-leak damage control.
The form for reporting the leaks... was fairly comprehensive. In addition to any supplemental materials, which were be attached to the leak reports, the form was two pages long. In addition to requesting the time, date, publication author and how the sourcing was attributed, the form requested notes about the subject matter, the geography associated with it and the dissemination of the information. After asking what, if anything, the information had compromised, the form asked about the accuracy of the information.The form also requested information about whether the leak was authorized or not, and who had authorized it. Tellingly, it requested information about which government organizations were criticized in the leak, but didn’t feel the need to ask who or what had been praised.
The tradition -- started during the Nixon administration in response to his call to root out leakers -- continues to this day. The CIA will make snap decisions on declassification, hand out info to reporters it feels it can trust, and possibly report the leaks to intelligence oversight. It happened often enough a computerized system was built to track the agency's official leaks. Nearly fifty years later, the CIA's official leak program is being challenged in court, and the CIA wants everything to be the way it was during the glory days of the Nixon presidency.The CIA's hypocritical arguments are symptomatic of a hypocritical system. The intelligence community hates leakers, unless it's the agencies themselves doing the leaking. And it definitely doesn't trust journalists… unless it needs them to help control the narrative. The judge in this case is punching holes in government tradition. Hopefully, this will end with the CIA handing over the info it already handed over to other people, free and clear of redactions.

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