Whistleblowing by Ed Snowden

Copied from: The Intercept_

Inside the Assassination Complex

Whistleblowing Is Not Just Leaking — It’s an Act of Political Resistance

 

Edward Snowden
May 3 2016

“I’ve been waiting 40 years for someone like you.” Those were the first words Daniel Ellsberg spoke to me when we met last year. Dan and I felt an immediate kinship; we both knew what it meant to risk so much — and to be irrevocably changed — by revealing secret truths.

One of the challenges of being a whistleblower is living with the knowledge that people continue to sit, just as you did, at those desks, in that unit, throughout the agency, who see what you saw and comply in silence, without resistance or complaint. They learn to live not just with untruths but with unnecessary untruths, dangerous untruths, corrosive untruths. It is a double tragedy: What begins as a survival strategy ends with the compromise of the human being it sought to preserve and the diminishing of the democracy meant to justify the sacrifice.

But unlike Dan Ellsberg, I didn’t have to wait 40 years to witness other citizens breaking that silence with documents. Ellsberg gave the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times and other newspapers in 1971; Chelsea Manning provided the Iraq and Afghan War logs and the Cablegate materials to WikiLeaks in 2010. I came forward in 2013. Now here we are in 2016, and another person of courage and conscience has made available the set of extraordinary documents that are published in The Assassination Complex, the new book out today by Jeremy Scahill and the staff of The Intercept. (The documents were originally published last October 15 in The Drone Papers.)

We are witnessing a compression of the working period in which bad policy shelters in the shadows, the time frame in which unconstitutional activities can continue before they are exposed by acts of conscience. And this temporal compression has a significance beyond the immediate headlines; it permits the people of this country to learn about critical government actions, not as part of the historical record but in a way that allows direct action through voting — in other words, in a way that empowers an informed citizenry to defend the democracy that “state secrets” are nominally intended to support. When I see individuals who are able to bring information forward, it gives me hope that we won’t always be required to curtail the illegal activities of our government as if it were a constant task, to uproot official lawbreaking as routinely as we mow the grass. (Interestingly enough, that is how some have begun to describe remote killing operations, as “cutting the grass.”)

A single act of whistleblowing doesn’t change the reality that there are significant portions of the government that operate below the waterline, beneath the visibility of the public. Those secret activities will continue, despite reforms. But those who perform these actions now have to live with the fear that if they engage in activities contrary to the spirit of society — if even a single citizen is catalyzed to halt the machinery of that injustice — they might still be held to account. The thread by which good governance hangs is this equality before the law, for the only fear of the man who turns the gears is that he may find himself upon them.

Hope lies beyond, when we move from extraordinary acts of revelation to a collective culture of accountability within the intelligence community. Here we will have taken a meaningful step toward solving a problem that has existed for as long as our government.

Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Gen. David Petraeus.

David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

Not all leaks are alike, nor are their makers. Gen. David Petraeus, for instance, provided his illicit lover and favorable biographer information so secret it defied classification, including the names of covert operatives and the president’s private thoughts on matters of strategic concern. Petraeus was not charged with a felony, as the Justice Department had initially recommended, but was instead permitted to plead guilty to a misdemeanor. Had an enlisted soldier of modest rank pulled out a stack of highly classified notebooks and handed them to his girlfriend to secure so much as a smile, he’d be looking at many decades in prison, not a pile of character references from a Who’s Who of the Deep State.

There are authorized leaks and also permitted disclosures. It is rare for senior administration officials to explicitly ask a subordinate to leak a CIA officer’s name to retaliate against her husband, as appears to have been the case with Valerie Plame. It is equally rare for a month to go by in which some senior official does not disclose some protected information that is beneficial to the political efforts of the parties but clearly “damaging to national security” under the definitions of our law.

This dynamic can be seen quite clearly in the al Qaeda “conference call of doom” story, in which intelligence officials, likely seeking to inflate the threat of terrorism and deflect criticism of mass surveillance, revealed to a neoconservative website extraordinarily detailed accounts of specific communications they had intercepted, including locations of the participating parties and the precise contents of the discussions. If the officials’ claims were to be believed, they irrevocably burned an extraordinary means of learning the precise plans and intentions of terrorist leadership for the sake of a short-lived political advantage in a news cycle. Not a single person seems to have been so much as disciplined as a result of the story that cost us the ability to listen to the alleged al Qaeda hotline.

President Barack Obama talks with Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office, April 15, 2015.

Photo: The White House

If harmfulness and authorization make no difference, what explains the distinction between the permissible and the impermissible disclosure?

The answer is control. A leak is acceptable if it’s not seen as a threat, as a challenge to the prerogatives of the institution. But if all of the disparate components of the institution — not just its head but its hands and feet, every part of its body — must be assumed to have the same power to discuss matters of concern, that is an existential threat to the modern political monopoly of information control, particularly if we’re talking about disclosures of serious wrongdoing, fraudulent activity, unlawful activities. If you can’t guarantee that you alone can exploit the flow of controlled information, then the aggregation of all the world’s unmentionables — including your own — begins to look more like a liability than an asset.

Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers detailing U.S. policy in the Vietnam War, Oct. 10, 1976.

Photo: Susan Wood/Getty Images

Truly unauthorized disclosures are necessarily an act of resistance — that is, if they’re not done simply for press consumption, to fluff up the public appearance or reputation of an institution. However, that doesn’t mean they all come from the lowest working level. Sometimes the individuals who step forward happen to be near the pinnacle of power. Ellsberg was in the top tier; he was briefing the secretary of defense. You can’t get much higher, unless you are the secretary of defense, and the incentives simply aren’t there for such a high-ranking official to be involved in public interest disclosures because that person already wields the influence to change the policy directly.

At the other end of the spectrum is Manning, a junior enlisted soldier, who was much nearer to the bottom of the hierarchy. I was midway in the professional career path. I sat down at the table with the chief information officer of the CIA, and I was briefing him and his chief technology officer when they were publicly making statements like “We try to collect everything and hang on to it forever,” and everybody still thought that was a cute business slogan. Meanwhile I was designing the systems they would use to do precisely that. I wasn’t briefing the policy side, the secretary of defense, but I was briefing the operations side, the National Security Agency’s director of technology. Official wrongdoing can catalyze all levels of insiders to reveal information, even at great risk to themselves, so long as they can be convinced that it is necessary to do so.

Reaching those individuals, helping them realize that their first allegiance as a public servant is to the public rather than to the government, is the challenge. That’s a significant shift in cultural thinking for a government worker today.

I’ve argued that whistleblowers are elected by circumstance. It’s not a virtue of who you are or your background. It’s a question of what you are exposed to, what you witness. At that point the question becomes Do you honestly believe that you have the capability to remediate the problem, to influence policy? I would not encourage individuals to reveal information, even about wrongdoing, if they do not believe they can be effective in doing so, because the right moment can be as rare as the will to act.

This is simply a pragmatic, strategic consideration. Whistleblowers are outliers of probability, and if they are to be effective as a political force, it’s critical that they maximize the amount of public good produced from scarce seed. When I was making my decision, I came to understand how one strategic consideration, such as waiting until the month before a domestic election, could become overwhelmed by another, such as the moral imperative to provide an opportunity to arrest a global trend that had already gone too far. I was focused on what I saw and on my sense of overwhelming disenfranchisement that the government, in which I had believed for my entire life, was engaged in such an extraordinary act of deception.

Change has to flow from the bottom to the top.

At the heart of this evolution is that whistleblowing is a radicalizing event — and by “radical” I don’t mean “extreme”; I mean it in the traditional sense of radix, the root of the issue. At some point you recognize that you can’t just move a few letters around on a page and hope for the best. You can’t simply report this problem to your supervisor, as I tried to do, because inevitably supervisors get nervous. They think about the structural risk to their career. They’re concerned about rocking the boat and “getting a reputation.” The incentives aren’t there to produce meaningful reform. Fundamentally, in an open society, change has to flow from the bottom to the top.

As someone who works in the intelligence community, you’ve given up a lot to do this work. You’ve happily committed yourself to tyrannical restrictions. You voluntarily undergo polygraphs; you tell the government everything about your life. You waive a lot of rights because you believe the fundamental goodness of your mission justifies the sacrifice of even the sacred. It’s a just cause.

And when you’re confronted with evidence — not in an edge case, not in a peculiarity, but as a core consequence of the program — that the government is subverting the Constitution and violating the ideals you so fervently believe in, you have to make a decision. When you see that the program or policy is inconsistent with the oaths and obligations that you’ve sworn to your society and yourself, then that oath and that obligation cannot be reconciled with the program. To which do you owe a greater loyalty?

The U.S. Capitol is reflected in a puddle next to the Capitol Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C., Oct. 15, 2013.

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

One of the extraordinary things about the revelations of the past several years, and their accelerating pace, is that they have occurred in the context of the United States as the “uncontested hyperpower.” We now have the largest unchallenged military machine in the history of the world, and it’s backed by a political system that is increasingly willing to authorize any use of force in response to practically any justification. In today’s context that justification is terrorism, but not necessarily because our leaders are particularly concerned about terrorism in itself or because they think it’s an existential threat to society. They recognize that even if we had a 9/11 attack every year, we would still be losing more people to car accidents and heart disease, and we don’t see the same expenditure of resources to respond to those more significant threats.

What it really comes down to is the political reality that we have a political class that feels it must inoculate itself against allegations of weakness. Our politicians are more fearful of the politics of terrorism — of the charge that they do not take terrorism seriously — than they are of the crime itself.

As a result we have arrived at this unmatched capability, unrestrained by policy. We have become reliant upon what was intended to be the limitation of last resort: the courts. Judges, realizing that their decisions are suddenly charged with much greater political importance and impact than was originally intended, have gone to great lengths in the post-9/11 period to avoid reviewing the laws or the operations of the executive in the national security context and setting restrictive precedents that, even if entirely proper, would impose limits on government for decades or more. That means the most powerful institution that humanity has ever witnessed has also become the least restrained. Yet that same institution was never designed to operate in such a manner, having instead been explicitly founded on the principle of checks and balances. Our founding impulse was to say, “Though we are mighty, we are voluntarily restrained.”

President Barack Obama walks with U.S. Secret Service agents to Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, Calif., May 8, 2014.

Photo: The White House

When you first go on duty at CIA headquarters, you raise your hand and swear an oath — not to government, not to the agency, not to secrecy. You swear an oath to the Constitution. So there’s this friction, this emerging contest between the obligations and values that the government asks you to uphold, and the actual activities that you’re asked to participate in.

These disclosures about the Obama administration’s killing program reveal that there’s a part of the American character that is deeply concerned with the unrestrained, unchecked exercise of power. And there is no greater or clearer manifestation of unchecked power than assuming for oneself the authority to execute an individual outside of a battlefield context and without the involvement of any sort of judicial process.

Traditionally, in the context of military affairs, we’ve always understood that lethal force in battle could not be subjected to ex ante judicial constraints. When armies are shooting at each other, there’s no room for a judge on that battlefield. But now the government has decided — without the public’s participation, without our knowledge and consent — that the battlefield is everywhere. Individuals who don’t represent an imminent threat in any meaningful sense of those words are redefined, through the subversion of language, to meet that definition.

Inevitably that conceptual subversion finds its way home, along with the technology that enables officials to promote comfortable illusions about surgical killing and nonintrusive surveillance. Take, for instance, the Holy Grail of drone persistence, a capability that the United States has been pursuing forever. The goal is to deploy solar-powered drones that can loiter in the air for weeks without coming down. Once you can do that, and you put any typical signals collection device on the bottom of it to monitor, unblinkingly, the emanations of, for example, the different network addresses of every laptop, smartphone, and iPod, you know not just where a particular device is in what city, but you know what apartment each device lives in, where it goes at any particular time, and by what route. Once you know the devices, you know their owners. When you start doing this over several cities, you’re tracking the movements not just of individuals but of whole populations.

Unrestrained power may be many things, but it’s not American.

By preying on the modern necessity to stay connected, governments can reduce our dignity to something like that of tagged animals, the primary difference being that we paid for the tags and they’re in our pockets. It sounds like fantasist paranoia, but on the technical level it’s so trivial to implement that I cannot imagine a future in which it won’t be attempted. It will be limited to the war zones at first, in accordance with our customs, but surveillance technology has a tendency to follow us home.

Here we see the double edge of our uniquely American brand of nationalism. We are raised to be exceptionalists, to think we are the better nation with the manifest destiny to rule. The danger is that some people will actually believe this claim, and some of those will expect the manifestation of our national identity, that is, our government, to comport itself accordingly.

Unrestrained power may be many things, but it’s not American. It is in this sense that the act of whistleblowing increasingly has become an act of political resistance. The whistleblower raises the alarm and lifts the lamp, inheriting the legacy of a line of Americans that begins with Paul Revere.

The individuals who make these disclosures feel so strongly about what they have seen that they’re willing to risk their lives and their freedom. They know that we, the people, are ultimately the strongest and most reliable check on the power of government. The insiders at the highest levels of government have extraordinary capability, extraordinary resources, tremendous access to influence, and a monopoly on violence, but in the final calculus there is but one figure that matters: the individual citizen.

And there are more of us than there are of them.

 

From The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program by Jeremy Scahill and the staff of The Intercept, with a foreword by Edward Snowden and afterword by Glenn Greenwald, published by Simon & Schuster.

Contact the author:

Edward Snowdent@snowden

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\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>W\u003c/span>\u003cu>hen President Obama\u003c/u> announced his support last week for a Federal Communications Commission plan to open the market for cable set-top boxes — a big win for consumers, but also \u003ca href=\”http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-28/google-wants-to-break-cable-s-grip-over-set-top-tv-control-box\”>for Google\u003c/a> — the cable and telecommunications giants who used to have a near-stranglehold on tech policy were furious. AT&T chief lobbyist Jim Cicconi \u003ca href=\”http://www.attpublicpolicy.com/fcc/att-response-to-white-houseaction-on-fccs-set-top-box-proposal/\”>lashed out\u003c/a> at what he called White House intervention on behalf of “the Google proposal.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>He’s hardly the first to suggest that the Obama administration has become too close to the Silicon Valley juggernaut.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Over the past seven years, Google has created a remarkable partnership with the Obama White House, providing expertise, services, advice, and personnel for vital government projects.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Precisely how much influence this buys Google isn’t always clear. But consider that over in the European Union, Google is now facing \u003ca href=\”http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/20/technology/google-android-lawsuit-europe/\”>two major antitrust charges\u003c/a> for abusing its dominance in mobile operating systems and search. By contrast, in the U.S., a strong case to sanction Google was quashed by a presidentially appointed commission.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>It’s a relationship that bears watching. “Americans know surprisingly little about what Google wants and gets from our government,” said Anne Weismann, executive director of \u003ca href=\”http://campaignforaccountability.org/\”>Campaign for Accountability\u003c/a>, a nonprofit watchdog organization. Seeking to change that, Weismann’s group is spearheading a data transparency project about Google’s interactions in Washington.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cem>The Intercept\u003c/em> teamed up with Campaign for Accountability to present two revealing data sets from that forthcoming project: one on the number of White House meetings attended by Google representatives, and the second on the revolving door between Google and the government.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>As the interactive charts accompanying this article show, Google representatives attended White House meetings more than once a week, on average, from the beginning of Obama’s presidency through October 2015. Nearly 250 people have shuttled from government service to Google employment or vice versa over the course of his administration.\u003cbr />\n\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-left width-fixed’ style=’width:540px’> \u003cimg class=\”alignleft size-article-medium wp-image-61726\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/johannashelton-540×1158.jpg\” alt=\”\” /> \u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>No other public company approaches this degree of intimacy with government. According to an analysis of White House data, the Google lobbyist with the most White House visits, Johanna Shelton, visited 128 times, far more often than lead representatives of the other top-lobbying companies — and more than twice as often, for instance, as Microsoft’s Fred Humphries or Comcast’s David Cohen. (The accompanying chart reflects 94 Shelton visits; it excludes large gatherings such as state dinners and White House tours.)\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The information, Weismann said, “will help the public learn more about the company’s influence on our government, our policies, and our lives.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Asked to respond, Google spokesperson Riva Litman referred \u003cem>The Intercept\u003c/em> to a \u003ca href=\”http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2015/03/really-rupert.html\”>blog post\u003c/a> written when the \u003cem>Wall Street Journal\u003c/em> \u003ca href=\”http://www.wsj.com/articles/google-makes-most-of-close-ties-to-white-house-1427242076\”>raised similar questions\u003c/a> a year ago. In that post, Google said the meetings covered a host of topics, including patent reform, STEM education, internet censorship, cloud computing, trade and investment, and smart contact lenses. The company also claimed to have counted similar numbers of visits to the White House by Microsoft and Comcast — but it did not explain its methodology for parsing the data.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Google’s dramatic rise as a lobbying force has not gone unnoticed. The company paid almost no attention to the Washington influence game prior to 2007, but \u003ca href=\”https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-google-is-transforming-power-and-politicsgoogle-once-disdainful-of-lobbying-now-a-master-of-washington-influence/2014/04/12/51648b92-b4d3-11e3-8cb6-284052554d74_story.html\”>ramped up steeply thereafter\u003c/a>. It \u003ca href=\”http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/top.php?indexType=s&showYear=2015\”>spent $16.7 million\u003c/a> in lobbying in 2015, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and has been at or near the top of public companies in lobbying expenses since 2012.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>But direct expenditures on lobbying represent only one part of the larger influence-peddling game. Google’s lobbying strategy also includes throwing \u003ca href=\”http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2013/12/23/how-washington-partied-this-holiday\”>lavish D.C. parties\u003c/a>; making \u003ca href=\”https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-google-is-transforming-power-and-politicsgoogle-once-disdainful-of-lobbying-now-a-master-of-washington-influence/2014/04/12/51648b92-b4d3-11e3-8cb6-284052554d74_story.html\”>grants to trade groups, advocacy organizations, and think tanks\u003c/a>; offering \u003ca href=\”http://bit.ly/1V22Umk\”>free services and training\u003c/a> to campaigns, congressional offices, and journalists; and \u003ca href=\”http://www.salon.com/2015/11/24/googles_insidious_shadow_lobbying_how_the_internet_giant_is_bankrolling_friendly_academics_and_skirting_federal_investigations/\”>using academics as validators\u003c/a> for the company’s public policy positions. Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, was an enthusiastic supporter of both of Obama’s presidential campaigns and has been a major Democratic donor.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>For its part, the Obama administration — attempting to project a brand of innovative, post-partisan problem-solving of issues that have bedeviled government for decades — has welcomed and even come to depend upon its association with one of America’s largest tech companies.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp> \u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>G\u003c/span>\u003cu>oogle doesn’t just\u003c/u> lobby the White House for favors, but collaborates with officials, effectively serving as a sort of corporate extension of government operations in the digital era.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>In just the past few years, Google has provided diplomatic assistance to the administration through \u003ca href=\”http://www.wsj.com/articles/google-and-obama-administration-connect-over-cuba-1458763836\”>expanding internet access in Cuba\u003c/a>; collaborated with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to \u003ca href=\”http://www.talkandroid.com/283760-google-fiber-public-housing-service/\”>bring Google Fiber into public housing\u003c/a>; used Google resources to \u003ca href=\”http://www.dri.edu/news/4635-white-house-climate-data-initiative-includes-dri-partnership-with-google\”>monitor droughts\u003c/a> in real time; and even \u003ca href=\”https://www.whitehouse.gov/about/inside-white-house/google-art/\”>captured 360-degree views\u003c/a> of White House interiors.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>But perhaps most salient here is the fact that modern life requires so much information technology support that a sprawling operation like the White House has turned to tech companies — often in the form of ex-Google employees — when faced with pressing IT needs.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Practically every part of the government makes available some form of technology, whether it’s the public-facing website for a federal agency, a digital mechanism for people to access benefits, or a new communications tool for espionage or war.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Somebody has to build and manage those projects, and Silicon Valley firms have the expertise needed to do that. White House officials have publicly asked Silicon Valley for aid in \u003ca href=\”http://abc7news.com/technology/white-house-wants-silicon-valley-to-help-stop-terrorist-recruitment-/1152288/\”>stopping terrorists\u003c/a> from recruiting via social media, \u003ca href=\”http://www.federaltimes.com/story/government/dhs/2016/01/06/dhs-silicon-valley-iot/78357474/\”>securing the internet of things\u003c/a>, \u003ca href=\”http://www.denverpost.com/politics/ci_27524994/obama-asks-silicon-valley-partner-government-stop-hacks\”>thwarting cyberattacks\u003c/a>, \u003ca href=\”http://www.indivisible.us/the-pentagon-is-going-silicon-valley/\”>modernizing the Defense Department\u003c/a>, and generally \u003ca href=\”https://medium.com/@traestephens/innovation-deficit-why-dc-is-losing-silicon-valley-bbd0a5744c4f#.66s1b3dbt\”>updating all their technology\u003c/a>. We can reasonably expect yet more things are being asked for behind closed doors.\u003c/p>\n\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-right width-fixed’ style=’width:540px’> \u003cimg class=\”alignright size-article-medium wp-image-61727\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/toddparker1-540×1216.jpg\” alt=\”toddparker\” /> \u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: Philips Communications/Flickr\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\n\u003cp>The disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov in October 2013 is the most obvious example. Within weeks of the site going live, Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, his top deputy Nicole Wong (a former Google deputy general counsel), and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough held meetings with Google personnel.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>In \u003cem>Time \u003c/em>magazine, Steven Brill \u003ca href=\”https://blog.newrelic.com/2014/03/26/depth-look-team-saved-healthcare-gov/\”>detailed one of those meetings\u003c/a>, between Park and Gabriel Burt, the chief technology officer at Eric Schmidt’s Civis Analytics. Civis was already working on Obamacare as a vendor for Enroll America, a nonprofit tasked with getting people subscribed on the insurance exchanges. Civis used reams of data to target communities with high levels of uninsured Americans so Enroll America could contact them. But now the site where they were supposed to sign up wasn’t working. So the White House turned to Civis for help with that as well.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Eventually, Mikey Dickerson, a site-reliability engineer with Google who previously worked on the Obama campaign, got \u003ca href=\”http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/michael-dickerson-the-invisible-man-behind-obamacares-tech-surge/article/2540253\”>hired to fix the site\u003c/a>. Burt and Dickerson worked together to “form a rescue squad” for HealthCare.gov, according to \u003cem>Time\u003c/em>. And most of the recruits came from Google. Later, Dickerson \u003ca href=\”http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/12/us/politics/ex-google-engineer-to-lead-fix-it-team-for-government-websites.html\”>led the U.S. Digital Service\u003c/a>, a new agency whose mission was to fix other technology problems in the federal government. Ex-Google staffers were prevalent there as well. Dickerson attended nine White House meetings with Google personnel while working for the government between 2013 and 2014.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Meetings between Google and the White House, viewed in this context, sometimes function like calls to the IT Help Desk. Only instead of working for the same company, the government is supposed to be regulating Google as a private business, not continually asking it for favors.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Much of this collaboration could be considered public-minded — it’s hard to argue with the idea that the government should seek outside technical help when it requires it. And there’s no evidence of a quid pro quo. But this arrangement doesn’t have to result in outright corruption to be troubling.

 

The obvious question that arises is: Can government do its job with respect to regulating Google in the public interest if it owes the company such a debt of gratitude. Google doesn’t think its activities present an antitrust problem. It doesn’t feel constrained from holding incredible amounts of data. But should Google be in a position to make that determination itself? How much influence is too much influence .  Another potential conflict arises from the enormous amount of data that Google and the government each have stored on American citizens. Google recently acknowledged having mined the \u003ca href=\”http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2016/02/google_acknowledges_data_mining_GAFE_users.html?cmp=SOC-SHR-TW\”>data of student users\u003c/a> of its education apps, and has been \u003ca href=\”http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-01-17/google-violated-privacy-policy-users-say-in-new-complaint-1-\”>accused\u003c/a> \u003ca href=\”http://www.reuters.com/article/us-privacy-google-dutch-idUSKBN0JT1TG20141215\”>repeatedly\u003c/a> of \u003ca href=\”http://www.businessinsider.com/google-pays-225-million-for-violating-users-privacy-2012-11\”>violating user privacy\u003c/a> in other contexts. An overly close partnership risks Google putting its data in the government’s hands or gaining access to what the government has collected.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>When the federal government and a private company share the same worldview, get the same insights from the same groups of people, the policy drift can occur with nobody explicitly choosing the direction. It just seems like the right thing to do.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>And there is no doubt that Google’s rise in Washington has coincided with public policy that is friendlier to the company.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Most notably, Google has faced questions for years about exercising its market power to squash rivals, infringing on its users’ privacy rights, favoring its own business affiliates in search results, and using patent law to create barriers to competition. Even Republican senators like Orrin Hatch have \u003ca href=\”https://newrepublic.com/article/131412/important-2016-issue-dont-know\”>called out Google\u003c/a> for its practices.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>In 2012, staff at the Federal Trade Commission recommended filing antitrust charges after determining that Google was engaging in anti-competitive tactics and abusing its monopoly. A staff report that was \u003ca href=\”http://www.wsj.com/articles/inside-the-u-s-antitrust-probe-of-google-1426793274\”>later leaked\u003c/a> said Google’s conduct “has resulted — and will result — in real harm to consumers and to innovation in the online search and advertising markets.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The \u003ca href=\”http://www.wsj.com/articles/google-makes-most-of-close-ties-to-white-house-1427242076\”>\u003cem>Wall Street Journal\u003c/em> noted \u003c/a>that Google’s White House visits increased right around that time. And in 2013, the presidentially appointed commissioners of the FTC overrode their staff, voting unanimously not to file any charges.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”s1\”>Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, said the administration “has been a huge help” to Google both by protecting it from attempts to limit its market power and by blocking privacy legislation. “Google has been able to thwart regulatory scrutiny in terms of anti-competitive practices, and has played a key role in ensuring that the United States doesn’t protect at all the privacy of its citizens and its consumers,” Chester said.\u003c/span>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”p1\”>\u003cspan class=\”s1\”>At a \u003ca href=\”https://recode.net/2016/04/05/senate-tim-wu-google-antitrust/\”>\u003cspan class=\”s2\”>congressional hearing\u003c/span>\u003c/a> earlier this month, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, citing the possibility of consumer harm, called on the FTC to reconsider the kind of antitrust charges against Google recently filed in Europe.\u003c/span>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”p1\”>\u003cspan class=\”s1\”>But Obama has argued that European regulators are being too aggressive toward Google out of a desire to protect companies that aren’t as capable. “In defense of Google and Facebook, sometimes the European response here is more commercially driven than anything else,” \u003ca href=\”https://recode.net/2015/02/13/obama-says-europes-aggressiveness-towards-google-comes-from-protecting-lesser-competitors/\”>\u003cspan class=\”s2\”>he told \u003cem>Re/code\u003c/em>\u003c/span>\u003c/a> in February. “We have owned the internet. Our companies have created it, expanded it, perfected it, in ways they can’t compete.”\u003c/span>\u003c/p>\n\n\u003c!– iframe plugin v.2.9 wordpress.org/plugins/iframe/ –\>\n\u003ciframe src=\”https://static.theintercept.com/google-viz/index.html\” class=\”align-bleed\” height=\”790\” width=\”100%\” scrolling=\”no\” frameborder=\”0\”>\u003c/iframe>\n\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>On the left, you will find the names of White House officials who met with Google staff; on the right, the names of Google staff who met with White House officials. Hover over their names to see their titles and the number of meetings they attended. Hover over each meeting to find out who else was present. \u003cem>Source: Campaign for Accountability; Data Visualization: Accurat.it\u003c/em>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp> \u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>T\u003c/span>\u003cu>he accompanying visualization\u003c/u> documents White House meetings involving employees from Google, Eric Schmidt’s investment vehicle Tomorrow Ventures, and Civis Analytics, a company whose \u003ca href=\”https://civisanalytics.com/team/eric-schmidt/\”>sole investor\u003c/a> is Schmidt.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Between January 2009 and October 2015, Google staffers gathered at the White House on 427 separate occasions. All told, 182 White House employees and 169 Google employees attended the meetings, with participation from almost every domestic policy and national security player in the West Wing.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The frequency of the meetings has increased practically every year, from 32 in 2009 to 97 in 2014. In the first 10 months of 2015, which is as far as the study goes, there were 85 Google meetings.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The most frequent visitor is Johanna Shelton, one of Google’s top lobbyists in Washington — officially its director of public policy. Shelton attended meetings at the White House on 94 different occasions.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The most Google-visited White House official is Todd Park, the U.S. chief technology officer from 2012 to 2014. In that short period, Park met with Google officials at the White House 22 times. Park’s replacement, current Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, was a \u003ca href=\”http://www.theverge.com/2014/9/4/6105985/obama-names-google-exec-megan-smith-us-chief-technology-officer\”>former Google vice president\u003c/a>. She had five White House meetings as a Google representative, then 10 Google meetings as a White House representative.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The comprehensiveness of Google’s outreach jumps out from the data. You would expect some contact between Google and top technology policymakers like Park, Smith, Aneesh Chopra, Susan Crawford, and Vivek Kundra. But Google’s presence as an economic force and a communications tool gives the company an interest in virtually every aspect of public policy.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Since 2009, Google has met with all three of Obama’s directors of the National Economic Council (Larry Summers, Gene Sperling, and Jeffrey Zients), one chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (Austan Goolsbee), and another official who would become CEA chair (Jason Furman, who was then deputy director of the NEC).\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Company employees met with four Obama chiefs of staff (Rahm Emanuel, William Daley, Jack Lew, and Denis McDonough). Google also huddled with national security personnel like Michael McFaul (then at the NSC, later U.S. ambassador to Russia) and Tony Blinken (deputy national security adviser). Employees met with Heather Zichal, deputy assistant for energy and climate change, and White House science adviser John Holdren. They met with close counselors to the president like Pete Rouse, Valerie Jarrett, John Podesta, and Dan Pfeiffer. They met with then-communications director Jennifer Palmieri. And they met with the president of the United States 21 separate times — five times in the first term and 16 times in the first two-plus years of the second term. Even Jill Biden and Michelle Obama have taken meetings with Google employees.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The visitor logs only show the individuals in attendance at the meetings, not what the meetings were about. But it’s possible to make some educated guesses. The presence of Johanna Shelton at 94 meetings suggests that a significant chunk were devoted to lobbying on various Google priorities. But there are hundreds of other meetings in the logs that point to more of a consulting role.\u003c/p>\n\n\u003c!– iframe plugin v.2.9 wordpress.org/plugins/iframe/ –\>\n\u003ciframe src=\”https://static.theintercept.com/google-viz/revolving.html\” class=\”align-bleed\” height=\”730\” width=\”100%\” scrolling=\”no\” frameborder=\”0\”>\u003c/iframe>\n\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>Each line represents an individual’s move between Google and U.S. government agencies, congressional staff, or federal-level political campaigns. You can filter by direction to see only transfers from or to Google; by sub-organization; and by year. To reset the graphic, click anywhere that’s not highlighted. \u003cem>Source: Campaign for Accountability; Data Visualization: Accurat.it\u003c/em>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp> \u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>T\u003c/span>\u003cu>he “revolving door”\u003c/u> data, displayed in the above visualization, reveals 55 cases of individuals moving from positions at Google into the federal government, and 197 individuals moving from positions inside the government to jobs at Google. The data includes positions at firms that Eric Schmidt owns or controls — Civis Analytics, The Groundwork, and Tomorrow Ventures — along with two law firms and three lobbying firms that have represented Google. On the government side, staffers at Obama for America and a handful of other political campaigns were included.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The data includes individuals from Google appointed to government boards while maintaining their positions at the tech firm. Google board member John Doerr was appointed to the \u003ca href=\”https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/02/23/president-obama-announces-members-presidents-council-jobs-and-competiven\”>President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness\u003c/a> in February 2011. Eric Schmidt has been part of the \u003ca href=\”http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/President-Obama-Announces-Members-of-Science-and-Technology-Advisory-Council/\”>President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology\u003c/a> since 2009. He was also more recently appointed to lead the \u003ca href=\”http://www.wired.com/2016/03/ex-google-ceo-eric-schmidt-head-pentagon-innovation-board/\”>Defense Innovation Advisory Board\u003c/a> at the Pentagon, which occurred outside the time frame of the data.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>But the bulk of the moves involved job changes. Google alums work in the departments of State, Defense, Commerce, Education, Justice, and Veterans Affairs. One works at the Federal Reserve, another at the U.S. Agency for International Development. The highest number — 29 — moved from Google into the White House. The State Department had the next highest with just five. The moves from Google to government got more frequent in the later Obama years; 11 occurred in 2014 and 16 in 2015, after only 18 in the entire first term.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>On the other side, former staffers from 36 different areas across the government have found a willing employer at Google since 2009. Johanna Shelton was a senior counsel on the House Energy and Commerce Telecommunications Subcommittee. Joshua Wright, a former commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/2016/01/13/from-google-payroll-to-government-and-back-to-google-again/\”>rotated into a top position\u003c/a> at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, one of the law firms that has represented Google.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Nineteen researchers and scientists at NASA, senior analysts at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, an “information assurance expert” at the National Security Agency, and 32 separate officials with the Obama for America campaign found their way to Google.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Former employees of 12 of the 15 cabinet agencies (Energy, Justice, Defense, Education, State, Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture, Labor, HHS, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs) now work at the tech company or its affiliates, led by 16 former Pentagon staffers. The exodus ramped up in the second term, hitting 41 in 2014, compared to just six in 2009.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Seven individuals made a full revolution through the revolving door, either going from Google to government and back again, or from government to Google and back again. This includes Julia Duncan, who left her job as White House personnel officer to go work in Google’s finance department in 2013, and a year later moved to the State Department’s Office of Food Security.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Nathan Parker, a staff software engineer at Google, did a stint in the U.S. Digital Service for four months before returning to Google HQ in Mountain View. Austin Lau was a planner and tech lead for Google India, then became a foreign service officer at the State Department before returning to Google to work on social impact partnerships.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>A few individuals are listed twice: The aforementioned Mikey Dickerson moved from Google to the Obama campaign, back to Google, and then to the U.S. Digital Service, for example.\u003c/p>\n\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-center width-fixed’ style=’width:1000px’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/hands1.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-article-large wp-image-61596\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/hands1-1000×669.jpg\” alt=\”hands1\” />\u003c/a> \u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Illustration by The Intercept. Photo: Shutterstock\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\n\u003cp>The government and Google shared engineers, lawyers, scientists, communications specialists, executives, and even board members. Google has achieved a kind of vertical integration with the government: a true public-private partnership.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Ex-Google staffers may not be directly involved in setting policy that affects Google, but they have access to decision-makers. They maintain ties to their former bosses. And Google employees with government experience have a network of friends and colleagues at federal agencies, House and Senate offices, the West Wing, and practically everywhere else.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>Methodology:\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>The chart depicting White House visits is based on meetings between White House officials and employees of Google or companies controlled by Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s parent company, since President Obama took office in 2009 through October 2015. The data has been compiled from \u003ca href=\”https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/disclosures/visitor-records\”>White House visitor records\u003c/a>.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>Large gatherings, such as state dinners and White House tours were excluded. Names were cross-referenced with lists of Google employees.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>The jobs visualization was compiled from publicly available information including LinkedIn profiles, news sources, lobby disclosure records, and OpenSecrets.org data. Analysts gathered data by searching for profiles mentioning Google and terms related to government jobs. \u003cspan class=\”s1\”>The data includes any job changes that occurred during Obama’s presidency, as well as moves from Obama’s campaign to Google in 2008.\u003c/span>\u003c/p>\n”,”link”:”https://theintercept.com/2016/04/22/googles-remarkably-close-relationship-with-the-obama-white-house-in-two-charts/”,”thumbnail”:{“ID”:61431,”title”:”GoogleWH-lead-FIN”,”excerpt”:””,”content”:””,”credit”:”Illustration by The Intercept. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images”,”sizes”:{“feature_hero”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/GoogleWH-lead-FIN-feature-hero.jpg”,”width”:1200,”height”:800},”promo”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/GoogleWH-lead-FIN-promo.jpg”,”width”:440,”height”:220},”promo_large”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/GoogleWH-lead-FIN-promo-large.jpg”,”width”:900,”height”:450},”top_large”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/GoogleWH-lead-FIN-top-large.jpg”,”width”:440,”height”:440},”top_small”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/GoogleWH-lead-FIN-top-small.jpg”,”width”:200,”height”:200},”square”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/GoogleWH-lead-FIN-440×440.jpg”,”width”:440,”height”:440},”article_header”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/GoogleWH-lead-FIN-article-header.jpg”,”width”:1440,”height”:720},”original”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/GoogleWH-lead-FIN.jpg”,”width”:”1440″,”height”:”720″}}},”date”:”2016-04-22T13:00:35+00:00″,”authors”:[{“ID”:87,”display_name”:”David Dayen”,”url”:”https://theintercept.com/staff/davidd/”,”brief_bio”:””,”full_bio”:”\u003cp class=\”p1\”>\u003cspan class=\”s1\”>David Dayen is a contributor to \u003cem>The Intercept\u003c/em>, and also writes for \u003cem>Salon\u003c/em>, the \u003cem>Fiscal Times\u003c/em>, the \u003cem>New Republic\u003c/em>, and more. His first book, \u003cem>\u003ca href=\”http://thenewpress.com/books/chain-of-title\”>Chain of Title\u003c/a>\u003c/em>, about three ordinary Americans who uncover Wall Street’s foreclosure fraud, will be released in May 2016.\u003c/span>\u003c/p>\n”,”email”:”david.dayen@gmail.com“,”image_350″:”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/02/david-dayen.jpg”,”twitter”:”@ddayen”,”facebook”:””,”pgp_key”:””,”pgp_file”:””,”pgp_fingerprint”:””,”user_title”:””,”user_group”:””,”nicename”:”davidd”}],”excerpt_type”:”image-featured”,”is_feature”:”1″,”feature_title”:”The Android Administration”,”categories”:[{“slug”:”mashable”,”name”:”Mashable”},{“slug”:”uncategorized”,”name”:”Uncategorized”}],”comments_number”:”156″,”bitly_url”:”http://interc.pt/1NFfhgl”,”comments_open”:true,”is_banner_hidden”:false,”featured_video_url”:””,”meta”:{“links”:[]},”layout”:”default”,”banner_videokey”:””,”post_type”:”post”,”share_twitter_text”:”Google’s remarkably close relationship with the White House, in two charts:”,”credit_research”:[“56″,”92″,”45″],”credit_research_users_object”:[{“ID”:56,”display_name”:”Andrea Jones”,”url”:”https://theintercept.com/staff/andreajones/”,”brief_bio”:”Andrea Jones is an editor based in Brooklyn.”,”full_bio”:”\u003cp class=\”p1\”>\u003cspan class=\”s1\”>Andrea Jones is an associate editor at \u003cem>The Intercept\u003c/em>. Her writing has appeared online at \u003ci>Rolling Stone\u003c/i>, VICE, \u003cem>The Nation\u003c/em>, and the\u003ci> American Reader\u003c/i>. Previously, she worked as a researcher at \u003ci>Rolling Stone \u003c/i>and as managing editor of \u003ci>Guernica\u003c/i>. \u003c/span>\u003c/p>\n”,”email”:”andrea.jones@theintercept.com“,”image_350″:”https://firstlook.org/wp-uploads/sites/1/2015/10/Andrea-Jones_avatar_1444433665-350×350.jpg”,”twitter”:”@atrejones”,”facebook”:””,”pgp_key”:”Andrea Jones Public Key”,”pgp_file”:”https://firstlook.org/wp-uploads/sites/1/2015/05/Andrea-Public.asc”,”pgp_fingerprint”:”4919 A64F 30A8 67F6 6C5C A311 4D62 9E7E 3F00 8709″,”user_title”:”Associate Editor”,”user_group”:””,”nicename”:”andreajones”},{“ID”:92,”display_name”:”John Thomason”,”url”:”https://theintercept.com/staff/johnthomason/”,”brief_bio”:”John Thomason researches, writes, and checks facts in New York City.”,”full_bio”:”\u003cp>John Thomason researches, writes, and checks facts in New York City. Prior to joining First Look, he contributed research and fact-checking to award-winning investigations for Al Jazeera America, Slate, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and other publications. His writing has appeared in The Nation.\u003c/p>\n”,”email”:”john.thomason@theintercept.com“,”image_350″:”https://firstlook.org/wp-uploads/sites/1/2015/10/John-Thomason_avatar_1444433471-350×350.jpg”,”twitter”:”@John_Thom_”,”facebook”:””,”pgp_key”:”John Thomason Public Key”,”pgp_file”:”https://firstlook.org/wp-uploads/sites/1/2015/10/Thomason-Public-Key.asc”,”pgp_fingerprint”:”A5F6 3254 DAD7 88A8 CC01 A69F 7A00 FC1B A6EB 57F2″,”user_title”:”Fact-Checker”,”user_group”:””,”nicename”:”johnthomason”},{“ID”:45,”display_name”:”Margot Williams”,”url”:”https://theintercept.com/staff/margotwilliams/”,”brief_bio”:”Margot Williams is a journalist and research editor who was part of two Pulitzer Prize-winning teams at \u003cem>The Washington Post\u003c/em>.”,”full_bio”:”\u003cp>Margot Williams is Research Editor for Investigations at \u003cem>The Intercept\u003c/em>. Her career at \u003cem>The Washington Post\u003c/em>, \u003cem>New York Times\u003c/em>, NPR and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is one of the most respected in the investigative reporting world. She has pursued jihadists online and detainees who died in U.S. immigration detention, investigated Iraq war contractors and followed the money (and private jets) of mayors, governors, senators, presidential candidates, and ex-presidents. And she has spread her passion for investigative journalism — and her incredible ferreting skills — at numerous international workshops over the years.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>During 14 years at The Washington Post, Margot was a member of two Washington Post Pulitzer Prize-winning teams, for a 1998 investigation of DC police shootings of civilians and then again in 2001 for national coverage of terrorism. In the aftermath of 9/11 at \u003cem>The Washington Post\u003c/em> and later at \u003cem>The New York Times\u003c/em>, she investigated the network of jets and shell companies involved in the transport of terrorism suspects among secret prisons around the globe. She compiled the first list of the Guantanamo detainees — years before their names were made public — and created the comprehensive Guantanamo database on the \u003cem>Times\u003c/em> web site. In 2011, she analyzed the Guantanamo documents leaked by Bradley Manning for NPR and the \u003cem>New York Times\u003c/em>.\u003c/p>\n”,”email”:”margot.williams@theintercept.com“,”image_350″:”https://firstlook.org/wp-uploads/sites/1/2015/02/margot-350×350.jpg”,”twitter”:”@MargotWilliams”,”facebook”:””,”pgp_key”:”Margot Williams Public Key”,”pgp_file”:”https://firstlook.org/wp-uploads/sites/1/2014/09/MargotWilliamsPGP.asc”,”pgp_fingerprint”:”D301 003E DD1E 1BEA 6BE0 181B BB58 C7E5 F949 4209″,”user_title”:”Research Editor for Investigations”,”user_group”:””,”nicename”:”margotwilliams”}],”credit_additional_reporting”:””,”credit_additional_reporting_users_object”:””,”credit_photo_illustration”:””,”yoast_wpseo_canonical”:”https://theintercept.com/2016/04/22/googles-remarkably-close-relationship-with-the-obama-white-house-in-two-charts/”,”yoast_wpseo_general_title”:”Google’s Remarkably Close Relationship With Obama’s White House”,”yoast_wpseo_general_description”:”Google has cultivated unprecedented ties to government not only by lobbying but sharing its expertise, raising questions about undue influence.”,”yoast_wpseo_facebook_title”:””,”yoast_wpseo_facebook_description”:”The company has cultivated ties to the U.S. government by lobbying and sharing its digital expertise, raising questions about undue influence.”,”yoast_wpseo_facebook_thumbnail”:””,”yoast_wpseo_twitter_title”:””,”yoast_wpseo_twitter_description”:””,”yoast_wpseo_twitter_thumbnail”:””},”61973″:{“ID”:61973,”title”:”A Year After the Baltimore Uprising, the Real Work Is Just Beginning”,”slug”:”a-year-after-the-baltimore-uprising-the-real-work-is-just-beginning”,”excerpt”:”As Baltimore goes to the polls, the city’s activist community expects little from electoral politics.”,”content”:”\u003cp>\u003cu>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>O\u003c/span>NE YEAR AND\u003c/u> one day after Freddie Gray succumbed to the spine injury he received during a 45-minute drive in a police van, the Baltimore police commissioner sat on stage before a room packed with people who had poured into the city’s streets demanding justice. On the walls, black-and-white photos of protesters reminded everyone of the rawness and emotion of Baltimore’s breaking point.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>On stage interviewing Commissioner Kevin Davis were two protesters raised to sometimes reluctant fame during “the uprising,” as this section of Baltimore has come to call the protests — rejecting “riots,” the term used by much of the media. One of them, the photographer Devin Allen, was propelled from the streets of West Baltimore to the \u003ca href=\”https://twitter.com/byDVNLLN/status/724649739099246593\” target=\”_blank\”>cover\u003c/a> of \u003cem>Time\u003c/em> magazine when he captured the protests’ most iconic image: a black man, face half-covered by a bandana, running from dozens of baton-wielding cops. The other activist, Kwame Rose, landed in the national spotlight when he \u003ca href=\”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwHvCy-a-Pg\” target=\”_blank\”>confronted\u003c/a> Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera on live television, becoming one of the most recognizable faces of the protesters’ anger.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>On April 20, sitting next to Commissioner Davis, they were once again facing a police officer up close, and they weren’t about to go easy on him.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Davis is new to the job. His predecessor, Anthony Batts, was fired in July — not over the protests but because of the spike in violence that followed them. There were 344 homicides in Baltimore last year — the deadliest in the city’s history. Batts was not the only one to go: Baltimore’s mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, announced in September that she would not seek re-election, and much of the city council followed suit. Today, the city will vote in the primaries for the first mayoral race in years that doesn’t seem decided from the start.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“This type of conversation isn’t normal,” said Rose, asking the audience to trust his “aggressiveness” in questioning the commissioner. No one objected when he then asked Davis, bluntly, “How do you deal with the anti-blackness that is natural inside yourself?” Rose asked Davis about two police brutality lawsuits that directly involved him, and whether he would now fire an officer who committed similar acts of violence.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Davis answered every question, if not always directly. He apologized to Allen, Rose, and anyone in the room “who has ever had a negative experience with a police officer. I am sorry that that’s happened to you, I really am. That’s not just on behalf of the Baltimore Police Department, that’s on behalf of our profession.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>In a sense, the \u003ca href=\”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gl7Np36ECvc\” target=\”_blank\”>staged conversation\u003c/a> was a symbol of what has improved in Baltimore over the last 12 months — the city is now talking to itself, and asking tough questions. Debates about Freddie Gray’s death and the big-picture problems that led to it have echoed from the streets, to public forums, to the mayoral campaign trail. There’s general acknowledgement of the poverty, housing, and education crises in the city — and honest recognition that police culture must change.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>But if Baltimore has now asked the tough questions, it’s less clear what the answers are.\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-center width-fixed’ style=’width:1000px’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/sohn-russell-baltimore1.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-article-large wp-image-62342\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/sohn-russell-baltimore1-1000×628.jpg\” alt=\”Lt. Col. Melvin Russell, chief of the Community Partnership division, confers with Sonja Sohn of The Wire, who is now making a documentary about Baltimore, during a rally for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in downtown Baltimore, Maryland, April 23, 2016. (photo by Allison Shelley)\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>Lt. Col. Melvin Russell, chief of the Community Partnership division, confers with Sonja Sohn of The Wire, during a rally for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in downtown Baltimore, Maryland, April 23, 2016.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: Allison Shelley for The Intercept\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>I\u003c/span>\u003cu>N NOVEMBER\u003c/u>, on the eve of the first trial in the Gray case, the police department confronted a team of Penn North residents — this time on the football field. Police won the regular game, but then added an extra quarter and had the officers who “weren’t all that” play local children, with the specific instruction to “let them score.” Residents went home with the trophy, “but the truth of the matter is we whipped their butts!” joked Lt. Col. Melvin Russell, who leads the department’s community partnership division.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Driving around different parts of West Baltimore last week, I saw two different groups of officers throwing a football around with kids, an officer at a playground helping small children climb a set of monkey bars, and a young girl playing with a police car’s loudspeaker telling passersby to put their hands on the ground. Young men nearby looked on, slightly confused. This was weird, they mumbled.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Russell, a staunch advocate of cops walking the beat as “partners not occupiers,” was a vocal critic of the department’s failures before and during last year’s protests, and is now leading attempts to reform its culture. I spoke with him at the police headquarters downtown, but ran into him around West Baltimore several times last week.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“You hear law enforcement agencies across the nation saying that they believe in community policing, but at the end of the day, at least for the ones I have looked at, they are just words, I haven’t seen anyone put it in practice,” he said. “We are dead set on showing Baltimore, and proving to them and ourselves, that we do belong in this community.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“We did not get into whatever [situation] we are in overnight,” said Russell, pleading for time. “We are really plowing the ground with the community and planting those seeds. To think that you can wake up tomorrow and see the fruits of that is ridiculous. You got to get through the season to see the fruits of your work.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>In early April, the Maryland legislature passed a police accountability bill — the direct result of conversations that followed Gray’s death — ordering changes to the ways in which officers are hired, trained, and disciplined. But the bill didn’t include a provision the community had requested, giving civilian review boards authority to investigate officer misconduct.\u003c/p>\n\u003cblockquote class=’stylized pull-none’>On the streets, Baltimore residents remain vigilant.\u003c/blockquote>\n\u003cp>Just days earlier, residents of the Gilmor Homes housing project rushed out to the same street where Gray had been arrested when they saw officers chasing a young man. Dozens of residents \u003ca href=\”http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=16114\” target=\”_blank\”>recorded\u003c/a> the arrest on their phones and asked for the officers’ names and badge numbers. Last week, the department opened an investigation after a different \u003ca href=\”http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bs-md-ci-home-arrest-investigation-20160418-story.html\” target=\”_blank\”>video\u003c/a> surfaced online showing police roughly arresting an 18-year-old at his home in East Baltimore. The teenager had told officers to leave because they didn’t have a warrant. “That don’t matter,” one of them is heard saying before officers pull him out of the house and push him to the ground.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Justice in the Gray case remains on hold. A federal investigation of the Baltimore Police Department’s abuses is ongoing. The judge presiding over the first trial of an officer in the Gray case declared a mistrial after jurors failed to reach a verdict. The other officers’ trials have been postponed.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>And Freddie Gray is not the only one awaiting justice. The family of Tyrone West, who was killed by police in 2013, has been holding rallies for 143 consecutive Wednesdays. Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who instantaneously became the city’s heroine last year when she brought charges against the six officers in Gray’s case, was met with angry criticism and growing frustration this month when she declined to reopen West’s case.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>In a sign that Baltimore’s conversations remain tense, just a week earlier, Mosby \u003ca href=\”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiwVnxp_bOc\” target=\”_blank\”>walked off\u003c/a> the stage during a forum when confronted by the fiancée of Keith Davis Jr., a man who was shot by police last summer. Davis survived, but he has since been entangled in a controversial case that reflects the continuing divide between Baltimore’s poor black residents and the city’s law enforcement establishment.\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-bleed width-auto’ style=’width:auto’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/kelly-holsey.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-large wp-image-62154\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/kelly-holsey.jpg\” alt=\”Kelly Holsey is comforted by her daughter Peyten Carter, 5, in the living room of her mother’s home in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland, April 23, 2016. Holsey’s fiancÈ Keith Davis Jr. was recently shot by police and is now in prison charged with murder– all unfairly according to Holsey. (photo by Allison Shelley)\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption overlayed\”>Kelly Holsey is comforted by her daughter Peyten Carter, 5, in the living room of her mother’s home in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland, April 23, 2016.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source’ style=”>Photo: Allison Shelley for The Intercept\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>O\u003c/span>\u003cu>N APRIL 19\u003c/u>, the anniversary of Gray’s death, some paid tribute to his memory with a concert at a Methodist church while others grilled burgers near the street corner where he was arrested. But Keith Davis’s fiancée, Kelly Holsey, her four children, and a handful of supporters were standing outside the city’s sprawling jail complex, climbing a wall, banging on drums, and writing “Free Keith Davis Jr.” in spray paint over a giant banner and in henna tattoos on the girls’ hands.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Across the street was Davis, looking out from a window two rows down from the top of the brick building. They couldn’t see him, but he could see them, and he could hear them. He started banging on the windows in response to their drums, and soon other inmates joined him.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>In June 2015, officers chasing a robbery suspect shot at Davis 44 times. He was struck three times, including in the face, and a bullet remains lodged in his neck, leaving a visible bump. Police said they found a gun on top of a refrigerator in the garage where he took cover. They said his prints were on it. He always maintained that he was innocent and the gun was not his, and refused to take any plea offers. In court, the officers’ contradicting testimonies unraveled, and a jury declined to convict Davis of all but one firearms possession charge. Days later — nine months after he was shot and arrested — prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder, alleging that the gun had been linked to a homicide that occurred earlier the same day.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“They are coming at him with everything they have because they have made a mistake, and instead of apologizing, they just continue to systematically ruin his life,” said Holsey while standing outside the jail. She waved at Keith as the falling darkness made it easier to see his outline through the windows. “He still believes he didn’t do anything, and the evidence will show it. I’m a nervous wreck because I understand that they will do anything, lying, conniving, being deceitful.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Holsey, who said she was on the phone with Davis when officers showered him with bullets, had stayed home during the Freddie Gray protests. “I was always taught that officers do what they’re supposed to do, officers don’t maliciously hurt people. I now know differently,” she said, scrolling through photos of her fiancée on her phone, as her youngest daughter played with her mother’s long braids. “Even when he called and said the police are shooting at me, I was like, what does that mean, why would the police shoot at you? I wasn’t conditioned to think that way.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Rallying support around Davis has been tough, she said. He has done time for drugs, and even though he was working full time doing inventory of Baltimore school lunches, it was hard to paint him as a martyr. “He made mistakes, he didn’t make the best of choices, but he did the best with what he had at the time,” she said, a statement that easily describes many of Baltimore’s poor black men, Gray included.\u003c/p>\n\u003cblockquote class=’stylized pull-none’>But Davis, unlike Gray, survived to tell his own story.\u003c/blockquote>\n\u003cp>“Someone told me that no one would care, because he didn’t die,” said Holsey. “He is the second part of Freddie Gray. Freddie Gray passed away. Had he lived, he would have been arrested, had charges thrown on him, would have had to fight the court system, would have had to fight the state’s attorney’s office. And that’s what Keith is going through now.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The morning after Holsey and others gathered by the jail, Davis was sentenced to five years in prison for the gun charge. Next week he is scheduled to be indicted on the murder charge — but the way in which the case has been handled so far has raised serious questions about the credibility of police and prosecutors, whether the public’s trust in Baltimore’s law enforcement is beyond repair, and how the system can operate if people just assume police are always lying.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“If you’re speaking absolute truths but the environment says, ‘I don’t care what you say out of your mouth at this point, we’re not believing anything,’ that’s an issue,” said Lt. Col. Russell, who would not comment on the Davis case specifically. “That’s our mountain to climb, we have to regain that trust.”\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-bleed width-auto’ style=’width:auto’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/freddie-gray-rip1.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-large wp-image-62344\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/freddie-gray-rip1.jpg\” alt=\”A memorial to Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody just over one year ago, stands at the spot where he was picked up by police in Baltimore, Maryland, April 23, 2016. (photo by Allison Shelley)\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption overlayed\”>A memorial to Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, April 23, 2016.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source’ style=”>Photo: Allison Shelley for The Intercept\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>F\u003c/span>\u003cu>REDDIE GRAY WAS\u003c/u> arrested on the corner of Presbury and North Mount streets, in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of West Baltimore, a block lined with vacant houses and empty lots. A year after his death, the neighborhood appeared unchanged, except for the many tributes to Gray marking the spot where his deadly ride began.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>On the corner where he was picked up, a blue cloud with an angel’s wings and halo bore his name and two dates: 8.16.89-4.19.15, those of his birth and death. J4F, Justice 4 Freddie, was sprayed on the sidewalk. Across the street, Gray’s portrait filled the windowless side of another row house, towering between civil rights marchers on one side, and present-day protesters on the other, each group waving American flags. On the day of the anniversary, a group of college students showed up with seeds and dirt donated by Home Depot and began planting a flower garden by the mural. Children wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts and pins bearing a raised fist and the word “liberation” helped out.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Jaselle Coates, 62, who has lived in that house with her husband, Earl, for 16 years, and in that neighborhood for her whole life, was grilling burgers and hot dogs for them, looking at the sudden commotion in her backyard with some bewilderment, but happy enough about the garden makeover. She called the kids “our new family.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Among the curious gathered nearby, she recognized Anthony Miller, also 62, a former classmate who grew up in the area but left for Virginia 30 years earlier. He returned to the block while in Baltimore visiting his son. “You still here?” Miller asked Coates, excited. “I’m not going anywhere,” she replied flatly.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The incident allowed the two to reconnect and reminisce about a time “before people lost hope,” when “you could come out and play and not worry about dodging bullets,” Miller said. Flowers and the occasional reporter aside, nothing has changed since last year on this block, said Coates. “Nothing’s different, nothing’s new, nothing’s better.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>At least on this day, however, the mood on the block was a festive reminder of the old days, and Coates was not the only one grilling. Across the street, a vacant home had been taken over by a coalition of activists who dubbed it the “Tubman House,” after the abolitionist Harriet Tubman.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“They put her on a 20, but they won’t even think about reparations for slavery,” said Taalib Saber, a law school graduate with long dreadlocks, referring to the news that Tubman would be memorialized on the $20 bill.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Saber and others, with support from a Quaker group and in partnership with local organizations, fixed up the house and turned it into a community center. A Baltimore artist painted Tubman’s portrait in red, gold, and green, the pan-African colors. Activists stocked up on donated food for the neighborhood and crayons for kids. They planted an urban farm-style garden outside, and they plan to start legal and political education classes.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Outside, members of a group called Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle flipped burgers for residents of the Gilmor Homes across the street. Lt. Col. Russell was there, as was Marshall “Eddie” Conway, a former Black Panther leader who spent 44 years in prison in a deeply \u003ca href=\”http://www.democracynow.org/2014/3/5/exclusive_freed_ex_black_panther_marshall\”>controversial\u003c/a> case.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The house itself had only been vacant for a few months. The family that lived there left after the protests, “’cause they wanted to get out of this neighborhood,” Coates said. Until the activists moved in, it was just one of Baltimore’s 17,000 vacant homes, an ubiquitous reminder that the city has seen better days. In neighborhoods like this, it’s not uncommon to drive past entire vacant blocks.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The group said they tried to purchase the property, even had private inspectors evaluate the building’s safety, and repeatedly declared their plans to the city. After they inaugurated the building and received some local press coverage, housing officials showed up and told them the house and the entire block were slated for demolition.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“They are against what we’re trying to do,” said Saber, while giving a tour of the place to a 77-year-old woman named Kay Adler who was wearing a “Revolution – Nothing Less” T-shirt. Adler was a civil rights activist in New York before returning to her native Baltimore. She had lived at the Gilmor Homes as a child, when she said it was “like a village.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>That village atmosphere is what Saber and the others are trying to recreate. They received the support of neighbors and even local gangs who promised to keep an eye on the property. “Look at it, we’re in the heart of the community, the people have spoken, they like it. Why not turn on our water and electricity and let us do what we are here to do?” he said. “The city had its opportunity for how many years? They haven’t done it.”\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-bleed width-auto’ style=’width:auto’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/taalib-saber003.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-large wp-image-62345\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/taalib-saber003.jpg\” alt=\”Attorney and activist Taalib Saber poses for a photo outside a house that is across the street from where Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody just over one year ago, was picked up by police in Baltimore, Maryland, April 23, 2016. Saber is using the home, which he found vacant, for children’s community activities. (photo by Allison Shelley)\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption overlayed\”>Activist Taalib Saber in Baltimore, Maryland, April 23, 2016.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source’ style=”>Photo: Allison Shelley for The Intercept\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>T\u003c/span>\u003cu>HE TUBMAN HOUSE\u003c/u> is one of several grassroots initiatives that have sprung up in West Baltimore, and Sandtown-Winchester in particular, in the aftermath of the protests. Starting in the 1980s, the neighborhood was the ground of an ambitious \u003ca href=\”http://www.abell.org/sites/default/files/publications/arn1113.pdf\” target=\”_blank\”>community renewal project\u003c/a>, as officials and nonprofits invested massively in efforts to rebuild homes and services there. But that initiative focused on charity rather than empowerment, and when it faltered, Sandtown became a cautionary tale of failed urban policy. People here have learned the lesson, and after last year’s protests brought new promises of change, they now rely on no one but themselves.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>At a forum held at the Walters Art Museum last week, Devin Allen answered a question about whether the protests had signified the end of something in the city. “The end of people sitting on their asses,” he said in his usual no-nonsense tone. “Time to work.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>He has done that much himself. After gaining overnight fame, he ditched plans to move to New York to pursue his photography, traded in his equipment, and started collecting donated cameras that he distributes to kids in Sandtown-Winchester, keeping them busy and dispatching a small army of chroniclers to capture the city’s life, struggles, and beauty, the way he did during the protests. \u003cspan class=\”s1\”>Allen partnered with community activist Ericka \u003c/span>\u003cspan class=\”s1\”>Alston\u003c/span>\u003cspan class=\”s1\”>, who set up a recreation center in an old laundry and called it the “Kids Safe Zone.” In less than a year, the place has become a West Baltimore institution. \u003c/span>On any given day Allen can be found at a playground not far from the protests’ ground zero, Pennsylvania Avenue, distributing hand-me-down cameras to a never-ending stream of kids, and taking photos of them with his phone as they take photos of him. The project has no name, no structure, and next to no funding. It’s just what he came up with after the protests.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“I was just like, I need to do something,” he said on a recent afternoon, constantly interrupted by children’s requests for batteries or help with a camera’s settings. “Because protest serves its purpose, it gets your voice heard, but now that you got your voice heard, what do you do? Now your voice is louder and stronger than ever, and that’s where people stop. You can’t just do that, you have to implement.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“I don’t have no faith in politicians. I don’t think they can make change. I believe in stuff like this, becoming self-sufficient in neighborhoods and giving people food and love every day,” said Allen. “You gotta start from the ground up. We gotta rebuild from the ground up.” When the protests ended, “that’s when the real work started. The real work is when the lights are cut off and everybody goes home. And we’re here.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>I\u003c/span>\u003cu>NEVITABLY, “CHANGE” HAS\u003c/u> been the big promise of Baltimore’s mayoral campaign, a heated race with 13 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination alone, which in a city as blue as Baltimore is essentially a guaranteed win in the general.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The race has pitted the city’s political establishment — including former Mayor Sheila Dixon, who resigned in 2010 after she was convicted of embezzlement, and state Sen. Catherine Pugh, who’s currently leading in the polls — against a new generation of challengers, like city Councilman Nick Mosby, Marilyn Mosby’s husband, who has since dropped out of the race, and DeRay McKesson, a Baltimore native who gained national fame as a protester in Ferguson, Missouri.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>In the past, Baltimore’s mayors were all but handpicked by their predecessors, which led to meager turnouts at the polls and elections lacking any surprises or excitement. Traditionally the city’s largest voting block has been middle-class middle-aged black women. But this year’s open race, coupled with the presidential primary and last year’s protests, has made this primary a deeply contested one.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“I do think this election is one of the most important in the history of Baltimore,” said McKesson during a campaign stop at Notre Dame of Maryland University, where he told students that he anticipated record numbers of young people turning out to vote. “This election will just be different.” But whether the energy that erupted in last year’s protests is translating into new enthusiasm for the city’s political process remains to be seen.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Much of the community work since Gray’s death has been in his neighborhood, but some have also tried to bridge the divide in the city that the protests exposed. Desmond Campbell, for instance, a 19-year-old community college student, lives in West Baltimore but spends his evenings downtown, at Baltimore’s beautifully renovated harbor. As an ambassador for the Inner Harbor Project, Cambell works to help connect Baltimore’s black youth to a part of the city that has often rejected them, where store owners turn them away and police officers automatically assume they’re up to no good.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Last year during the uprising, when police used the harbor as a staging area, Campbell went to work there, then returned to protest. On Saturday night, wearing a blue “Hood 2 Harbor” T-shirt, he talked about how divided Baltimore remains a year later. “The question is, what can we do next?” he said, echoing what many in the city are asking. “It’s great to talk a good game, but it feels so much better to back it up.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>This particular project is helping marginalized Baltimore youth reclaim their city. But getting them out to vote is going to be a challenge, Campbell said. “People are made to feel like what they feel doesn’t matter, so why should they vote?” he said. “They’ll say, why should I vote for a mayor when what my neighborhood needs is not getting done? You’re supposed to help me? Help me!”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The next day, a rally in memory of Freddie Gray organized by an influential pastor drew a crowd back to Pennsylvania Avenue, including several candidates. The campaign fliers and T-shirts far outnumbered those bearing Gray’s name, while journalists and older men in suits outnumbered the usual protesters. The event was clearly meant to get people to the polls. “If you’re planning on voting on Tuesday, make some noise!” one of the speakers said, before introducing all the candidates at the rally. A couple of veteran protesters remarked bitterly that many in attendance would only come to the neighborhood for events like this one.\u003c/p>\n\u003cblockquote class=’stylized pull-none’>“I don’t have no faith in politicians. I don’t think they can make change.”\u003c/blockquote>\n\u003cp>Some protesters and community organizers have endorsed candidates — Kwame Rose backed Pugh and the East Baltimore writer D Watkins backed McKesson — but the protagonists of the uprising have not unified behind anyone in particular, and many seem to view all the candidates with skepticism and the election with lukewarm interest. “All these people had this grandiose vision of being the mayor that brought Baltimore back from the uprising,” said Lawrence Grandpre, a member of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, rolling his eyes. “The question is, if a conversation is supposed to happen about general issues of inequity, can that conversation be translated into something that’s more specific? So we can actually do the work, not just talk about structural racism but actually end it?”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>His group, which started as a college debate team at Baltimore’s Towson University and when its members graduated developed into a think tank advancing the interests of black Baltimoreans, rejected the notion that the choice is between protest and politics. They were in the streets last year, and in Annapolis this month, lobbying legislators to pass the police reform bill. And they were outside the Tubman House flipping burgers on the anniversary of Gray’s death. “People see it as an either/or — you’re either gonna do stuff within the system or you’re gonna be a protester and burn it down, and to me, you can do both at the same time,” said Adam Jackson, another member of the group. “And be more effective.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>There is no question that the black youth who took to the streets of Baltimore last year are political — “to be black to a certain degree is to be conscious,” said Saber, the young man who was giving tours of the Tubman House. The question is whether they can be successfully engaged in a political system whose impact has largely excluded them. “You use the voting system as best as you can. Understand it and use it,” he continued, noting, however, that he didn’t hear much talk of voting around Gray’s neighborhood, where the campaign signs that dominate the rest of the city are almost absent.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Getting young black residents of the city’s poorest neighborhoods to come out and vote will take time and profound changes, Councilman Mosby told me at a café downtown. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Mosby, who represents a West Baltimore district, ran for mayor promising to be the alternative to the kind of politicians who have been in office since he was in grade school. He endorsed Pugh after withdrawing from the race, blaming the protests on a long history of “failed leadership,” and echoed the chorus of voices saying that nothing substantial has changed since then.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“You never want a crisis to go to waste,” he said, quoting Rahm Emanuel quoting Churchill. “And we are wasting this crisis.”\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-center width-fixed’ style=’width:1000px’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/shaun-young.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-article-large wp-image-62178\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/shaun-young-1000×667.jpg\” alt=\”Shaun Young walks with his daughters Jordyn, 5, and Korie, 4 months, in their neighborhood, a few blocks from where Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody just over one year ago, was arrested in Baltimore, Maryland, April 23, 2016. (photo by Allison Shelley)\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>Shaun Young walks with his daughters Jordyn, 5, and Korie, 4 months, in their neighborhood, a few blocks from where Freddie Gray was arrested in Baltimore, Maryland, April 23, 2016.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: Allison Shelley for The Intercept\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>B\u003c/span>\u003cu>ACK IN SANDTOWN-WINCHESTER\u003c/u>, Shaun Young — a skinny, 27-year-old protester who tumbled into the spotlight during the uprising when he grabbed a CNN reporter’s mic and yelled, “\u003ca href=\”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9AgXB3SnSo\” target=\”_blank\”>Fuck you! Fuck that! Fuck CNN\u003c/a>!” — said that not much has changed in his own life since last year. He’s still unemployed and recently had to move after police raided the house where he was staying. He was arrested on the anniversary of Freddie Gray’s arrest, while confronting an officer who was arresting another man. “I was arrested for resisting arrest,” he laughed.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>But something bigger has changed for him, he said — his own view of himself and his role in his community. Young said that he misses the protests. Not the tear gas and the anger, but the sense of solidarity and unity he felt on the streets during those days. Like many here, he has been trying to find ways to channel the sense of empowerment he discovered last year.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“I thought about running for mayor too,” he joked, then added he’s not sure he’ll vote on Tuesday. “It almost seems pointless,” he said. “I believe in self-empowerment.” Young said he was still looking for ways to do more, but for now he’s settled on being a great father and “cop watching.” In less than a year, Young had two cameras stolen, but Devin Allen, the photographer, recently hooked him up with a new point and shoot. On a sunny weekend afternoon this month, Young was walking around the neighborhood where Gray was arrested with his 5-year-old and 4-month-old daughters when gun shots went off down the block and two police cars raced by. He looked around for a moment then back at his girls, unfazed. His older daughter, Jordyn, kept playing with his camera. He passed on following the cops this time.\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-center width-fixed’ style=’width:1000px’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/kevin-moore005.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-article-large wp-image-62348\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/kevin-moore005-1000×723.jpg\” alt=\”Kevin Moore, a member of the group Copwatch, poses for a portrait in front of his apartment near where Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody just over one year ago, was picked up by police in Baltimore, Maryland, April 23, 2016. (photo by Allison Shelley)\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>Kevin Moore in Baltimore, Maryland, April 23, 2016.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: Allison Shelley for The Intercept\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Kevin Moore, the man who shot one of the videos of \u003ca href=\”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEAFlZ4Pe08\” target=\”_blank\”>Freddie Gray’s arrest\u003c/a>, has also fully embraced his role as a cop watcher. He walks around with “Cop Watch” printed on his hoodie like a warning sign, and has covered his neighborhood with cop-watching stickers. At his apartment in the Gilmor Homes, he showed me a toilet seat turned into art project, covered with a collage of newspaper clippings about police brutality and the business cards of broadcast reporters collected during the protests. He doesn’t like journalists much, but he’s happy enough to tell me what he saw that day. He must have repeated it a hundred times, but he’s still incredulous when he describes how officers roughly handled Gray’s already cuffed arms and legs.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“I knew Freddie,” he said. “He was a great person.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“My life was already at the point where I was like, man, what am I supposed to do, what is my purpose?” Moore, a 30-year-old father of three, said of that day. “Then this happened, and I knew him, and I felt like, this is my destiny, I was called to be a cop watcher, to be a nuisance to the police in a positive way, exercising my First Amendment right, which says that I’m allowed to document the police.” Officers in the area know Moore well and often take video of him while he documents their activities.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Moore is still angry with the police. He walks around carrying the court subpoenas ordering him to testify in the trials of the six officers charged with Gray’s death. Like everyone else I spoke with, he said nothing has really changed around here — except for people themselves.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“There’s a lot of togetherness, it definitely brought the neighborhood closer. There’s a lot of love now,” he said, fist bumping everyone who passed by. “After Freddie, it was like we woke up.”\u003c/p>\n”,”link”:”https://theintercept.com/2016/04/26/a-year-after-the-baltimore-uprising-the-real-work-is-just-beginning/”,”thumbnail”:{“ID”:62341,”title”:”freddie-gray-mural004″,”excerpt”:”A memorial mural to Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody just over one year ago, stands across the street from the spot where he was picked up by police in Baltimore, Maryland, April 23, 2016. (photo by Allison Shelley)”,”content”:””,”credit”:”Photo: Allison Shelley for The Intercept”,”sizes”:{“feature_hero”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/freddie-gray-mural004-feature-hero.jpg”,”width”:1200,”height”:800},”promo”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/freddie-gray-mural004-promo.jpg”,”width”:440,”height”:220},”promo_large”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/freddie-gray-mural004-promo-large.jpg”,”width”:900,”height”:450},”top_large”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/freddie-gray-mural004-top-large.jpg”,”width”:440,”height”:440},”top_small”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/freddie-gray-mural004-top-small.jpg”,”width”:200,”height”:200},”square”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/freddie-gray-mural004-440×440.jpg”,”width”:440,”height”:440},”article_header”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/freddie-gray-mural004-article-header.jpg”,”width”:1440,”height”:720},”original”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/freddie-gray-mural004.jpg”,”width”:”1440″,”height”:”786″}}},”date”:”2016-04-26T15:04:02+00:00″,”authors”:[{“ID”:104,”display_name”:”Alice Speri”,”url”:”https://theintercept.com/staff/alicesperi/”,”brief_bio”:”Alice Speri is a multimedia journalist with an interest in justice, civil rights, and the struggle for equality.”,”full_bio”:”\u003cp class=\”p1\”>\u003cspan class=\”s1\”>Alice Speri is a multimedia journalist with an interest in justice, civil rights, and the struggle for equality. She has reported on state violence and institutional failure in the U.S. and abroad, from Ferguson, Missouri, to Haiti and Palestine. Her work has appeared in \u003ci>VICE News\u003c/i>, \u003ci>Al Jazeera America\u003c/i>, the\u003ci> New York Times\u003c/i>, and several other publications. She is originally from Italy and lives in the Bronx.\u003c/span>\u003c/p>\n”,”email”:”alice.speri@theintercept.com“,”image_350″:”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/03/alice-speri.jpg”,”twitter”:”@alicesperi”,”facebook”:””,”pgp_key”:”Alice Speri Public Key”,”pgp_file”:”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/03/Alice-Speri-Public-Key.asc”,”pgp_fingerprint”:”719D 99E4 1EE4 B049 2E73 F5FB 9663 A6CF 1D75 41C5″,”user_title”:”Multimedia Reporter”,”user_group”:””,”nicename”:”alicesperi”}],”excerpt_type”:”image-featured”,”is_feature”:”1″,”feature_title”:”After Freddie, We Woke Up”,”categories”:[{“slug”:”uncategorized”,”name”:”Uncategorized”},{“slug”:”uproxx”,”name”:”Uproxx”}],”comments_number”:”12″,”bitly_url”:”http://interc.pt/1rx3DzO”,”comments_open”:true,”is_banner_hidden”:false,”featured_video_url”:””,”meta”:{“links”:[]},”layout”:”default”,”banner_videokey”:””,”post_type”:”post”,”share_twitter_text”:”A Year after the Baltimore uprising, the real work is just beginning”,”credit_research”:””,”credit_research_users_object”:””,”credit_additional_reporting”:””,”credit_additional_reporting_users_object”:””,”credit_photo_illustration”:””,”yoast_wpseo_canonical”:”https://theintercept.com/2016/04/26/a-year-after-the-baltimore-uprising-the-real-work-is-just-beginning/”,”yoast_wpseo_general_title”:”A Year After the Baltimore Uprising – The Intercept”,”yoast_wpseo_general_description”:”Amid a closely watched mayoral campaign, Baltimore’s black community expects little from electoral politics.”,”yoast_wpseo_facebook_title”:””,”yoast_wpseo_facebook_description”:””,”yoast_wpseo_facebook_thumbnail”:””,”yoast_wpseo_twitter_title”:””,”yoast_wpseo_twitter_description”:””,”yoast_wpseo_twitter_thumbnail”:””},”62449″:{“ID”:62449,”title”:”Searching for Ground Truth in the Kunduz Hospital Bombing”,”slug”:”searching-for-ground-truth-in-the-kunduz-hospital-bombing”,”excerpt”:”While patients and more than 100 employees and caretakers slept in the Kunduz Trauma Center, an American AC-130 gunship prepared to strike the MSF hospital.”,”content”:”\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>W\u003c/span>\u003cu>hen the Taliban\u003c/u> overran Kunduz last September after a monthlong siege, the northern Afghan city became the first to fall to the insurgency since the war began in 2001. A week earlier, many Kunduz residents had left town to observe Eid al-Adha, the sacrificial feast honoring Abraham’s act of submission to God. The heavy fighting sent the remaining Kunduzis fleeing as dead bodies littered the streets.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>On Friday, October 2, the city lay quiet, with just one building lit up against the dark sky. Most other international organizations had evacuated when the fighting began, but the Kunduz Trauma Center run by Médecins Sans Frontières remained open throughout the battle for the city. It was one of the few buildings with a generator. Throughout the week, violence seemed to lap against the walls of the hospital without ever engulfing it. All around the 35,620-square-meter compound, the site of an old cotton factory, fighting ebbed and flowed. Doctors and nurses marked the intensity of battle by the freshly wounded who arrived at the gate. According to MSF, the hospital treated 376 emergency patients between September 28, when the city fell, and October 2.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The last week had seen much bloodshed, but Friday was uncharacteristically calm: no fighting nearby, no gunshots, no explosions. “I remember seeing a child flying a kite,” recalled Dr. Kathleen Thomas, “and thought to myself, today is a calm day.” That evening, while more than 100 MSF employees and caretakers slept in a basement below the hospital, several staff members remained awake, preparing for what the night might bring. There were 105 patients in the hospital, including three or four Afghan government soldiers and about 20 Taliban fighters, two of whom appeared to be of high rank. Hospital staff stepped outside to take in the bracing autumn air, something they’d lately refrained from doing for fear of stray bullets. The night sky was open and clear.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan style=\”line-height: 1.5\”>Some 7,000 feet above, an AC-130 gunship was preparing to fire. At 2:08 a.m., on October 3, a missile began its descent, gliding through a cloudless sky.\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-bleed width-auto’ style=’width:auto’>\u003c/span>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/kunduz-hospital-before.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-large wp-image-62611\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/kunduz-hospital-before.jpg\” alt=\”A young patient waits to be X-rayed with her father at Medicines Sans Frontieres (MSF) Kunduz Trauma Center where free treatment is provided to patients regardless of their political affiliation (ie. the side on which the fight in the war between the Taliban and Government forces) and gives precedence to those wounded as a result of war.\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption overlayed\”>A young patient waits to be X-rayed with her father at the Kunduz Trauma Center run by Médecins Sans Frontières, May 20, 2015.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source’ style=”>Photo: Andrew Quilty/Oculi \u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>A\u003c/span>\u003cu>bout two hours\u003c/u> earlier, nurse Mohammad Poya lay down on the concrete floor of the hospital’s administrative office. Poya had a few hours for sleep, but instead dead bodies were on his mind. In the morning he had visited the morgue to find its refrigerators full. Earlier in the week, Poya had asked the orderlies to pack the dead in as tight as possible. When there was no more space, he asked the cleaners to scrub the front porch of the morgue so that the excess corpses could be stacked there. What Poya hated most was carelessness. Many died undignified deaths in Afghanistan; the least the hospital could do was to show the dead the respect that had eluded them in life.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Poya was especially worried about the fighting that had ensnarled the streets around the compound. With all major roads blocked, the hospital was running low on supplies. Corridors overflowed with the wounded, and a decision was made to triage patients earlier than usual to avoid wasting resources on those least likely to survive. The last thought Poya remembers having before finally falling asleep was that they would have to start turning away patients.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-right width-fixed’ style=’width:231px’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/Guilhem-Molinie1.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”alignright wp-image-62722 size-article-medium\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/Guilhem-Molinie1-540×702.jpg\” alt=\”AFGHANISTAN-UNREST-MSF\” width=\”540\” height=\”702\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>Guilhem Molinie during a press conference at the MSF office in Kabul on Oct. 8, 2015.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images\u003c/p>\u003c/div>Earlier that Friday, at 1 p.m., Guilhem Molinie, the head of MSF in Afghanistan, sat at his desk in Kabul to write an email to a contact in the U.S. 3rd Special Forces Group, which had been deployed to Kunduz after the fall of the city. “Questions in case things go bad,” the subject line read. It wasn’t the first time that week he had taken precautions. On Monday, when a Taliban victory seemed certain, Molinie called an insurgent contact to reaffirm the hospital’s neutral position. He did the same with the other side, sending a letter with GPS coordinates of the hospital to the Afghan National Security Council, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Health, the U.S. Embassy, USAID, and the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the agency’s body tasked with responding to complex emergencies. The U.N. forwarded Molinie’s email to Col. Paul Sarat, the deputy commander of NATO’s mission in the north, as well as to Maj. Gen. Abdul Hamid, who headed the 209th Corps of the Afghan National Army, which is responsible for the country’s northern nine provinces. Molinie tried to reach out to Freedom’s Sentinel, the U.S. counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan, but was not successful; he assumed he had done enough.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Andres Romero, MSF’s head liaison with the U.S. government, forwarded the coordinates to Carter Malkasian, an old Afghan hand and an adviser to top U.S. military officer Joseph Dunford of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Malkasian emailed Romero to inquire whether the hospital had been overrun by the Taliban. Romero told him no, but this information appeared not to have traveled back to the special operations forces on the ground, since on Friday, according to the \u003ca href=\”http://bigstory.ap.org/article/a39810b7161d42fcb0abe36576d26730/troops-who-sought-strike-thought-taliban-had-hospital\”>Associated Press\u003c/a>, a senior officer with the 3rd Special Forces Group wrote in his daily report that the hospital was under Taliban control and that he planned to clear the grounds in the coming days.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Among the units accompanying the 3rd Special Forces Group were Afghan commandos and the 6th Special Operations Kandak, reporting to the Ministry of Defense; 222 and 333 national mission units, reporting to the Ministry of Interior; and a police special unit already based out of Kunduz. The men had not worked together before, and they were now in charge of leading the battle to take back Kunduz city. “They just got thrown up there, into an environment they didn’t know much about,” said a security analyst based in northern Afghanistan, who was formerly an adviser to the U.S. special operations forces in Afghanistan. The security analyst asked not to be identified by name, as did many of the dozens of individuals who were interviewed for this article in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Some were not authorized to speak on the record; others, including residents of Kunduz and Afghan security personnel, feared retaliation for doing so.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The picture that emerges from these firsthand accounts, as well as from interviews with several high-ranking Afghan officials, is one of remarkable chaos and uncertainty, even by the standards of war. Those on the ground said it was not clear who was in charge, and those in charge seemed not to have had a clear understanding of what was happening on the ground at any given point before, during, and after the fall of the city.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>\u003cspan style=\”line-height: 1.5\”>\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-center width-fixed’ style=’width:1000px’>\u003c/span>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/afghan-special-forces.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-article-large wp-image-62629\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/afghan-special-forces-1000×592.jpg\” alt=\”Afghan special forces prepare to launch operation to retake the city from Taliban insurgents in Kunduz, Afghanistan, Sept. 29, 2015.<br /><br /> Afghan security forces launched counter-offensive on Tuesday morning to retake the northern Kunduz city and expel Taliban militants from the area, Kunduz police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Hussaini said.<br /><br /> (Xinhua/Najim Rahim)<br /><br /> /CHINENOUVELLE_2909.AFG.003/Credit:CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/1509291919 (Newscom TagID: sfphotos823730.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>Afghan special forces prepare to launch an operation to retake the city of Kunduz from Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, Sept. 29, 2015.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: Chine Nouvelle/Sipa/Newscom\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>A\u003c/span>\u003cu>t 10 p.m.\u003c/u>, Molinie returned to his office to speak with Heman Nagarathnam, who was in charge of the hospital in Kunduz. It was a quiet night and Nagarathnam stepped out for a cigarette to take the call. The nightly check-ins had allowed Molinie to keep updated on the goings-on around the hospital. Molinie knew, for instance, that on Tuesday a local Taliban representative visited Nagarathnam to give his reassurance. He knew that the hospital lay in a Taliban-controlled area, but that Afghan soldiers were still crossing the front line to bring in patients. By Wednesday, however, worries of a Taliban takeover had pushed soldiers to the provincial hospital, which was in an area controlled by government forces.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>At one point that week, government forces had regained the city’s central square, before losing it again to the Taliban. On Friday night, Nagarathnam relayed his concerns that the hospital was now located in an area vulnerable to counterattack. They discussed the 2,000 sandbags that he had ordered to defend the hospital against stray bullets. A little after 1:30 a.m., he went to bed.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>For some time, Molinie told me, something had been bothering him. “It was never clear who was in charge of what,” he said, in reference to the metastasizing 15-year-old conflict. The current war in Afghanistan was being run by two distinct commands: NATO’s Operation Resolute Support (RS) and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan’s Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Resolute Support was a non-combat mission with a limited mandate to train, advise, and assist Afghan security forces. Freedom’s Sentinel, successor to Operation Enduring Freedom, was the latest version of America’s so-called war on terror. It was meant to hunt down al Qaeda remnants, but without the rigor of public scrutiny, Freedom’s Sentinel seemed to have spiraled beyond its already vague mandate.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-left width-fixed’ style=’width:300px’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/GettyImages-460504398.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”alignleft wp-image-62589 size-article-medium\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/GettyImages-460504398-540×360.jpg\” alt=\”JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, NEW JERSEY – DECEMBER 15: U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he takes the stage to address an audience of armed forces December 15, 2014 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. Obama will address the troops to thank them for their service and mark the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan. ahead of the upcoming holidays. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)\” width=\”540\” height=\”360\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>President Barack Obama at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, Dec. 15, 2014.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images\u003c/p>\u003c/div>Despite President Barack Obama’s 2014 announcement that America’s combat mission in Afghanistan would end in 2015, Molinie had noticed that many military operations seemed to be outside the bounds of both Resolute Support and Freedom’s Sentinel. It was never clear where one mission ended and another began. Long before January 2016, when President Obama expanded the counterterrorism mission of Freedom’s Sentinel to include the fight against the Islamic State, for instance, there were already airstrikes targeting ISIS in the eastern province of Nangarhar.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>When I asked Col. Michael Lawhorn, spokesperson for both NATO and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, to explain the differing missions of the two commands, he said: “Think of it as a big box marked RS and inside that you have a small box marked Freedom’s Sentinel but inside that box you have two smaller boxes marked Resolute Support and another one marked counterterrorism.” When I inquired how we might tell all these different boxes apart, Lawhorn conceded, “It’s not always clear under what authority an action is taken.” The same was true, he said, of what happened in Kunduz.\u003cspan style=\”line-height: 1.5\”>\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-bleed width-auto’ style=’width:auto’>\u003c/span>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/kunduz-hospital-andrew-quilty.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-large wp-image-62624\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/kunduz-hospital-andrew-quilty.jpg\” alt=\”kunduz-hospital-andrew-quilty\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption overlayed\”>The destroyed operating room of the MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, Oct. 10, 2015.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source’ style=”>Photo: Andrew Quilty/Oculi \u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>B\u003c/span>\u003cu>ack at the\u003c/u> hospital, Poya had finally fallen asleep when he was suddenly awakened by a terrible sound. Outside his window, the intensive care unit was on fire. He looked up and saw that a plane — called a \u003cem>boongana\u003c/em> by locals because of the dull hum the plane emits — was orbiting the hospital. How to describe the barrage that followed? Poya experienced the bombing as an interminable terror, a series of deafening noises interrupted by terrifying silence. Death felt certain, so he called his father to describe where the family might find his remains. He saw a colleague, a 35-year-old pharmacist, shot dead while trying to escape the compound through its south gate.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-right width-fixed’ style=’width:300px’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/AC-130-belly.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”alignright wp-image-62677 size-article-medium\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/AC-130-belly-540×360.jpg\” alt=\”AC-130-belly\” width=\”540\” height=\”360\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>Belly of an AC-130 gunship.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: Wikipedia\u003c/p>\u003c/div>An AC-130 is a plane built around a gun. Its pylon turns allow for the Gatling-style cannon to fire as many as 6,000 rounds per minute. It is the most lethal air weapons platform: It flies longer, carries more weapons, and is deadlier than any other aircraft. The same gunship was responsible for capturing Kunduz from the Taliban and al Qaeda in the early days of the U.S.-led NATO intervention in Afghanistan. Then, as now, up to 14 crew members on the plane would have been assisted by a joint terminal attack coordinator on the ground, who would have walked the crew through training the 105 mm howitzer on the target to aim, then fire.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>At 2:09 a.m. Molinie woke up to a phone call. Nagarathnam was on the line telling him the hospital was on fire. Minutes later, another call informed him that the hospital was being attacked from the air. Molinie called his Special Forces contact at the J3 operations department who told him he didn’t know of any airstrikes in the area. Molinie then called the U.N., whose contacts at NATO said that RS was not aware of any operations either. Believing that it had to be an Afghan military operation, Molinie contacted the deputy interior minister and the operational commander with the Defense Ministry. Molinie charted the sequence of events in a logbook. The last item, at 2:53 a.m., reads, “Plane still around. Just bombed again.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>By the time the attack was over, the intensive care unit, the emergency room, and the operating theaters were burned to a husk. The corrugated tin roof had peeled off, and only the walls remained standing, pockmarked with cannon fire. The aircraft had fired 211 shells, killing 42 patients and staff who had trusted in the hospital’s neutral and protected status. Patients had burned in their beds. Six charred bodies awaited forensic investigation to determine their identity; they had been burned beyond recognition.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The AC-130 had destroyed the main building of the MSF hospital, but all other structures remained intact. The trajectory of the damage neatly matched the GPS coordinates that Molinie had sent around just three days earlier. It was evident that the Americans were involved, but in the early days, no one knew in what capacity or to what end.\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-bleed width-auto’ style=’width:auto’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/john-campbell.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”alignright size-large wp-image-62723\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/john-campbell.jpg\” alt=\”Commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John F. Campbell stands beside a map of the northern Afghan city of Kunduz as he addresses a press conference at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul on November 25, 2015. A deadly air strike on a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital was “caused primarily by human error”, the US commander in Afghanistan said Wednesday, promising disciplinary action as he detailed a US investigation into the catastrophic attack. AFP PHOTO/Massoud HOSSAINI/POOL / AFP / POOL / MASSOUD HOSSAINI (Photo credit should read MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images)\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption overlayed\”>Gen. John F. Campbell, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, stands beside a map of the city of Kunduz as he addresses a press conference at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul on Nov. 25, 2015.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source’ style=”>Photo: Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp> \u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>F\u003c/span>\u003cu>rom the beginning\u003c/u>, the U.S. military struggled to keep its story straight. Officials initially denied that U.S. forces had attacked the MSF hospital at all, saying that the building might have sustained collateral damage from an adjacent airstrike. Gen. John F. Campbell, the top American commander in Afghanistan, stated that U.S. forces were taking fire when the airstrike was called in. On October 4, Ash Carter, the secretary of defense, admitted that “there was American air action in that area” and that “there was definitely destruction in those structures and the hospital.” The narrative shifted the next day when Gen. Campbell said Afghan forces had come under fire and called in the airstrike.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>MSF called for an independent investigation, denouncing the attack as a war crime. After a six-week investigation, Gen. Campbell held a \u003ca href=\”http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/pentagon/2015/11/25/us-troops-suspended-kunduz-hospital-attack-top-general-says/76371506/\”>briefing\u003c/a> in Kabul, on the day before Thanksgiving, and presented what was now the official version of the events: The attack was the result of a cascading series of human errors and mechanical failures.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>On September 30, 2015, he said, the Afghan forces and their U.S. advisers established themselves at the provincial chief of police compound. The Afghan forces planned a clearing operation and the U.S. forces agreed to have support on standby.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>According to Campbell, the aircrew believed they were coming to the rescue of ground forces that were taking fire, a “troops in contact situation.” They rushed to take off, skipping the pre-mission briefing.\u003c/p>\n\u003cblockquote class=’stylized pull-right’>Gen. Campbell said that the military had not followed its own rules of engagement during the Kunduz airstrike.\u003c/blockquote>\n\u003cp>Campbell said the crew was given a new mission after takeoff, an order to bomb a local office of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan government’s primary intelligence agency, that had been taken over by the Taliban. “During the flight,” he said, “the electronic systems onboard the aircraft malfunctioned, preventing the operation of an essential command and control capability and eliminating the ability of aircraft to transmit video, send and receive email, or send and receive electronic messages.” The crew entered GPS coordinates for the NDS facility, but the electronic system brought the plane to an empty field instead. From the empty field, they located the “closest, largest building” that matched the commander’s description. The internal NATO investigation found the aircrew did not observe hostile activity.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Gen. Campbell said that the military had not followed its own rules of engagement during the Kunduz airstrike. The U.S. commander who called in the strike did not have eyes on the target; he was several hundred meters away, in the visual range of neither the NDS nor the MSF hospital. Nor was the strike necessary for force protection.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>In contrast to the U.S. military’s narrative, the Afghan government’s response has been more consistent. Immediately following the attack, Afghan authorities came out saying the strike was justified because the hospital was a Taliban stronghold.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-left width-fixed’ style=’width:300px’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/GettyImages-101661715.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”alignleft wp-image-62596 size-article-medium\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/GettyImages-101661715-540×369.jpg\” alt=\”Afghanistan’s interior minister Hanif Atmar speaks during a press conference at the interior ministry in Kabul on June 6, 2010. Afghanistan’s interior minister and secret service chief resigned after security failings at a “peace jirga” in Kabul that came under militant attack, President Hamid Karzai’s office said. The resignations came after Karzai called in the pair to account for a rocket attack by suspected Taliban rebels on the landmark meeting in Kabul last week intended to set out a plan for ending the insurgency. AFP PHOTO/Massoud HOSSAINI (Photo credit should read MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images)\” width=\”540\” height=\”369\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>Hanif Atmar, then Afghanistan’s interior minister, speaks during a press conference at the Ministry of Interior in Kabul on June 6, 2010.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images\u003c/p>\u003c/div>Maj. Abdul Kabir, an Afghan air liaison officer who helped coordinate airstrike requests during the fighting in Kunduz, told me that no one had briefed government forces on a mission specific no-strike list. A NATO official who worked on the joint Afghan-NATO investigation said that the previous rules of engagement did not include the no-strike list, but that the item had since been added. Kabir and others said they had noted no difference in the rules of engagement after the Kunduz strike.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Sediq Sediqi, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, said that 10 to 15 terrorists were hiding in the hospital. National security adviser Hanif Atmar said the government would take full responsibility, as “we are without doubt, 100 percent convinced the place was occupied by Taliban,” according to meeting notes reviewed by the AP. Acting Defense Minister Masoom Stanekzai also told AP that the hospital was used as shelter for insurgents.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>MSF has repeatedly denied that armed Taliban fighters were present in the hospital, and no one has presented any credible evidence to support accusations to the contrary.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>In his November briefing, Gen. Campbell said that the “individuals most closely associated with the incident have been suspended from their duty positions,” pending disciplinary measures. Yet the U.S. has steadfastly refused to countenance an independent investigation, which has led to suspicions of a cover-up. “Had the authorities said it is a terrible mistake from day one, then it would have been easier to believe that it was a mistake,” MSF’s Molinie told me. “But because in the beginning Afghan senior officials said the hospital was bombed because it was a Taliban base, it is difficult for us to swallow the 100 percent mistake scenario.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-1000 width-auto’ style=’width:auto’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/taliban-kunduz.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-large wp-image-62625\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/taliban-kunduz.jpg\” alt=\”Taliban fighters hug each other a day after they overran the strategic northern city of Kunduz, on September 29, 2015. Afghanistan on September 29, 2015, mobilised reinforcements for a counter-offensive to take back Kunduz, a day after Taliban insurgents overran the strategic northern city in their biggest victory since being ousted from power in 2001. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption overlayed\”>Taliban fighters hug each other a day after they overran the strategic northern city of Kunduz, Sept. 29, 2015.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: AFP/Getty Images\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>G\u003c/span>\u003cu>en. Campbell\u003c/u> had just landed in Washington, D.C., when he heard the news from Kunduz. The fall of the city had apparently come as a surprise to everyone, including the Taliban. One exception was the governor of Kunduz, Omar Safi, who spent most of his short 10-month tenure sounding desperate alarm at the imminent fall of the city.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Safi told me he wrote 35 letters to the U.S. National Security Council, even breaching protocol and emailing Gen. John Campbell directly for air support. Campbell told Safi that the new mandate did not allow for close air support for Afghan forces. Even so, before departing for Washington, in an effort to decentralize command within forces, Campbell had deputized strike authority to a subordinate, a tactical level commander who would make decisions in the pitch of battle.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The city had been on the verge of collapse all through 2015, but had always managed to remain under government control. It nearly fell in April, when the Taliban began another bid for the city. Then came another scare in June, when the northeastern districts fell to the Taliban while the center held. By the fall, said the security analyst based in northern Afghanistan, “It was the third time everyone had seen that movie.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“I don’t think anyone had any clue about what was going on on the ground,” said the security analyst, who monitored the fall of Kunduz closely. He remembers calling up the political adviser to Gen. Campbell to inform him that the city was about to fall. “I sent him a text saying the U.N. office had been overrun and that it was on fire. He wrote back, ‘We just checked and it’s only a couple of the outlying buildings that are on fire.’ If someone had said that about RS HQ, ‘No, it’s not the HQ. It’s just the PX that’s on fire,’ I don’t think it would have gone over so well.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cblockquote class=’stylized pull-none’>“Don’t forget intelligence is about information and misinformation.”\u003c/blockquote>\n\u003cp>According to Brig. Gen. Ashraf Khan, Afghan air ops commander for the north, less than 24 hours after Kunduz fell, Gen. Campbell authorized the use of AC-130s by ground commanders.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>In a telephone interview, Gen. Campbell said that he would not comment on rules of engagement, but said, “If somebody was under attack and they needed to use the AC-130, why would they have to wait until I landed to ask for permission to do that? You know what I’m saying? You always have the right to self-defense. I’m not talking Kunduz — I’m talking any time.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“If they have to call their boss, who have to call their boss, who have to call their boss, who have to call their boss, who have to call their boss, who has to call me who’s on an airplane, by that time, the guys on the ground are dead.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“There is always going to be somebody in charge,” Campbell said. “When you have changes in leadership, you lay out who has the authority to do what, in all cases.” He said that he had visited the site of a C-130 crash before he left Afghanistan, and then as soon as he landed in Washington, he found out about the Kunduz strike. “The initial reports said we had hit a hospital, and I know we don’t target hospitals so something had to go wrong.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>I\u003c/span>\u003cu>n an ordinary\u003c/u> scenario, an Afghan force on the ground requests an airstrike through its chain of command at the Ministry of Defense, which in turn contacts NATO. A request requires an eight-line form including the grid location, threat level, and other details such as geographical or biographical information submitted via email, and takes two to three days for approval, according to flight coordinators. But in the heat of combat, strikes can be requested via an unencrypted mobile phone and may be approved in less than 20 minutes, according to an RS flight coordinator who spoke to \u003cem>The Intercept\u003c/em>.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>A former Afghan NDS official said that the initial raw report about insurgents being in the MSF hospital was corroborated with signals intelligence — phone or radio communications that were tracked back to the compound. These two streams of information, he said, along with eyewitness accounts, elevated the information into “finished intel,” indicating that the Taliban were inside the hospital. Yet according to a former Afghan government adviser, the aftermath of the hospital strike was marked by uncertainty. “Don’t forget intelligence is about information and misinformation.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-right width-fixed’ style=’width:230px’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/Ashraf-Ghani.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”alignright wp-image-62681 size-article-medium\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/Ashraf-Ghani-540×704.jpg\” alt=\”KABUL, AFGHANISTAN- OCTOBER 01: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani talks with Jornalists during a press conference at presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 1, 2015. Ghani says that Kunduz was brought back under government control after a six-hour military assault on Taliban fighters holding the city. (Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)\” width=\”540\” height=\”704\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during a press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Oct. 1, 2015.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images\u003c/p>\u003c/div>According to the former government adviser, in the days following the hospital strike, the Afghans were under immense pressure from the U.S. military to stay in line. President Ashraf Ghani, who issued a statement expressing his “deep sorrow,” was sympathetic to MSF’s call for an independent fact-finding mission, but when the U.S. refused to participate, the Afghans were “put in a position of saying no.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“The Americans put their foot down and said that’s not going to happen,” the former adviser said. “[They] made it very clear that that could result in a loss of support.” The threat of possible war crimes charges loomed over the discussion.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>In the absence of an independent investigation, a joint Afghan-NATO Combined Civilian Casualty Assessment Team was deployed to Kunduz. President Ghani also assigned an Afghan-led commission overseen by former NDS head Amrullah Saleh, which ended up excluding the hospital strike from its investigation.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The MSF bombing brought to the surface the underlying tensions within the coalition government, led by President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. Discord between the two men had resulted in a standoff, which their political rivals cited as the reason for the fall of Kunduz. Indeed, the defeat came on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the national unity government, which according to its detractors had achieved nothing. Even amid deteriorating security, due to the persistent animus between the two leaders, Afghanistan did not yet have a permanent defense minister.\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-bleed width-auto’ style=’width:auto’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/kunduz_map_theintercept-05.png\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-large wp-image-62744\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/kunduz_map_theintercept-05.png\” alt=\”kunduz_map_theintercept-05\” />\u003c/a> \u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>More than 20 Afghan government officials and members of security forces interviewed for this article held as an unassailable belief that the Taliban had attacked Afghan forces from inside the hospital. That deeply held conviction remained resolute even in the face of mounting counterevidence.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“[The fall of] Kunduz was a considerable loss of face for the government,” the former government adviser told me. National security adviser Hanif Atmar was “belligerent,” he said, on the issue of Kunduz. “He is a very thoughtful and intelligent person. He wouldn’t jump to conclusions. But in this case, it didn’t seem like he wanted to find the truth.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“It was a very emotional time for everybody,” the former government adviser said. “It was a huge loss of prestige. Morale was zero.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan style=\”line-height: 1.5\”>In this strategic and emotional nadir, according to Mark Bowden, the United Nations deputy special representative for Afghanistan, there arose a feeling that “things previously not legitimate became more legitimate.” The general sense among the Afghan forces was that the war was going nowhere good. In a losing battle, all becomes fair, including the bombing of a hospital that many had come to believe was harboring insurgents. \u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-center width-fixed’ style=’width:1024px’>\u003c/span>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/xnaphotos565469.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-large wp-image-62599\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/xnaphotos565469.jpg\” alt=\”(151011) — KUNDUZ, Oct. 11, 2015 (Xinhua) — A policeman stands guard in front of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital destroyed by a U.S. airstrike in Kunduz city, capital of northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan, Oct. 11, 2015. The U.S. military, which allegedly carried out air strikes in support of the Afghan forces, inadvertently hit a hospital run by MSF last Saturday, killing 22, including 12 medical staff and injuring 37 others. (Xinhua/Omid) (Newscom TagID: xnaphotos565469.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>A police officer stands guard in front of the Médecins Sans Frontières hospital destroyed by a U.S. airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan, Oct. 11, 2015.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: Omid/Xinhua/Newscom\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>O\u003c/span>\u003cu>n the night\u003c/u> of the hospital strike, a unit commander with the Ministry of Defense special forces was at the police headquarters taking fire from the direction of the hospital. “Vehicles were coming out of there, engaging, then retreating,” he told me. When I pointed out that he couldn’t have seen the gate of the hospital from where he was, several hundred meters away, he said that he was sure because he had personally interrogated a cleaner who told him that the hospital was full of “armed men using it as a cover.” The cleaner told the commander that there were Pakistani generals using the hospital as a recollection point and that they had set up a war room there. When I challenged his line of vision again, he responded, “Anyone can claim anything. The truth is different.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Saleh, the author of the 200-page Afghan commission report on the fall of Kunduz and head of one of the many informal political coalitions opposing the current government, believed that the “hospital sanctity had been violated” and held out as evidence 130 hours of recorded conversations with more than 600 interlocutors. “I spoke with the MSF country director,” Saleh told me recently. “They don’t deny that the hospital was infiltrated by the Taliban.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>MSF has consistently denied that armed fighters were present in the hospital.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Saleh claimed that Afghan forces had been taking fire from the southeastern wall of the hospital, used as a shield by the insurgents. Ismail Masood, chief of staff to the governor of Kunduz, who sat in on meetings with the NDS and other intelligence agencies, said he had also heard that “it was in the parking area to the east where the Taliban were present.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Neighbors, however, remembered something different. Abdul Wahab, a gatekeeper working across the street from the hospital, told me that the Taliban regularly brought their injured to the trauma center, but that he never saw any armed insurgents enter it, nor did he recall seeing any weapons fire coming from the hospital. Abdul Maroof, whose warehouse shares its north wall with the hospital, said he saw “as many as a hundred” Taliban fighters entering the NDS office across the street, but never the hospital.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>MSF, for its part, stated that on the day of the strike, “No fighting was taking place around the hospital, no planes were heard overhead, no gunshots were reported, nor explosions in the vicinity of the hospital.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“I have all my sympathies with the victims,” Saleh said. “But it doesn’t serve the purpose of the survivor to say, yes, there was fighting. They have to show themselves as victims, which they are anyway.” Saleh said the hospital was “part of the tragedy but not the whole tragedy.” In a war that has seen a box of propaganda leaflets dropped from a plane crush a 5-year-old girl to death, and wedding parties assaulted by aircraft, a hospital bombing did not appear to him to be out of the ordinary.\u003c/p>\n\u003cblockquote class=’stylized pull-left’>“Have you tasted fear?” Kabir asked. Before I could answer, he pulled out a pistol. “When I put this pistol to your head, do you feel afraid?”\u003c/blockquote>\n\u003cp>A former Afghan special forces captain was indignant at what he considered unwarranted media coverage of the hospital strike. “This is going to limit airstrikes,” he told me. “And without airstrikes, we would have lost Kunduz. We need the Americans to stand with us,” he said. “Stories like these are going to hurt innocent people. When Daesh take over Afghanistan, the first person to be raped or killed will be you, the foreigner.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“Afghans have little consideration for the Geneva Conventions,” a former senior Western official told me. “Their main concern is continuing to have U.S. backing and aerial support. Their biggest fear after the strike was that this would put a chill on their being able to request U.S. air support when shit hits the fan.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Maj. Abdul Kabir, the air liaison officer, wanted me to understand how difficult war can be. “Will you let your men get killed because of a silly rule? Are you saying fighting is easy?” I said that I had never been in such a situation but could imagine the challenge. “From one side, you have the Taliban attacking you, and from another side, you have your soldiers saying they are just meters away. And then we have these international rules that make it difficult to fight the enemy.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“Have you tasted fear?” Kabir asked. Before I could answer, he pulled out a pistol. We were sitting in a hotel room in Mazar-e-Sharif, waiting to board a helicopter to Kunduz. “When I put this pistol to your head, do you feel afraid?” I told him that I understood the point he was making. “In war, you don’t feel too kind for your enemy. You don’t show kindness because you want to kill him so that you can save your own life.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Others who could not fully imagine the American military’s capacity for failure simply subscribed to ex post facto reasoning. “They cannot believe this is a mistake, and so they work backwards,” Molinie said. They clung to “an ideological vision of facts” and “saw things through the prism of their own beliefs.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan style=\”line-height: 1.5\”>\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-center width-fixed’ style=’width:1000px’>\u003c/span>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/kunduz-taliban002.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-article-large wp-image-62634\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/kunduz-taliban002-1000×701.jpg\” alt=\”KUNDUZ, AFGHANISTAN – OCTOBER 4 : Afghan security forces walk past a Taliban fighter’s dead body after retaking Kunduz from the Taliban in Kunduz city, north of Kabul, Afghanistan on October 4, 2015. Afghan officials said 150 Taliban militants were killed and dozens of others wounded in the operation in northern Kunduz. (Photo by Jawed Dehsabzi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>Afghan security forces walk past a Taliban fighter’s dead body after retaking Kunduz from the Taliban, Oct. 4, 2015.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: Jawed Dehsabzi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>L\u003c/span>\u003cu>t. Abdullah Gard\u003c/u>, who heads the Ministry of Interior’s Quick Reaction Force, said he had been unhappy about the hospital ever since the MSF opened a clinic in Chardara district, a Taliban stronghold. MSF had noticed that the patients were experiencing delays that resulted in loss of limb, or life, and so last June, the group opened the stabilization post on the other side of the front line. To Gard and his men, that sealed the fate of the hospital. In the eyes of the besieged Afghan military fighting a losing war, MSF had veered too far to the other side. In the binaries that dictate the conflict, in which only two positions are made possible, being a neutral player was an untenable position. War makes monsters of the other; those who do not stand with us become those who stand against us. “They are seen as belligerents in the fight rather than an impartial group,” the security analyst based in northern Afghanistan told me. “In the government’s eyes, Chardara went too far.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan style=\”line-height: 1.5\”>Gard spoke of MSF with the personal hatred reserved for the truly perfidious. He accused the group of “patching up fighters and sending them back out,” a line I heard repeatedly. Cmdr. Abdul Wahab, head of the unit that guarded the provincial chief of police compound, told me he could not understand why in battle an insurgent could be killed, but the minute he was injured, he would be taken to a hospital and given protective status. Wouldn’t it be easier, he asked, wouldn’t the war be less protracted or bloody if they were allowed to march in and take men when they were most compromised? He had visited the MSF hospital three times to complain. Each time a foreign doctor explained the hospital’s neutral status and its no-weapons policy, which mystified him.\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-bleed width-auto’ style=’width:auto’>\u003c/span>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/msf-hospital-kunduz.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-large wp-image-62627\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/msf-hospital-kunduz.jpg\” alt=\”(151011) — KUNDUZ, Oct. 11, 2015 (Xinhua) — Photo taken on Oct. 11, 2015 shows the destroyed Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital after a U.S. airstrike in Kunduz city, capital of northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan. The U.S. military, which allegedly carried out air strikes in support of the Afghan forces, inadvertently hit a hospital run by MSF last Saturday, killing 22, including 12 medical staff and injuring 37 others. (Xinhua/Omid) (Newscom TagID: xnaphotos565468.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption overlayed\”>The destroyed Médecins Sans Frontières hospital after a U.S. airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan, Oct. 11, 2015.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source’ style=”>Photo: Omid/Xinhua/Newscom\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>T\u003c/span>\u003cu>he Kunduz attack\u003c/u> was neither the first nor the last attack on a hospital run by an international organization. On February 17, a Swedish-run clinic in Wardak province was raided by the Afghan special forces. The troops barged into the 10-bed clinic as helicopters circled above. Accompanying them were English-speaking mentors who did not participate in the raid but were in the vicinity when the Afghan forces grabbed two patients and a caretaker who appeared to be underage, and dragged them to an abandoned shop. Twenty minutes later, gunshots rang out. Later, all three were found executed. Officials from Resolute Support informed the Swedish Committee that an investigation had been opened.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>This was at least the eighth time a medical facility supported by the Swedish Committee had been raided or searched by international forces in four years. Nearly all of the clinics the group operates are in Taliban-controlled or contested territories, where need is greatest. One particular raid in 2009 in a Swedish Committee-run clinic in Wardak came days after a NATO airstrike had killed as many as 125 near Kunduz. In 2009, as in 2016, the airstrike inspired outcry from international observers, but that raid, also a possible violation of international law, did not garner much attention.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, between 2014 and 2015 there was a 50 percent increase in the number of threats or attacks on medical facilities in Afghanistan that were reported to the organization. Unlike the headline-grabbing Kunduz strike, many of these small slights and violations go unnoticed, even as they chip away at something much more integral. “There are clearly strong feelings within government [that] the Taliban are legitimate targets wherever they are,” the U.N.’s Mark Bowden told me.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>After the Kunduz strike, Emergency, an international NGO, built a 40-foot bunker beneath its trauma center in Helmand.\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-bleed width-auto’ style=’width:auto’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/AQ1_9676.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-large wp-image-62570\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/AQ1_9676.jpg\” alt=\”A patient—later identified as 43-year-old husband father of four, Baynazar Mohammad Nazar—lies dead on an operating table inside the MSF Kunduz Trauma Center one week after a U.S. AC-130 gunship made several deadly passes over the site in the early hours of October 3, 2015. Commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan at the time. General John F. Campbell, called the incident “…a tragic, but avoidable accident caused primarily by human error.” 10.10.2015.\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption overlayed\”>A patient — later identified as 43-year-old Baynazar Mohammad Nazar, a husband and father of four — lies dead on an operating table inside the MSF Kunduz Trauma Center, Oct. 10, 2015.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source’ style=”>Photo: Andrew Quilty/Oculi\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp> \u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>O\u003c/span>\u003cu>n March 2\u003c/u>, Gen. Campbell left his position without a promotion, raising suspicion that his involvement, or at least his culpability, in the Kunduz strike may be much larger than has been publicly revealed. He will retire on May 1. Campbell had been rumored to be next in line to head U.S. Central Command, the “heir apparent.” But the MSF incident appeared to have “played a role in Campbell being put out to pasture,” a former Western official said.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Asked about being passed over for the Central Command position, Gen. Campbell replied, “It’s not that people sit and think, ah shoot, I want to be the next CENTCOM commander. I didn’t do that. We do whatever job we are assigned.” His retirement, however, resulted from being offered a job he didn’t care to take. “I mean, there are all sorts of rumors. I don’t know what goes on there, but the secretary called me up and asked me to take up another command position. I was very honored and thanked him for his trust and confidence, and to the president as well, but for me at this point in time, it is not something I want to do so I respectfully declined. That’s all.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Campbell reiterated his November statements about the Pentagon’s investigation, which may be released in redacted form tomorrow. About the initial claims of collateral damage, he responded, “I would not authorize anybody to say collateral damage. That’s stupid. All it does is upset people.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“I don’t think the story changed,” he said. “I think we learned from the investigation more and more. We just couldn’t talk about it until the investigation was finished. Once the investigation was finished, then you have to let all the disciplinary action play out.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>On March 16, U.S. defense officials indicated that more than a dozen ground-level U.S. military personnel had been disciplined for misconduct leading to the strike.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Deliberately targeting a hospital is a war crime, after all, but so is the indiscriminate killing of civilians outside a hospital. And it’s worth noting, according to a Western security analyst who is an expert on Kunduz, that “even if they had struck the NDS headquarters, there still would have been civilian casualties.” The NDS office, which the U.S. military has said was the intended target, stands in a residential neighborhood, as do the private home and the tea factory that were also bombed on the night of the MSF hospital strike. An AC-130, the analyst pointed out, is a disproportionate and indiscriminate weapon, not appropriate for use in civilian areas in the dead of night.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>A former Afghan special forces commander who was at the command and control center in Kunduz during the fight assured me I would never get to the bottom of the attack. The reason why I couldn’t figure out exactly what had happened, he said, was the fog of war. “Ground truth is impossible to know. Even those who were there wouldn’t be able to tell you what they saw.” Not the MSF internal investigation, not the joint Afghan-NATO inquiry, not the Saleh commission, and certainly not the 5,000-page military investigation by U.S. Central Command would tell us what happened that night, he assured me. “Have you ever been in a fire fight? It passes like a dream.” The final sentence of the Saleh report echoed his sentiment. “Facts are never solid and we cannot feel them and they will remain this way.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>What is solid, however, are the 211 shells that were fired at a hospital in northern Afghanistan one night last October, and that those shells were felt by the 42 men, women, and children who were killed, and that they will remain that way, victims of incompetence or prejudice or both. Ground truth may be elusive, but it exists; someone along the military chain of command gave an order, which directly resulted in the loss of innocent lives.\u003c/p>\n”,”link”:”https://theintercept.com/2016/04/28/searching-for-ground-truth-in-the-kunduz-hospital-bombing/”,”thumbnail”:{“ID”:62616,”title”:”Doctors Without Borders hospital bombed in Kunduz”,”excerpt”:”KUNDUZ, AFGHANISTAN -OCTOBER 03: Fire at Doctors Without Borders (MSF) after a US airstrike on MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on October 03, 2015. An Afghan health official has said a U.S. air strike early Saturday morning in the northern city of Kunduz has killed 9 people and wounded 37 people, including 19 MSF staff. (Photo by MSF/Pool/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)”,”content”:””,”credit”:”Photo: MSF/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images”,”sizes”:{“feature_hero”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/burning-kunduz-msf-hospital1-feature-hero.jpg”,”width”:1200,”height”:800},”promo”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/burning-kunduz-msf-hospital1-promo.jpg”,”width”:440,”height”:220},”promo_large”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/burning-kunduz-msf-hospital1-promo-large.jpg”,”width”:900,”height”:450},”top_large”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/burning-kunduz-msf-hospital1-top-large.jpg”,”width”:440,”height”:440},”top_small”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/burning-kunduz-msf-hospital1-top-small.jpg”,”width”:200,”height”:200},”square”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/burning-kunduz-msf-hospital1-440×440.jpg”,”width”:440,”height”:440},”article_header”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/burning-kunduz-msf-hospital1-article-header.jpg”,”width”:1440,”height”:720},”original”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/burning-kunduz-msf-hospital1.jpg”,”width”:”1440″,”height”:”842″}}},”date”:”2016-04-28T18:31:43+00:00″,”authors”:[{“ID”:62644,”display_name”:”May Jeong”,”url”:”https://theintercept.com/staff/may-jeong/”,”brief_bio”:””,”full_bio”:”May Jeong is a freelance writer based in Kabul. Her PGP fingerprint is: 1304 E93B 1455 3325 C10F 2DA9 41CF 4837 EB8F C838. You can follow her on Twitter @mayjeong.”,”email”:”may.s.jeong@gmail.com“,”image_350″:”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/may-jeong-440×440.jpg”,”twitter”:”@mayjeong”,”facebook”:””,”pgp_key”:””,”pgp_file”:””,”pgp_fingerprint”:””,”user_title”:””,”user_group”:””,”nicename”:”may-jeong”}],”excerpt_type”:”image-featured”,”is_feature”:”1″,”feature_title”:”Death from the Sky”,”categories”:[{“slug”:”uncategorized”,”name”:”Uncategorized”},{“slug”:”uproxx”,”name”:”Uproxx”}],”comments_number”:”60″,”bitly_url”:”http://bit.ly/1WV85US”,”comments_open”:true,”is_banner_hidden”:false,”featured_video_url”:””,”meta”:{“links”:[]},”layout”:”default”,”banner_videokey”:””,”post_type”:”post”,”share_twitter_text”:”Searching for ground truth in the Kunduz hospital bombing”,”credit_research”:[“47″,”92″,”53″],”credit_research_users_object”:[{“ID”:47,”display_name”:”Alleen Brown”,”url”:”https://theintercept.com/staff/alleenbrown/”,”brief_bio”:”Alleen Brown is a journalist and researcher.”,”full_bio”:”\u003cp>Alleen Brown is a journalist and researcher. Her work has been published by \u003cem>The Nation\u003c/em>, \u003cem>In These Times\u003c/em>, \u003cem>YES! Magazine\u003c/em>, and the Twin Cities Daily Planet in Minneapolis. Prior to joining The Intercept, Alleen worked as a researcher on Naomi Klein’s book \u003cem>This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate\u003c/em>.\u003c/p>\n”,”email”:”alleen.brown@theintercept.com“,”image_350″:”https://firstlook.org/wp-uploads/sites/1/2014/12/Alleen-Brown_avatar_1417551246-350×350.jpg”,”twitter”:”@AlleenBrown”,”facebook”:””,”pgp_key”:”Alleen Brown Public Key”,”pgp_file”:”https://firstlook.org/wp-uploads/sites/1/2014/12/AlleenBrownPGP.asc”,”pgp_fingerprint”:”8FBF C86B EFF6 CE21 48EE 0DC5 5937 9E23 EA01 2B37″,”user_title”:”Research Editor”,”user_group”:””,”nicename”:”alleenbrown”},{“ID”:92,”display_name”:”John Thomason”,”url”:”https://theintercept.com/staff/johnthomason/”,”brief_bio”:”John Thomason researches, writes, and checks facts in New York City.”,”full_bio”:”\u003cp>John Thomason researches, writes, and checks facts in New York City. Prior to joining First Look, he contributed research and fact-checking to award-winning investigations for Al Jazeera America, Slate, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and other publications. His writing has appeared in The Nation.\u003c/p>\n”,”email”:”john.thomason@theintercept.com“,”image_350″:”https://firstlook.org/wp-uploads/sites/1/2015/10/John-Thomason_avatar_1444433471-350×350.jpg”,”twitter”:”@John_Thom_”,”facebook”:””,”pgp_key”:”John Thomason Public Key”,”pgp_file”:”https://firstlook.org/wp-uploads/sites/1/2015/10/Thomason-Public-Key.asc”,”pgp_fingerprint”:”A5F6 3254 DAD7 88A8 CC01 A69F 7A00 FC1B A6EB 57F2″,”user_title”:”Fact-Checker”,”user_group”:””,”nicename”:”johnthomason”},{“ID”:53,”display_name”:”Sheelagh McNeill”,”url”:”https://theintercept.com/staff/sheelagh-mcneill/”,”brief_bio”:”Sheelagh McNeill is a journalist and research editor based in New York City.”,”full_bio”:”\u003cp>Sheelagh McNeill is Research Editor at \u003cem>The Intercept\u003c/em>. She has nearly 20 years research experience in a variety of roles held at ABC News, ProPublica and most recently \u003cem>The New York Times\u003c/em>. She covers all beats from breaking news to investigative international stories. At \u003cem>The New York Times\u003c/em> her research supported front page investigations into European countries funding Al Qaeda by paying ransom for the release of hostages, and a deep look at former Islamic State prisoners. While at \u003cem>The New York Times\u003c/em> she was lead researcher on award-winning stories as diverse as the privatization of prisons in New Jersey and the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. Sheelagh has also worked as an Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, and has worked as a researcher on several books including Barbara Walter’s book, “Audition.”\u003c/p>\n”,”email”:”sheelagh.mcneill@theintercept.com“,”image_350″:”https://firstlook.org/wp-uploads/sites/1/2015/01/sheelagh-350×350.jpg”,”twitter”:”@sheelaghnyc”,”facebook”:””,”pgp_key”:”Sheelagh McNeill Public Key”,”pgp_file”:”https://firstlook.org/wp-uploads/sites/1/2015/01/sheelagh-mcneill.asc”,”pgp_fingerprint”:””,”user_title”:”Research Editor”,”user_group”:””,”nicename”:”sheelagh-mcneill”}],”credit_additional_reporting”:””,”credit_additional_reporting_users_object”:””,”credit_photo_illustration”:””,”yoast_wpseo_canonical”:”https://theintercept.com/2016/04/28/searching-for-ground-truth-in-the-kunduz-hospital-bombing/”,”yoast_wpseo_general_title”:”Searching for Truth in the Kunduz Bombing – The Intercept”,”yoast_wpseo_general_description”:”While patients and more than 100 MSF employees and caretakers slept in the Kunduz Trauma Center, an American AC-130 gunship prepared to strike.”,”yoast_wpseo_facebook_title”:””,”yoast_wpseo_facebook_description”:””,”yoast_wpseo_facebook_thumbnail”:”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/kunduz-hospital-andrew-quilty.jpg”,”yoast_wpseo_twitter_title”:””,”yoast_wpseo_twitter_description”:””,”yoast_wpseo_twitter_thumbnail”:”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/kunduz-hospital-andrew-quilty.jpg”},”62826″:{“ID”:62826,”title”:”The Inside Story of How Bill Clinton Sacrificed Prisoners’ Rights for Political Gain”,”slug”:”the-untold-story-of-bill-clintons-other-crime-bill”,”excerpt”:”White House memos reveal the political cynicism behind President Bill Clinton’s Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act.”,”content”:”\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>O\u003c/span>\u003cu>n the eve of\u003c/u> the New York state primary last month, as Hillary Clinton came closer to the Democratic nomination, Vice President Joe Biden went on TV and \u003ca href=\”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsK3aaYq9zA\” target=\”_blank\”>defended\u003c/a> her husband’s 1994 crime bill. Asked in an interview if he felt shame for his role passing a law that has been the subject of so much recent criticism, Biden answered, “Not at all,” and boasted of its successes — among them putting “100,000 cops on the street.” His remarks sparked a new round of debate over the legacy of the crime bill, which has haunted Clinton ever since she hit the campaign trail with a vow to “end the era of mass incarceration.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>A few days later, on April 24, a lesser-known crime law quietly turned 20. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 — or AEDPA — was signed by Bill Clinton in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing. While it has been mostly absent from the recent debates over the crime policies of the ’90s, its impact has been no less profound, particularly when it comes to a bedrock constitutional principle: habeas corpus, or the right of people in prison to challenge their detention. For 20 years, AEDPA has shut the courthouse door on prisoners trying to prove they were wrongfully convicted. Americans are mostly unaware of this legacy, even as we know more than ever about wrongful convictions. Barry Scheck, co-founder and head of the Innocence Project, calls AEDPA “a disaster” and “a major roadblock since its passage.” Many would like to see it repealed.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>If the Clintons have not been forced to defend AEDPA, it’s partly because neither the law nor its shared history with the crime bill is well understood. AEDPA’s dizzying provisions — from harsh \u003ca href=\”http://www.vox.com/2016/4/28/11515132/iirira-clinton-immigration\” target=\”_blank\”>immigration policies\u003c/a> to toughened federal sentencing — were certainly a hasty response to terrorism. But the law was also the product of an administration that long before the Oklahoma attack had abandoned its party’s core principles on criminal justice, deciding instead to wield crime policy as political weapon. After the Republicans seized control of Congress in the historic 1994 midterm elections, the Clinton White House sought to double down on its law-and-order image in advance of the 1996 presidential race. In the short term, it was a winning political strategy for Clinton. In the long term, it would help pave the way to one of the worst laws of his presidency.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>T\u003c/span>\u003cu>he story that\u003c/u> sets the stage for AEDPA can be partly told through White House memos from the time, a trove of which were released in 2014. Buried among hundreds of thousands of digital records housed in the \u003ca href=\”http://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/\” target=\”_blank\”>Clinton Digital Library\u003c/a> are previously confidential documents that shine light on Clinton’s criminal justice strategies in the mid-90s, yet have been largely overlooked.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>One \u003ca href=\”https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2820704-RonKlain-November1994.html\”>memo\u003c/a> reveals a White House weighing its options in the weeks after the “Republican Revolution.” Dated November 22, 1994, it was written by top Department of Justice lawyer Ron Klain, who sent it to his boss as well as members of President Clinton’s inner circle, including Bruce Reed (the operative behind the famed pledge to “end welfare as we know it”) and senior White House adviser Rahm Emanuel. The memo was titled “Crime Bill ‘Redux.’”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-right width-fixed’ style=’width:205px’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/ron-klain.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”alignright wp-image-62863 size-article-medium\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/ron-klain-540×789.jpg\” alt=\”DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES – OCTOBER 1994: Ronald A. Klain, chief of staff to Attorney General Janet Reno (no further caps). (Photo by Department Of Justice/Department Of Justice/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)\” width=\”540\” height=\”789\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>Ronald A. Klain, chief of staff to Attorney General Janet Reno, October 1994.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty\u003c/p>\u003c/div>Klain was assessing the threat posed by the new Republican majority to the 1994 crime bill. Passed just two months earlier, it had been a crucial Democratic victory — an end to the era when “the Republicans are seen as the party that’s tougher on crime,” as declared by Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell. The GOP had relentlessly assailed the legislation as a “fake crime bill” for prevention programs like “midnight basketball.” Now the GOP was getting ready to deploy a bill of its own.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“By now, we are all aware of the Republican proposal to revisit last year’s hard won crime bill,” Klain wrote in his memo. Called the Taking Back Our Streets Act, the GOP bill was designed to dismantle the crime bill’s signature features — in particular, a community policing project known as the COPS program — while going even further than the president had in his sweeping legislation. “The Republicans’ goal here is purely political and tactical,” Klain wrote. “To take away the clearest, best ‘Clinton achievement’ on crime, and to deprive the president of the opportunity to award communities all over the country their share of the 100,000 new police officers.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The GOP also aimed to kill off the crime bill’s prevention programs, but Klain was more concerned about COPS — no doubt in part because the 100,000 police figure had been his idea. A young lawyer described by the \u003cem>\u003ca href=\”https://newrepublic.com/article/90842/the-kids-are-alright\” target=\”_blank\”>New Republic\u003c/a>\u003c/em> as having “chillingly good political skills,” Klain had been working to pass crime legislation since he was in his 20s, as the “youngest ever chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee.” Under Sen. Joe Biden, Klain had drafted unsuccessful precursors to the 1994 crime bill. Now Klain was being credited as the man who successfully steered its passage.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Klain saw “only two possible outcomes” to the Republican maneuvering. “The president will have to sign the bill that Congress sends him, or veto it.” While the former would “outrage our core constituency,” he wrote, the latter posed a potentially bigger threat: “We cannot needlessly give the GOP the opportunity to say that the president is vetoing a ‘tough on crime’ bill for ‘soft on crime’ reasons.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Fear of looking “soft on crime” on the heels of the most extreme law-and-order legislation in U.S. history might have seemed irrational. The 1994 crime bill broadened “three strikes,” poured money into prison building, and vastly expanded the death penalty. But the new power struggle with Congress meant the White House wasn’t taking any chances.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Klain had a solution. Clinton should “welcome Republican efforts to build on last year’s crime bill,” he wrote, by folding them into new Democratic legislation that protected the administration’s top priorities. If it passed, it would be an additional “win” for the White House. Klain attached to his memo “a very, very rough outline of a possible new crime bill,” along with a chart comparing it both to the 1994 crime bill and the new GOP bill. Klain proposed including a $1 billion cut in prevention programs (reallocating $700 million to new juvenile prisons), more cops in schools, and “tougher truth in sentencing.” In some areas, his outline was harsher than the GOP legislation — “broaden[ing] the range of offenses for which juveniles may be tried as adults” and “enhanc[ing] penalties for lesser drug crimes.” In other areas, like the “deportation of criminal aliens,” it simply adopted the Republican line.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Finally, the proposal reintroduced an idea favored both by Clinton and his foes in Congress: “habeas corpus reform,” previously cut from the crime bill and now part of the Taking Back Our Streets Act. Sometimes called the “Great Writ” for its treasured place in constitutional law, habeas corpus referred to the long-standing right of prisoners to challenge their incarceration in court. For the federal courts, this meant reviewing state convictions for constitutional violations, a process that took years. In the zero-tolerance climate of the ’80s and ’90s, the concept of habeas corpus had met with increasing impatience; critics accused people on death row of gaming the system, filing “appeal after appeal” just to stay alive. “In brief,” Klain wrote, “these reforms would limit death row inmates to a single habeas petition — to be filed within strict time limits — while providing such inmates with competent counsel to assist in preparing this single filing.” While the Republican version of habeas reform made no guarantee on the right to counsel, both sides could agree on the need to speed up the death penalty.\u003c/p>\n\u003cblockquote class=’stylized pull-right’>After the Oklahoma City bombing, Clinton appeared on “60 Minutes” calling for the perpetrator to be executed.\u003c/blockquote>\n\u003cp>Klain’s imagined crime bill sequel never came to pass — he left the DOJ early the next year. But his top priority lived on. In February 1995, as Clinton threatened to veto the looming GOP bill over the COPS program, White House staff received talking points titled “DEBUNKING THE MYTHS: THE 100,000 COPS PROGRAM WORKS!!!” In the meantime, others considered the habeas provisions in the Taking Back Our Streets Act. The administration seemed poised to fight for competent counsel; one memo from February 1995 is particularly notable. Apart from providing for lawyers at the post-conviction stage, it stressed that habeas reform “must provide for competent trial counsel,” since “excessive delays in capital cases result not only from manipulation of habeas corpus procedures, but also from a high rate of constitutional error in capital trials.” This point tended to be aggressively ignored in the calls to speed up the death penalty, which usually blamed prisoners for abusing their rights.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>As the GOP bill continued to advance that spring, the White House was planning PR events to blunt its political impact. “Our strategy on crime has always been to associate ourselves with police officers,” Rahm Emanuel and Bruce Reed wrote to Clinton in March, urging him to “bolster this image.” But then, suddenly, everything changed.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>On the morning of April 19, 1995, a massive explosion rocked the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds more. On the ground days later, Clinton gave a powerful eulogy — PR events were no longer needed. It was now up to the president to keep Americans safe, not just from criminals, but from terrorists. Dropping its work on the GOP crime bill, Congress vowed to pass a new counterterrorism bill by Memorial Day.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>But at least one key criminal justice priority survived. On the Sunday after the Oklahoma City bombing, Clinton \u003ca href=\”https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/WCPD-1995-05-01/html/WCPD-1995-05-01-Pg689.htm\”>appeared\u003c/a> on \u003cem>60 Minutes\u003c/em>, calling for the perpetrator to be executed. The 1994 crime bill had expanded the death penalty “for purposes such as this,” he said. “If this is not a crime for which capital punishment is called, I don’t know what is.” Asked by co-host Ed Bradley how he could deliver on his \u003ca href=\”http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=51239\”>promise\u003c/a> that “justice will be certain, swift and severe,” Clinton called for speeding up death penalty appeals. “Congress has the opportunity this year to reform the habeas corpus proceedings,” he said. “And I hope that they will do so.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>If it was unclear how proposals to shorten appeals for state prisoners related to federal terror cases, prosecutors nonetheless applauded Clinton’s remarks. In a letter to the White House, a bipartisan group of state attorneys general warned that failure to overhaul habeas corpus would endlessly delay justice for “such acts of senseless violence” and undermine “the expression of our level of opprobrium as a nation for acts of terrorism.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Almost a year later, on April 24, 1996, a signing ceremony took place on the South Lawn of the White House. “In a presidential election year,” the \u003ca href=\”http://articles.latimes.com/1996-04-25/news/mn-62699_1_clinton-signs\” target=\”_blank\”>AP\u003c/a> reported, “it was an opportunity for a warm display of bipartisanship on a sunny, spring day.” The \u003cem>New York Times\u003c/em> \u003ca href=\”http://www.nytimes.com/1996/04/25/us/clinton-signs-measure-on-terrorism-and-death-penalty-appeals.html\”>described\u003c/a> “the Marine band playing and American flags whipping in the breeze.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“We send a loud, clear message today all over the world, in your names,” the president told families in attendance whose loved ones had died in Oklahoma City. “America will never surrender to terror.” Then he signed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act.\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-bleed width-auto’ style=’width:auto’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/death-row-georgia.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter wp-image-62852 size-large\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/death-row-georgia-e1462371703343.jpg\” alt=\”A calendar hangs inside a prisoner’s cell on death row at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, in Jackson, Ga. On the day of the execution, the condemned inmate can receive visitors until about 3 p.m., when he’s given a medical checkup and then brought to a holding cell near the execution chamber around 5 p.m. He’s given his final meal and has an opportunity to record a final statement. (AP Photo/David Goldman)\” width=\”1024\” height=\”561\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption overlayed\”>A calendar hangs inside a prisoner’s cell on death row at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison, Dec. 1, 2015, in Jackson, Ga.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source’ style=”>Photo: David Goldman/AP\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>T\u003c/span>\u003cu>wenty years later\u003c/u>, AEDPA has long been eclipsed as a counterterrorism measure by the USA Patriot Act, which was built on its foundations. As crime legislation, it remains relatively unknown, even amid renewed debate over Clinton’s other policies. But for people in prison, its legacy has been sweeping and harsh. For all the rhetoric that accompanied the signing of AEDPA, it has been most severely felt by state prisoners with no connection to terrorism — and especially those who insist they are innocent.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>AEDPA is most notorious for its impact on death penalty cases. “I suspect that there may well have been innocent people who were executed because of the absence of habeas corpus,” said former D.C. Circuit Judge Abner Mikva, a Clinton appointee who later served as White House counsel in 1994 and 1995. For Mikva, who turned 90 this year, his failure to stop so-called habeas reform is one of the major regrets of his career. He still recalls his time as a young law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sherman Minton in the 1950s; when habeas petitions would reach his desk, Mikva said, “I saw how complicated it was for him to review these handwritten records — which is what they had at the time — and how uncertain some of the convictions were.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-left width-fixed’ style=’width:194px’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/abner-mikva.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”alignleft wp-image-62867 size-article-medium\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/abner-mikva-540×835.jpg\” alt=\”WH counsel Abner Mikva attending ceremony at Supreme Court. (Photo by Terry Ashe/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)\” width=\”540\” height=\”835\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>Abner Mikva, a former D.C. circuit judge who served as White House counsel, attending a ceremony at the Supreme Court, May 8, 1995.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: The LIFE Images Collection/Getty\u003c/p>\u003c/div>But AEDPA’s reach spans much further than death row. For anyone wrongfully convicted — whether they are actually innocent or the victim of an unfair trial — the law presents a daunting barrier: a one-year countdown clock for federal review that begins the moment state-level appeals have run out. For New York exoneree Jeff Deskovic, who was in prison when AEDPA passed, the new law “filled me with terror.” Deskovic had given a false confession as a teenager to the rape and murder of a classmate following hours of punishing police interrogation in 1989. \u003cspan class=\”\”>He was sentenced to life. \u003c/span>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”\”>“I was writing a bunch of letters trying to get help,” he recalled, when under AEDPA, “the situation became more dire.”\u003c/span>\u003cspan class=\”\”> \u003c/span>\u003cspan style=\”color: #444444;font-family: SwiftNeueLTW01, Georgia, serif\”>\u003cspan class=\”\”>Amid the confusion over how the law applied to old cases — for prisoners like Deskovic, who had exhausted his state appeals, the one-year countdown began upon enactment of AEDPA — his lawyer missed the April 24, 1997, deadline by four days. The district attorney argued that his petition should be dismissed on these grounds. The courts agreed (including the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, whose decision \u003ca href=\”http://www.nytimes.com/glogin?URI=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2009%2F06%2F10%2Fnyregion%2F10dna.html%3F_r%3D0\” target=\”_blank\”>was co-written\u003c/a> by Sonia Sotomayor). Deskovic spent six more years in prison before the Innocence Project convinced the new district attorney to test DNA in his case. It matched someone else and his conviction was vacated.\u003c/span>\u003c/span>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Deskovic was lucky to have an attorney at all. “I don’t think people realize that [non-death row] inmates are not provided with attorneys in federal court,” Deskovic said. Although AEDPA contained no promise of competent counsel in the end, people on death row are entitled to post-conviction representation. Others are often left to file \u003cem>pro se \u003c/em>petitions, essentially representing themselves.\u003cem> \u003c/em>“So now you have poor people who are often poorly educated — certainly not lawyers, certainly not having formal legal education — wading through this procedural thicket, and they can very easily get tripped up. And federal courts think nothing of saying, ‘Oh, you didn’t follow this rule? This procedure? We’re not looking at your case anymore.’”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Even more profound than the strict limits and deadlines it imposed in individual cases is the way AEDPA altered the balance of power between state and federal courts, favoring finality over fairness. Under AEDPA, federal courts may only grant habeas relief if a state court ran afoul of “clearly established federal law,” or if its ruling was rooted in “an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented.” In the oblique language of the law, this drastically raised the bar for overturning state convictions. Federal judges have been “pretty much shut out … from granting habeas relief in most cases, even when they believe that an egregious miscarriage of justice has occurred,” 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski \u003ca href=\”http://georgetownlawjournal.org/files/2015/06/Kozinski_Preface.pdf\”>wrote\u003c/a> in the \u003cem>Georgetown Law Journal\u003c/em> last year. “We now regularly have to stand by in impotent silence, even though it may appear to us that an innocent person has been convicted.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>In the \u003cem>\u003ca href=\”http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/17/magazine/the-law-that-keeps-people-on-death-row-despite-flawed-trials.html?_r=0\”>New York Times Magazine\u003c/a>\u003c/em> last summer, Emily Bazelon cited Kozinski as one of a growing number of critics who have called for the repeal of AEDPA. Federal judges “are now raising alarm that the law is systematically failing to provide the necessary safeguards against miscarriages of justice,” she wrote. There are many examples of the way AEDPA has been “cruel” and responsible for “much human suffering,” according to Kozinski. But Deskovic, who now runs a \u003ca href=\”http://www.deskovic.org\”>foundation\u003c/a> to help the wrongfully convicted, points to the case of a man named Lorenzo Johnson as particularly egregious.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Johnson was convicted in Pennsylvania for his involvement in a 1995 murder. The state never claimed he was the triggerman or even that he had a direct role in the killing, yet at 22 Johnson was sentenced to mandatory life without parole. In October 2011, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals overturned his conviction, finding that, while Johnson might have been present at the scene, the claim that he intended to commit murder was “mere speculation” by the state. After 16 years behind bars, Johnson walked out of prison. With Deskovic’s help, Johnson found a job, reunited with his family, and pursued public speaking.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>But in 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court \u003ca href=\”http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/supreme_court_reinstates_accomplice_conviction_says_3rd_circuit_failed_to_r/\” target=\”_blank\”>reversed\u003c/a> the 3rd Circuit’s ruling, holding that it had “failed to afford due respect to the role of the jury and the state courts of Pennsylvania.” Although the federal court had found insufficient evidence to keep Johnson in prison, the “state court of last review” disagreed — “and that determination in turn is entitled to considerable deference under AEDPA.” After four months of freedom, Johnson got a phone call from his lawyer telling him he had to go back to prison. “It was surreal and horrifying,” said Deskovic, who drove him back to Pennsylvania from New York. Along the way, Johnson made calls to friends and family, struggling to explain. To Deskovic, it was a grotesque ruling by the Supreme Court — a “rush to repudiate a line of reasoning by the lower federal court,” rather than an interest in justice. Johnson “shouldn’t have had to be returned back to prison on a technicality.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Today Johnson writes articles behind bars that are published at the \u003cem>Huffington Post\u003c/em>. In a recent \u003ca href=\”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lorenzo-johnson/bill-clintons-other-terri_b_9743138.html\”>article\u003c/a> titled “Clinton’s Other Terrible Crime Bill,” he described the lasting impact of AEDPA. “Although I’m living through a nightmare, I’m also just one of many others,” he wrote, pointing out the record number of exonerations in recent years. “But these numbers have not even scratched the surface; there are many other wrongfully convicted people still in prison.”\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-center width-fixed’ style=’width:1000px’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/gingrich-clinton-dole.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-article-large wp-image-63068\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/gingrich-clinton-dole-1000×616.jpg\” alt=\”WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 26: US President Bill Clinton (C) sits between US House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich (L) and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R) during a 26 April meeting at the White House in which Clinton pushed for more federal workers to combat terrorism. Earlier today, Clinton attended the funeral of a Secret Service agent who was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images)\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>President Bill Clinton sits between House Speaker Newt Gingrich, left, and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, right, during an April 26, 1995, meeting at the White House.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: Luke Frazza/AFP/Getty Images\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>I\u003c/span>\u003cu>n the recent\u003c/u> debates about crime policy from the ’90s, a common Clinton defense has been one of unintended consequences, in which bad laws were born of the best intentions. But White House memos in the run-up to AEDPA make clear that Clinton had been thoroughly warned about its dangers. What’s more, news articles from the era betray the extent to which criminal justice policies were being crafted with political strategy in mind, rather than as serious solutions to crime. “It’s been the most careful political calculation,” former Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann \u003ca href=\”http://www.nytimes.com/1996/08/01/us/seizing-the-crime-issue-clinton-blurs-party-lines.html?pagewanted=all\”>told\u003c/a> the \u003cem>New York Times\u003c/em> after leaving the DOJ in 1994 — “with absolutely sublime indifference to the real nature of the problem.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Indeed, with crime rates falling in the mid-90s, even the landmark features of the 1994 crime bill largely boiled down to posturing. In the\u003cem> New Republic\u003c/em>, a former operative for Clinton’s 1992 campaign recalled the origins of the $8.8 billion COPS program that Joe Biden defends to this day: “Clinton had a big crime speech coming up. We had no idea how many extra cops would be a good thing. … Bruce Reed and I called [Ron Klain] from Little Rock. He said, ‘Would 100,000 be enough?’” Not surprisingly, in contrast to Biden’s boasting, the COPS program \u003ca href=\”http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2001/11/invisible_cops.html\” target=\”_blank\”>failed to deliver\u003c/a> on its promises.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>By the time AEDPA passed, Clinton had learned how effectively he could undercut the Republicans by co-opting their ideas on crime. Republicans were outraged. “We say habeas corpus, they say sure. … We say prisons; they say sure,” one frustrated GOP source complained to the \u003cem>\u003ca href=\”http://www.nytimes.com/1996/08/01/us/seizing-the-crime-issue-clinton-blurs-party-lines.html?pagewanted=all\” target=\”_blank\”>New York Times\u003c/a>\u003c/em> as the 1996 election against Bob Dole approached. But critics pointed out that the costs of such a winning political strategy were far too high. “I have absolutely no faith that constitutional principles matter to this president when they emerge in a criminal-justice context,” American Civil Liberties Union legislative director Laura W. Murphy told the \u003cem>Times\u003c/em>. AEDPA marked “a total collapse” on the issue.\u003c/p>\n\u003cblockquote class=’stylized pull-right’>In the end, the final question for Clinton when it came to gutting habeas corpus was how to spin it.\u003c/blockquote>\n\u003cp>In an email to \u003cem>The Intercept\u003c/em>, Klain defended the 1994 memo in which he sought to outmaneuver the GOP by proposing a tough new Democratic crime bill. “Clearly we were trying hard to stave off draconian legislation being advanced by the new Republican majority,” he wrote. As for habeas corpus, he drew a clear distinction between what the Democrats advanced and what ended up in AEDPA. “We explored a number of strategies to prevent their plans to gut appeal rights without providing adequate counsel,” he said. “The GOP version passed after I left.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>It is true that many Democrats fought against the version of habeas reform that passed as part of AEDPA. Among them was Joe Biden, who for years had hoped to pass a habeas reform law of his own. But his proposed legislation, most recently aimed at the 1994 crime bill, had been drafted with state prisoners in mind, meaning that “the Biden bill would not affect the case of Timothy McVeigh,” as Bruce Reed wrote to Clinton on May 3, 1995, two weeks after the bombing. “We should go along with some form of limits on appeals by federal prisoners,” Reed advised. In the margins, Clinton appears to have written “agree.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Two days later, White House lawyer Chris Cerf sent a \u003ca href=\”https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2820703-ChrisCerf-May1995.html\”>memo\u003c/a> to his colleagues comparing the dueling versions of habeas reform before Congress. He analyzed their legal implications and their chances of passing. Biden’s bill, which included myriad provisions on the right to counsel, was “dead on arrival.” A measure brought forward by Senate Judiciary Chair Orrin Hatch as part of the terrorism bill introduced by Bob Dole was somewhat “less radical” than other GOP versions, but still “a very significant incursion into traditional habeas law.” Cerf raised particular caution over provisions that required higher standards of deference to state courts and made it harder for federal courts to grant evidentiary hearings. “For all practical purposes,” he wrote, these two combined “would eliminate federal habeas hearings.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The White House should accept the Hatch bill on a set of strict conditions, Cerf wrote. Among them: the deletion of those troubling provisions and the addition of language to ensure “competent counsel at all phases of a capital case.” If Hatch refused, Cerf wrote, the White House should reject his proposal and instead aggressively try to “unbundle habeas from the counterterrorism bill,” saving the fight for another day. But he was not optimistic. “My sense … is that the habeas train is coming down the track and is unstoppable,” Cerf wrote, “especially after the president’s comments on \u003cem>60 Minutes\u003c/em>.” In an underlined sentence, he warned, “We do not want to put the president in the position of having to accept highly objectionable habeas provisions merely because they are tied to the counterterrorism bill.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Indeed, while it would take almost a year to pass AEDPA, Clinton’s immediate call to speed up the death penalty days after the bombing had rigged the game from the start. As Democrats began threatening to throw gun control amendments at Dole’s terror bill to force the removal of habeas reform, Hatch seized on Clinton’s own rhetoric, declaring, “The American people do not want to witness the spectacle of these terrorists abusing our judicial system … by filing appeal after meritless appeal.” For a moment, Clinton stood his ground. In late May 1995, a month after the attack, he sent a letter to Dole arguing against passing habeas reform as part of the terrorism bill and stressing the need to protect “the historic right to meaningful federal review.” But less than two weeks later, on \u003cem>Larry King Live\u003c/em>, Clinton suddenly reversed course. Habeas reform “ought to be done in the context of this terrorism legislation,” he said, “so that it would apply to any prosecutions brought against anyone indicted in Oklahoma.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Inside the White House, Abner Mikva believed he knew what had happened. In early June 1995, just days after Clinton wrote to Dole, a delegation from Oklahoma City arrived in Washington. It included survivors of the bombing as well as grieving family members. They called themselves “the habeas group.” Convinced it would result in swifter justice for the terrorist attack, they were lobbying for streamlining death row appeals. Mikva and his staff had been trying at the time to convince the president to support a more cautious version of habeas reform put forward by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. But after the visit, Mikva recalls, all bets were off. “He wrote on my memo, ‘No. Oklahoma.’ And that was the end of our efforts.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>Y\u003c/span>\u003cu>et, for all\u003c/u> the political gamesmanship that paved the way to AEDPA, Mikva places the ultimate blame for the erosion of habeas corpus on the judiciary — particularly conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist. Rehnquist had long \u003ca href=\”http://www.nytimes.com/1981/04/28/us/rehnquist-assails-court-for-delays-and-litigation-of-death-sentences.html\”>railed against\u003c/a> the drawn-out appeals that delayed executions for making “a mockery of our criminal justice system.” Upon assuming the Supreme Court bench, in 1988, Rehnquist formed the Ad Hoc Committee on Federal Habeas Corpus in Capital Cases, naming retired Justice Lewis Powell Jr. as its head. Powell “came up with some very draconian changes to habeas,” Mikva recalled, “which were basically the substance of what ultimately passed.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Federal judges at the time were alarmed by the recommendations. In 1989, at a Senate Judiciary \u003ca href=\”http://www.c-span.org/video/?11047-1/federal-habeas-corpus-reform-part-3&start=6\” target=\”_blank\”>hearing\u003c/a> convened by Joe Biden, Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the 9th Circuit decried Powell’s report. “Finality and speed are the presumed objectives,” Reinhardt testified. “They seem to outweigh the concerns for fairness, justice, due process, and compliance with the constitution.” Citing his experiences with prosecutors who withheld evidence in capital cases — violations that can take years to discover — Reinhardt posed the question: “What can I do if someone comes in with affidavits and proof asking for relief from me when a man is about to be executed and the statute says I have no jurisdiction or authority to grant a stay or any habeas relief?”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Yet habeas reform efforts continued along parallel tracks in the legislative and judicial branches. By the time AEDPA passed, a series of Supreme Court rulings had already made it more difficult to challenge state convictions. (Indeed, in one 1995 White House memo to Clinton, Bruce Reed noted that Republicans had ultimately dropped habeas reform from the 1994 crime bill over fears that “a Democratic crime bill would undermine recent Supreme Court decisions that have strengthened prosecutors’ hands.”) To some legal scholars at the time, this made AEDPA mostly symbolic — an attempt by lawmakers to take credit for what the judiciary had already done.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>In Congress, however, others saw the dangers posed by AEDPA. On April 17, 1996, during the final round of fighting in the Senate, New York Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned that the provisions curtailing habeas corpus would “introduce a virus that will surely spread throughout our system of laws.” One of just eight senators to \u003ca href=\”http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=104&session=2&vote=00071#position\” target=\”_blank\”>vote\u003c/a> against the law — Biden was not among them — Moynihan read from a letter to Clinton sent by four attorneys general. They urged him to “communicate to the Congress your resolve, and your duty under the Constitution, to prevent the enactment of such unconstitutional legislation and the consequent disruption of so critical a part of our criminal punishment system.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>But in the end, the final question for Clinton when it came to gutting habeas corpus was how to spin it. On April 23, 1996, the day before the ceremony on the South Lawn, Bruce Reed sent a \u003ca href=\”https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2820702-BruceReed-April1996.html\”>memo\u003c/a> to the White House staff secretary titled “Habeas language in signing stmt.” The remarks drafted for the president went into “far more detail” than they should, he wrote. “I realize this is a controversial issue,” Reed said, “but it is also one that could get us in trouble if we say more than necessary.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cblockquote class=’stylized pull-left’>AEDPA has fulfilled the very concerns Clinton brushed aside upon signing the bill.\u003c/blockquote>\n\u003cp>With the presidential election in view, Republicans were already “blasting us with the charge” that Clinton’s re-election would “be a bonanza for criminals’ rights,” Reed wrote, somewhat ironically. He suggested a number of edits to minimize avenues for attack. Among them: “We should drop the sentence, ‘I am advised that one provision of this important bill could be interpreted in a manner that would undercut meaningful federal habeas corpus review and raise profoundly troubling constitutional issues.’ This sentence could be used against us,” he warned, “and doesn’t add anything, since we later say we don’t think it will be interpreted this way.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Yet Clinton’s final remarks struck a defensive tone. His signing statement contained four paragraphs on the habeas provisions in AEDPA, assuring that they would neither “limit the authority of the federal courts” or “deny litigants a meaningful opportunity” to win evidentiary hearings. “Our constitutional ideal of a limited government that must respect individual freedom has been a practical reality because independent federal courts have the power ‘to say what the law is’ and to apply the law to the cases before them,” Clinton said. “I have signed this bill on the understanding that the courts can and will interpret these provisions … in accordance with this ideal.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>But Clinton was wrong. AEDPA has instead fulfilled the very concerns he brushed aside upon signing the bill. It is a law “misconceived at its inception and born of misguided political ambition,” as Judge Stephen Reinhardt recently wrote, some 25 years after testifying before Congress, “and repeatedly interpreted … in the most inflexible and unyielding manner possible.”\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Ironically, AEDPA had little bearing in the end on the case of Timothy McVeigh, whose relatively swift execution in 2001 had more to do with political will than stringent new review standards. Nor did AEDPA solve the problem its supporters claimed it would address in the first place — federal court dockets remain backlogged and prisoners spend longer awaiting execution than ever.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>But in a sense, the cruelest irony is how AEDPA has affected those who are not on death row yet nonetheless face the prospect of dying in prison on dubious grounds. Ignored by those who championed the law — and still largely invisible from the debate — they have been no less affected by its legacy. As Lorenzo Johnson wrote from a prison cell last month, “AEDPA has been devastating for wrongfully convicted prisoners and their families. Reform is long overdue.”\u003c/p>\n”,”link”:”https://theintercept.com/2016/05/04/the-untold-story-of-bill-clintons-other-crime-bill/”,”thumbnail”:{“ID”:62851,”title”:”CLINTON”,”excerpt”:”President Clinton signs the Anti-Terrorism Bill during a ceremony Wednesday, April 24, 1996 on the White House South Lawn. The legislation gives federal authorities $1 billion worth of additional tools to fight terrorism at home and abroad. Behind Clinton are victims of terrorist attacks and various government officials. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)”,”content”:””,”credit”:”Photo: Doug Mills/AP”,”sizes”:{“feature_hero”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/clinton-signing-bill-feature-hero.jpg”,”width”:1200,”height”:800},”promo”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/clinton-signing-bill-promo.jpg”,”width”:440,”height”:220},”promo_large”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/clinton-signing-bill-promo-large.jpg”,”width”:900,”height”:450},”top_large”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/clinton-signing-bill-top-large.jpg”,”width”:440,”height”:440},”top_small”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/clinton-signing-bill-top-small.jpg”,”width”:200,”height”:200},”square”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/clinton-signing-bill-440×440.jpg”,”width”:440,”height”:440},”article_header”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/clinton-signing-bill-article-header.jpg”,”width”:1440,”height”:720},”original”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/04/clinton-signing-bill.jpg”,”width”:”1440″,”height”:”720″}}},”date”:”2016-05-04T17:54:14+00:00″,”authors”:[{“ID”:10,”display_name”:”Liliana Segura”,”url”:”https://theintercept.com/staff/liliana-segura/”,”brief_bio”:”Liliana Segura is a journalist and editor with a longtime focus on the failings and excesses of the U.S. criminal justice system.”,”full_bio”:”\u003cp>Liliana Segura is a journalist and editor with a longtime focus on prisons, prisoners, and the failings and excesses of the U.S. criminal justice system—from wrongful convictions to the death penalty. \u003c!– Read More –\>She covered these and other issues most recently as an editor at\u003cem> The Nation\u003c/em>, where she edited a number of award-winning stories. Previously she was a senior editor at \u003cem>AlterNet\u003c/em>, where she was in charge of civil liberties coverage during the early days of Obama’s presidency.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>She has appeared on CNN International, MSNBC, \u003cem>DemocracyNow!\u003c/em> and several other news outlets. Her writing has been reprinted in numerous places, from prison publications to \u003cem>The Best American Legal Writing\u003c/em> to, most recently, the collection \u003cem>Against Equality: Prisons Will Not Protect You\u003c/em>. Liliana is on the board of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty and the Applied Research Center, a U.S. racial justice think tank. She lives in Brooklyn.\u003c/p>\n”,”email”:”liliana.segura@theintercept.com“,”image_350″:”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2014/02/Liliana-Final-1-of-4_350.jpg”,”twitter”:”@lilianasegura”,”facebook”:””,”pgp_key”:”Liliana Segura Public Key”,”pgp_file”:”https://firstlook.org/wp-uploads/sites/1/2014/05/LilianaSeguraPGP.asc”,”pgp_fingerprint”:”77F4 347E 34C2 124A BA68 5FFF 17CC F4C4 2181 38E4″,”user_title”:”Senior Writer/Editor”,”user_group”:””,”nicename”:”liliana-segura”}],”excerpt_type”:”default”,”is_feature”:”1″,”feature_title”:”Gutting Habeas Corpus”,”categories”:[{“slug”:”uproxx”,”name”:”Uproxx”}],”comments_number”:”49″,”bitly_url”:”http://interc.pt/1SYXKEv”,”comments_open”:true,”is_banner_hidden”:false,”featured_video_url”:””,”meta”:{“links”:[]},”layout”:”default”,”banner_videokey”:””,”post_type”:”post”,”share_twitter_text”:”The inside story of how Bill Clinton sacrificed prisoners’ rights for political gain”,”credit_research”:””,”credit_research_users_object”:””,”credit_additional_reporting”:””,”credit_additional_reporting_users_object”:””,”credit_photo_illustration”:””,”yoast_wpseo_canonical”:”https://theintercept.com/2016/05/04/the-untold-story-of-bill-clintons-other-crime-bill/”,”yoast_wpseo_general_title”:”The Untold Story of Bill Clinton’s Other Crime Bill – The Intercept”,”yoast_wpseo_general_description”:”The political origins — and cruel legacy — of President Bill Clinton’s Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act.”,”yoast_wpseo_facebook_title”:””,”yoast_wpseo_facebook_description”:””,”yoast_wpseo_facebook_thumbnail”:””,”yoast_wpseo_twitter_title”:””,”yoast_wpseo_twitter_description”:””,”yoast_wpseo_twitter_thumbnail”:””},”63173″:{“ID”:63173,”title”:”Whistleblowing Is Not Just Leaking — It’s an Act of Political Resistance”,”slug”:”edward-snowden-whistleblowing-is-not-just-leaking-its-an-act-of-political-resistance”,”excerpt”:”We are witnessing a compression of the time frame in which unconstitutional activities can continue before they are exposed by acts of conscience.”,”content”:”\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>“I\u003c/span>\u003cu>’ve been waiting\u003c/u> 40 years for someone like you.” Those were the first words Daniel Ellsberg spoke to me when we met last year. Dan and I felt an immediate kinship; we both knew what it meant to risk so much — and to be irrevocably changed — by revealing secret truths.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>One of the challenges of being a whistleblower is living with the knowledge that people continue to sit, just as you did, at those desks, in that unit, throughout the agency, who see what you saw and comply in silence, without resistance or complaint. They learn to live not just with untruths but with unnecessary untruths, dangerous untruths, corrosive untruths. It is a double tragedy: What begins as a survival strategy ends with the compromise of the human being it sought to preserve and the diminishing of the democracy meant to justify the sacrifice.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>But unlike Dan Ellsberg, I didn’t have to wait 40 years to witness other citizens breaking that silence with documents. Ellsberg gave the Pentagon Papers to the \u003cem>New York Times\u003c/em> and other newspapers in 1971; Chelsea Manning provided the Iraq and Afghan War logs and the Cablegate materials to WikiLeaks in 2010. I came forward in 2013. Now here we are in 2016, and another person of courage and conscience has made available the set of extraordinary documents that are published in \u003cem>\u003ca href=\”http://www.amazon.com/Assassination-Complex-Governments-Warfare-Program/dp/1501144138\”>The Assassination Complex\u003c/a>\u003c/em>, the new book out today by Jeremy Scahill and the staff of \u003cem>The\u003c/em> \u003cem>Intercept. \u003c/em>(The documents were originally published last October 15 in \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/drone-papers/\”>The Drone Papers\u003c/a>.)\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>We are witnessing a compression of the working period in which bad policy shelters in the shadows, the time frame in which unconstitutional activities can continue before they are exposed by acts of conscience. And this temporal compression has a significance beyond the immediate headlines; it permits the people of this country to learn about critical government actions, not as part of the historical record but in a way that allows direct action through voting — in other words, in a way that empowers an informed citizenry to defend the democracy that “state secrets” are nominally intended to support. When I see individuals who are able to bring information forward, it gives me hope that we won’t always be required to curtail the illegal activities of our government as if it were a constant task, to uproot official lawbreaking as routinely as we mow the grass. (Interestingly enough, that is how some have begun to describe remote killing operations, as “cutting the grass.”)\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>A\u003c/span> \u003cu>single act of\u003c/u> whistleblowing doesn’t change the reality that there are significant portions of the government that operate below the waterline, beneath the visibility of the public. Those secret activities will continue, despite reforms. But those who perform these actions now have to live with the fear that if they engage in activities contrary to the spirit of society — if even a single citizen is catalyzed to halt the machinery of that injustice — they might still be held to account. The thread by which good governance hangs is this equality before the law, for the only fear of the man who turns the gears is that he may find himself upon them.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Hope lies beyond, when we move from extraordinary acts of revelation to a collective culture of accountability within the intelligence community. Here we will have taken a meaningful step toward solving a problem that has existed for as long as our government.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-right width-fixed’ style=’width:234px’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/david-petraeus.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”alignright wp-image-63353 size-article-medium\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/david-petraeus-540×691.jpg\” alt=\”NEW YORK– MARCH 17: Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (DCIA) under President Barack Obama, Gen. David Petraeus is interviewed for the documentary, “The Spymasters,” about CIA Directors for CBS/Showtime. With producers Chris Whipple, Gedeon and Jules Naudet, New York, New York, July 22, 2015. (Photo David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)\” width=\”540\” height=\”691\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Gen. David Petraeus.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images\u003c/p>\u003c/div>Not all leaks are alike, nor are their makers. Gen. David Petraeus, for instance, provided his illicit lover and favorable biographer information so secret it defied classification, including the names of covert operatives and the president’s private thoughts on matters of strategic concern. Petraeus was not charged with a felony, as the Justice Department had initially recommended, but was instead permitted to plead guilty to a misdemeanor. Had an enlisted soldier of modest rank pulled out a stack of highly classified notebooks and handed them to his girlfriend to secure so much as a smile, he’d be looking at many decades in prison, not a pile of character references from a Who’s Who of the Deep State.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>There are authorized leaks and also permitted disclosures. It is rare for senior administration officials to explicitly ask a subordinate to leak a CIA officer’s name to retaliate against her husband, as appears to have been the case with Valerie Plame. It is equally rare for a month to go by in which some senior official does not disclose some protected information that is beneficial to the political efforts of the parties but clearly “damaging to national security” under the definitions of our law.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>This dynamic can be seen quite clearly in the al Qaeda “conference call of doom” story, in which intelligence officials, likely seeking to inflate the threat of terrorism and deflect criticism of mass surveillance, revealed to a neoconservative website extraordinarily detailed accounts of specific communications they had intercepted, including locations of the participating parties and the precise contents of the discussions. If the officials’ claims were to be believed, they irrevocably burned an extraordinary means of learning the precise plans and intentions of terrorist leadership for the sake of a short-lived political advantage in a news cycle. Not a single person seems to have been so much as disciplined as a result of the story that cost us the ability to listen to the alleged al Qaeda hotline.\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-center width-fixed’ style=’width:1000px’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/obama-bidenv21.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-article-large wp-image-63358\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/obama-bidenv21-1000×612.jpg\” alt=\”President Barack Obama talks with Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office, April 15, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>President Barack Obama talks with Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office, April 15, 2015.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: The White House\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>I\u003c/span>\u003cu>f harmfulness and\u003c/u> authorization make no difference, what explains the distinction between the permissible and the impermissible disclosure?\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The answer is control. A leak is acceptable if it’s not seen as a threat, as a challenge to the prerogatives of the institution. But if all of the disparate components of the institution — not just its head but its hands and feet, every part of its body — must be assumed to have the same power to discuss matters of concern, that is an existential threat to the modern political monopoly of information control, particularly if we’re talking about disclosures of serious wrongdoing, fraudulent activity, unlawful activities. If you can’t guarantee that you alone can exploit the flow of controlled information, then the aggregation of all the world’s unmentionables — including your own — begins to look more like a liability than an asset.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-left width-fixed’ style=’width:201px’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/daniel-ellsberg.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”alignleft wp-image-63366 size-article-medium\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/daniel-ellsberg-540×807.jpg\” alt=\”American veteran and political activist Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the ‘Pentagon Papers’ detailing U.S. policy in the Vietnam War, October 10, 1976.\” width=\”540\” height=\”807\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption\”>Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers detailing U.S. policy in the Vietnam War, Oct. 10, 1976.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source pullright’ style=”>Photo: Susan Wood/Getty Images\u003c/p>\u003c/div>Truly unauthorized disclosures are necessarily an act of resistance — that is, if they’re not done simply for press consumption, to fluff up the public appearance or reputation of an institution. However, that doesn’t mean they all come from the lowest working level. Sometimes the individuals who step forward happen to be near the pinnacle of power. Ellsberg was in the top tier; he was briefing the secretary of defense. You can’t get much higher, unless you are the secretary of defense, and the incentives simply aren’t there for such a high-ranking official to be involved in public interest disclosures because that person already wields the influence to change the policy directly.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>At the other end of the spectrum is Manning, a junior enlisted soldier, who was much nearer to the bottom of the hierarchy. I was midway in the professional career path. I sat down at the table with the chief information officer of the CIA, and I was briefing him and his chief technology officer when they were publicly making statements like “We try to collect everything and hang on to it forever,” and everybody still thought that was a cute business slogan. Meanwhile I was designing the systems they would use to do precisely that. I wasn’t briefing the policy side, the secretary of defense, but I was briefing the operations side, the National Security Agency’s director of technology. Official wrongdoing can catalyze all levels of insiders to reveal information, even at great risk to themselves, so long as they can be convinced that it is necessary to do so.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Reaching those individuals, helping them realize that their first allegiance as a public servant is to the public rather than to the government, is the challenge. That’s a significant shift in cultural thinking for a government worker today.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>I’ve argued that whistleblowers are elected by circumstance. It’s not a virtue of who you are or your background. It’s a question of what you are exposed to, what you witness. At that point the question becomes \u003cem>Do you honestly believe that you have the capability to remediate the problem, to influence policy?\u003c/em> I would not encourage individuals to reveal information, even about wrongdoing, if they do not believe they can be effective in doing so, because the right moment can be as rare as the will to act.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>T\u003c/span>\u003cu>his is simply\u003c/u> a pragmatic, strategic consideration. Whistleblowers are outliers of probability, and if they are to be effective as a political force, it’s critical that they maximize the amount of public good produced from scarce seed. When I was making my decision, I came to understand how one strategic consideration, such as waiting until the month before a domestic election, could become overwhelmed by another, such as the moral imperative to provide an opportunity to arrest a global trend that had already gone too far. I was focused on what I saw and on my sense of overwhelming disenfranchisement that the government, in which I had believed for my entire life, was engaged in such an extraordinary act of deception.\u003c/p>\n\u003cblockquote class=’stylized pull-right’>Change has to flow from the bottom to the top.\u003c/blockquote>\n\u003cp>At the heart of this evolution is that whistleblowing is a radicalizing event — and by “radical” I don’t mean “extreme”; I mean it in the traditional sense of \u003cem>radix\u003c/em>, the root of the issue. At some point you recognize that you can’t just move a few letters around on a page and hope for the best. You can’t simply report this problem to your supervisor, as I tried to do, because inevitably supervisors get nervous. They think about the structural risk to their career. They’re concerned about rocking the boat and “getting a reputation.” The incentives aren’t there to produce meaningful reform. Fundamentally, in an open society, change has to flow from the bottom to the top.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>As someone who works in the intelligence community, you’ve given up a lot to do this work. You’ve happily committed yourself to tyrannical restrictions. You voluntarily undergo polygraphs; you tell the government everything about your life. You waive a lot of rights because you believe the fundamental goodness of your mission justifies the sacrifice of even the sacred. It’s a just cause.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>And when you’re confronted with evidence — not in an edge case, not in a peculiarity, but as a core consequence of the program — that the government is subverting the Constitution and violating the ideals you so fervently believe in, you have to make a decision. When you see that the program or policy is inconsistent with the oaths and obligations that you’ve sworn to your society and yourself, then that oath and that obligation cannot be reconciled with the program. To which do you owe a greater loyalty?\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-bleed width-auto’ style=’width:auto’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/capital-building.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-large wp-image-63361\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/capital-building.jpg\” alt=\”The U.S. Capitol is reflected in a puddle next to the Capitol Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. The House scrapped a vote tonight on a fiscal plan that contains almost none of Republicans’ initial conditions for ending the 15 day-old government shutdown and raising the debt ceiling said Representative Pete Sessions, chairman of the House Rules Committee. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption overlayed\”>The U.S. Capitol is reflected in a puddle next to the Capitol Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C., Oct. 15, 2013.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source’ style=”>Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>O\u003c/span>\u003cu>ne of the\u003c/u> extraordinary things about the revelations of the past several years, and their accelerating pace, is that they have occurred in the context of the United States as the “uncontested hyperpower.” We now have the largest unchallenged military machine in the history of the world, and it’s backed by a political system that is increasingly willing to authorize any use of force in response to practically any justification. In today’s context that justification is terrorism, but not necessarily because our leaders are particularly concerned about terrorism in itself or because they think it’s an existential threat to society. They recognize that even if we had a 9/11 attack every year, we would still be losing more people to car accidents and heart disease, and we don’t see the same expenditure of resources to respond to those more significant threats.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>What it really comes down to is the political reality that we have a political class that feels it must inoculate itself against allegations of weakness. Our politicians are more fearful of the politics of terrorism — of the charge that they do not take terrorism seriously — than they are of the crime itself.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>As a result we have arrived at this unmatched capability, unrestrained by policy. We have become reliant upon what was intended to be the limitation of last resort: the courts. Judges, realizing that their decisions are suddenly charged with much greater political importance and impact than was originally intended, have gone to great lengths in the post-9/11 period to avoid reviewing the laws or the operations of the executive in the national security context and setting restrictive precedents that, even if entirely proper, would impose limits on government for decades or more. That means the most powerful institution that humanity has ever witnessed has also become the least restrained. Yet that same institution was never designed to operate in such a manner, having instead been explicitly founded on the principle of checks and balances. Our founding impulse was to say, “Though we are mighty, we are voluntarily restrained.”\u003cdiv class=’img-wrap align-bleed width-auto’ style=’width:auto’> \u003ca href=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/14541720151_2949362d9b_o.jpg\”>\u003cimg class=\”aligncenter size-large wp-image-63450\” src=\”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/14541720151_2949362d9b_o-1024×683.jpg\” alt=\”President Barack Obama walks with U.S. Secret Service agents to Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, Calif., May 8, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) </p><br /><br /><br /> <p>This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.\” />\u003c/a>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp class=\”caption overlayed\”>President Barack Obama walks with U.S. Secret Service agents to Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, Calif., May 8, 2014.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cp class=’caption source’ style=”>Photo: The White House\u003c/p>\u003c/div>\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>\u003cspan class=\”dropcap\”>W\u003c/span>\u003cu>hen you first\u003c/u> go on duty at CIA headquarters, you raise your hand and swear an oath — not to government, not to the agency, not to secrecy. You swear an oath to the Constitution. So there’s this friction, this emerging contest between the obligations and values that the government asks you to uphold, and the actual activities that you’re asked to participate in.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>These disclosures about the Obama administration’s killing program reveal that there’s a part of the American character that is deeply concerned with the unrestrained, unchecked exercise of power. And there is no greater or clearer manifestation of unchecked power than assuming for oneself the authority to execute an individual outside of a battlefield context and without the involvement of any sort of judicial process.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Traditionally, in the context of military affairs, we’ve always understood that lethal force in battle could not be subjected to ex ante judicial constraints. When armies are shooting at each other, there’s no room for a judge on that battlefield. But now the government has decided — without the public’s participation, without our knowledge and consent — that the battlefield is everywhere. Individuals who don’t represent an imminent threat in any meaningful sense of those words are redefined, through the subversion of language, to meet that definition.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Inevitably that conceptual subversion finds its way home, along with the technology that enables officials to promote comfortable illusions about surgical killing and nonintrusive surveillance. Take, for instance, the Holy Grail of drone persistence, a capability that the United States has been pursuing forever. The goal is to deploy solar-powered drones that can loiter in the air for weeks without coming down. Once you can do that, and you put any typical signals collection device on the bottom of it to monitor, unblinkingly, the emanations of, for example, the different network addresses of every laptop, smartphone, and iPod, you know not just where a particular device is in what city, but you know what apartment each device lives in, where it goes at any particular time, and by what route. Once you know the devices, you know their owners. When you start doing this over several cities, you’re tracking the movements not just of individuals but of whole populations.\u003c/p>\n\u003cblockquote class=’stylized pull-none’>Unrestrained power may be many things, but it’s not American.\u003c/blockquote>\n\u003cp>By preying on the modern necessity to stay connected, governments can reduce our dignity to something like that of tagged animals, the primary difference being that we paid for the tags and they’re in our pockets. It sounds like fantasist paranoia, but on the technical level it’s so trivial to implement that I cannot imagine a future in which it won’t be attempted. It will be limited to the war zones at first, in accordance with our customs, but surveillance technology has a tendency to follow us home.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Here we see the double edge of our uniquely American brand of nationalism. We are raised to be exceptionalists, to think we are the better nation with the manifest destiny to rule. The danger is that some people will actually believe this claim, and some of those will expect the manifestation of our national identity, that is, our government, to comport itself accordingly.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Unrestrained power may be many things, but it’s not American. It is in this sense that the act of whistleblowing increasingly has become an act of political resistance. The whistleblower raises the alarm and lifts the lamp, inheriting the legacy of a line of Americans that begins with Paul Revere.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The individuals who make these disclosures feel so strongly about what they have seen that they’re willing to risk their lives and their freedom. They know that we, the people, are ultimately the strongest and most reliable check on the power of government. The insiders at the highest levels of government have extraordinary capability, extraordinary resources, tremendous access to influence, and a monopoly on violence, but in the final calculus there is but one figure that matters: the individual citizen.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>And there are more of us than there are of them.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp> \u003c/p>\n\u003cp>From \u003cem>\u003ca href=\”http://www.amazon.com/Assassination-Complex-Governments-Warfare-Program/dp/1501144138/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1462221256&sr=8-1&keywords=assassination+complex\”>The Assassination Complex\u003c/a>: \u003ca href=\”http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781501144134\”>Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program\u003c/a>\u003c/em> by Jeremy Scahill and the staff of \u003cem>The Intercept\u003c/em>, with a foreword by Edward Snowden and afterword by Glenn Greenwald, published by \u003ca href=\”http://books.simonandschuster.com/The-Assassination-Complex/Jeremy-Scahill/9781501144134\”>Simon & Schuster\u003c/a>.\u003c/p>\n”,”link”:”https://theintercept.com/2016/05/03/edward-snowden-whistleblowing-is-not-just-leaking-its-an-act-of-political-resistance/”,”thumbnail”:{“ID”:63447,”title”:”Snowden_DP_02″,”excerpt”:””,”content”:””,”credit”:”Illustration: The Intercept”,”sizes”:{“feature_hero”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/Snowden_DP_02-feature-hero.jpg”,”width”:1200,”height”:800},”promo”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/Snowden_DP_02-promo.jpg”,”width”:440,”height”:220},”promo_large”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/Snowden_DP_02-promo-large.jpg”,”width”:900,”height”:450},”top_large”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/Snowden_DP_02-top-large.jpg”,”width”:440,”height”:440},”top_small”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/Snowden_DP_02-top-small.jpg”,”width”:200,”height”:200},”square”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/Snowden_DP_02-440×440.jpg”,”width”:440,”height”:440},”article_header”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/Snowden_DP_02-article-header.jpg”,”width”:1440,”height”:720},”original”:{“path”:”wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/Snowden_DP_02.jpg”,”width”:”2519″,”height”:”1386″}}},”date”:”2016-05-03T10:00:39+00:00″,”authors”:[{“ID”:4838,”display_name”:”Edward Snowden”,”url”:”https://theintercept.com/staff/edward-snowden/”,”brief_bio”:””,”full_bio”:”Edward Snowden, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer and National Security Agency contractor, is a director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation.”,”email”:””,”image_350″:”https://theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2016/05/edwardsnowden-bio-440×440.jpg”,”twitter”:”@snowden”,”facebook”:””,”pgp_key”:””,”pgp_file”:””,”pgp_fingerprint”:””,”user_title”:””,”user_group”:””,”nicename”:”edward-snowden”}],”excerpt_type”:”default”,”is_feature”:”1″,”feature_title”:”Inside the Assassination Complex”,”categories”:[{“slug”:”uproxx”,”name”:”Uproxx”}],”comments_number”:”432″,”bitly_url”:”http://interc.pt/1W5W9ke”,”comments_open”:true,”is_banner_hidden”:false,”featured_video_url”:””,”meta”:{“links”:[]},”layout”:”default”,”banner_videokey”:””,”post_type”:”post”,”share_twitter_text”:”Whistleblowing is not just leaking — it’s an act of political resistance”,”credit_research”:””,”credit_research_users_object”:””,”credit_additional_reporting”:””,”credit_additional_reporting_users_object”:””,”credit_photo_illustration”:””,”yoast_wpseo_canonical”:”https://theintercept.com/2016/05/03/edward-snowden-whistleblowing-is-not-just-leaking-its-an-act-of-political-resistance/”,”yoast_wpseo_general_title”:”Edward Snowden on Whistleblowing – The Intercept”,”yoast_wpseo_general_description”:”Another person of courage and conscience has made available the set of extraordinary documents that are published in The Assassination Complex.”,”yoast_wpseo_facebook_title”:”Edward Snowden: Whistleblowing Is Not Just Leaking — It’s an Act of Political Resistance”,”yoast_wpseo_facebook_description”:”We are witnessing a compression of the time frame in which unconstitutional activities can continue before they are exposed by acts of conscience.”,”yoast_wpseo_facebook_thumbnail”:””,”yoast_wpseo_twitter_title”:”Edward Snowden: Whistleblowing Is Not Just 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