Friday, August 16, 2013

Investigative Journalism: Radiation Rises Dramatically in Dental Offices

Despite growing awareness of health risks from x-rays, radiation is on the rise in dental offices - thanks to the growing "indiscriminate use" of CT scans, which pump out as much as 60 times the radiation of conventional dental x-rays.

Read how a dental x-ray radiation could affect your health, what authorities are doing to minimize it (or not!) and what you can do about it in this story I just did in Vancouver's Georgia Straight weekly.

See more background on the problem in this New York Times investigation, which revealed that questionable marketing has fueled an explosion in the use of cone-beam CT scanners in dental offices.

Investigative Journalism: 2,776 Unauthorized Surveillance Incidents in 12 Months

So much for the Obama administration's assurances that its massive electronic snooping program is subject to extensive safeguards and oversight.

"Every now and then, there may be a mistake," said U.S. deputy attorney general James Cole in congressional testimony cited by the Washington Post.

Turns out "every now and then" actually means 2,776 incidents of unauthorized collection, storage, access or distribution of legally protected communications in the 12 months up to May 2012.

That's according to an internal audit by the U.S. National Security Agency. The Washington Post published this story on the audit, which was provided by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Resources: Investigative Journalism Techniques From the Black World

Just found this interesting top-10 list of books written about the failure of torture to provide useful information, written by U.S. army lieutenant-colonel Douglas Pryer, who is in military intelligence.

Pryer's list consists mostly of real-life war-time accounts of interrogators who used respect and brains to bring around captives, instead of brutality.

Such accounts aren't just valuable as an indictment of torture and the media that supports it in various movies and TV shows.

They also present techniques of information gathering useful to a journalist dealing with reluctant sources (including those in the security and police community whose experiences are recounted in the books).

Pryer is also author of Fight for the High Ground: The U.S. Army and Interrogation During Operation Iraqi Freedom, May 2003-April 2004.

Astute readers may recall an earlier post I wrote on the same topic back in 2010. It was about a 203-page study of "intelligence interviewing" produced by the U.S. Intelligence Board, which answers to the CIA director.