Brett Brownell

Brett Brownell

Multimedia Producer

Brett Brownell is the Multimedia Producer at Mother Jones and has visited all 50 states. He also helped launch MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes as a video and web producer, served as new media director for the employee rights organization Workplace Fairness, and founded the annual global photography event Worldwide Moment in 2007. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-T.V. and grew up in Arlington, Texas.

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NSA Mad Libs: Choose Your Own [Redacted]

| Thu Aug. 22, 2013 6:00 AM EDT

On Wednesday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a 2011 FISA Court ruling striking down a top-secret National Security Agency online-surveillance program. The court, whose opinions are normally classified, found that the agency had accessed as many as 56,000 electronic communications (such as emails) from American citizens and foreign nationals over a three-year period by tapping into fiber-optic cables.

The ruling is 86 pages long, but don't expect to read all of it: It's so heavily redacted that large portions of the text look like some sort of cubist Rorschach test. As a result, much of the declassified ruling's contents will still be unknown to the general public.

But don't let that stop you! Below, you can take your best guess at what the redacted opinions should say with our NSA Choose-Your-Own-[Redacted] Mad Libs:

Think the results of your NSA Mad Lib looked crazy? Check out some of the actual redactions on the newly released FISA rulings:

Page 1
The black marker was definitely working on page 1. Behold, a nearly perfect square, redacting the entire opening paragraph.

 

Page 4
Page 4 informs us that something is limited to the "the targeting of non-United States persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States." And that's about it.

 

Page 12
Hoping to find the bibliography information for citation No. 11 on page 12? Fuhgeddaboudit.

 

Page 27
Page 27 might not tell you much about the new provision, but this redaction does kind of resemble an American flag. So at least it's patriotic.

 

Page 58
It appears one lucky word on page 58 was not redacted for a brief, shining moment. But eventually, the black marker won. What do you think that word was? Leave your comments below.

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WTF Is Google Doing Raising Money for Congress' Biggest Climate Denier?

| Wed Jul. 24, 2013 12:36 PM EDT

Google is taking some serious flak from environmentalists over its recent fundraiser for Sen. James Inhofe (R-OKla.), climate denier extraordinaire. Today, protesters are convening in Mountainview to, as a press release from the climate change activist group 350.org put it, "raise awareness among Google's environmentally-minded and science-oriented employees and management of their company's fundraising for one of the most prominent climate change deniers in the country." We thought we'd take a trip down to check it out:

Brad Johnson (@climatebrad) of Forecast the Facts says Google rejected the petitions and suggested they submit a business proposal instead. Johnson says they will next see what members want to do. "This is not over," he said following this video. Watch:

 

Bruce Jones' (@BMcCJ) message to Google:

 

 

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