March 17, 2014

Winner of Last Week’s "Most Paranoid CIA-Feinstein News Photo" Contest

“As a privacy advocate, she has gotten angry about spying on (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel and spying on herself. But being OK with spying on the rest of us is questionable,” said Mike German, a former FBI agent and a fellow with the Brenna Center for Justice.”

— Privacy advocates call Feinstein’s rant on CIA spying hypocritical (CNN)

Newswire photographers are expert at emphasizing a little stylistic element here or a background feature there if it adds some thematic punch. If someone has been publicly shamed, how about a photo of that person studying the ground or standing near a cross? If someone has been accused of playing around, how about a shot of that person seemingly casting a look at an attractive aid?

In calling out the CIA last week for electronically disappearing documents provided to her Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Feinstein’s surprisingly public battle with that agency could not have provided a better prompt. Adding to the mix — and drawing castigation and biting satire — was the fact Feinstein has been such a cheerleader for secrecy and spying — until she becomes the victim.

And the winner goes to Mark Wilson and Getty Images for the “cop with the arms crossed” photo. Clearly that expression catches the enforcement officer dead-to-rights surveilling the Senator.

First runner up is this Reuters shot by Jonathan Ernst. Now, we become the watcher, watching the Senator as she’s looking the other way. While the three guys in suits pretend to be looking at their cells, several of them are likely also in cahoots with our surveillance team..

This is second runner up, also from Reuters. It employs that tried-and-true technique of evoking a surveillance vibe by capturing the Senator juxtaposed with a guy with a very bright light on his video camera. If it sounds like I’m making light, consider it a fake news moment. I can’t say if we’ll achieve an “NSA Era” the way we endured the “War on Terror,” but certainly, it’s establishing its own visual trappings.

And then, did anyone see this past week’s photo, by EPA’s Jim Lo Scalzo, of Obama’s new NSA/Cyber Command Director nominee?

(photo 1: Mark Wilson/AFP/GettyImages caption: photo 2: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters caption: Senator DianneFeinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committe. photo 3: Reuters caption: U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) was trailed by reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday. A dispute between the Central Intelligence Agency and a U.S. Senate committee that oversees it burst into the open when Feinstein accused the agency of spying on Congress. photo 4: Jim Lo Scalzo—EPA caption: Mar.11, 2014. Vice Admiral Michael Rogers (R), tapped by US President Barack Obama to lead the National Security Agency (NSA) and the US Cyber Command, is seen before speaking about his vision of the future of the NSA in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.)

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Michael Shaw
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