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NSA says start-up isn’t a media organization

The National Security Agency has told MuckRock, an independent news gathering service with offices at The Boston Globe, that it will not consider it a media organization in order to fulfill a public records request. MuckRock, which helps journalists, researchers, activists, and private citizens get public information from governments and publishes reports on its findings, had asked the NSA about a new data center following disclosures of the agency’s monitoring of US e-mail and phone calls.

The NSA told MuckRock cofounder Michael Morisy that it doesn’t consider him a member of the news media because he doesn’t gather “information in the public interest” or use “editorial skills to turn raw materials” into a story. The agency said it would still process his request as a nonmedia member, which could result in higher fees if it does provide the requested information. Morisy also works for Boston.com as producer of the Hive blog on innovation and technology news, and MuckRock itself rents space at the Globe.

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Morisy said the NSA’s rejection of MuckRock as a media organization “places more barriers in learning more about a notoriously secret agency under intense public scrutiny already for misrepresenting itself, under oath, before Congress.”

Taryn Luna can be reached at taryn.luna@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @tarynluna.
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