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Conor Friedersdorf

Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.
Results 1-10 of 109

Now the GOP Must Choose: Mass Surveillance or Privacy?

November 7, 2014 The Patriot Act substantially expires in May 2015. When the new Congress takes up its reauthorization, mere months after convening, members will be forced to decide what to do about Section 215 of the law, the provision cited by the NSA to justify logging most every telephone call made by ...

3 Ways Obama Expanded War Powers Well Beyond George W. Bush

November 7, 2014 Barack Obama has "dramatically expanded" the notion of when presidents can use force without permission. He has left "an extraordinary legacy of war powers." History will assign far more importance to these precedents than we do. They make it significantly easier for future presidents to wage war unilaterally. Those may ...

Ballot-Measure Results: An Election 2014 Highlight Reel

November 5, 2014 This isn't every attempt at direct democracy that passed or failed Tuesday, just everything that seemed like it might be of interest to a national audience. Alabama: The Heart of Dixie never had much reason to fear that sharia law would rise up, but now it has passed a measure ...

Did a SEAL Team Six Member Violate the Espionage Act?

November 3, 2014 A Navy SEAL who took part in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden is being aggressively investigated by the Obama administration, 60 Minutes reportedSunday. "I'm a senior-enlisted guy that did 13 straight deployments," Mark Owen said during an on-air interview. "Nothing else, nothing. I've sacrificed everything in my life ...

Congress Still Has No Idea How Much the NSA Spies on Americans

October 30, 2014 The biggest lie Americans are told about the NSA is that it is subject to "strict oversight." Listening to President Obama, Senator Dianne Feinstein, or most any high-ranking official in the national-security bureaucracy, one gets the impression that the Senate and House intelligence committees are keeping careful tabs on the ...

Where Is the Investigation Into Financial Corruption at the NSA?

October 23, 2014 Earlier this year, when Keith Alexander resigned as head of the National Security Agency, he began trying to cash in on expertise he'd gained while in government, pitching himself as a security consultant who could protect Wall Street banks and other large corporations from cyber-attacks by hackers or foreign governments. ...

Three Reasons Apple’s New Encryption Technology is a Good Idea (Even if the FBI Hates It)

October 17, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The head of the FBI is upset. In James B. Comey's ideal world, FBI agents would be able to access everything on a person's smartphone as long as a judge had issued a lawful warrant. But technology companies are now selling devices that encrypt the user's data. There is no ...

Journalists Should Stop Exalting Loyalty Among Elites

October 10, 2014 At the White House, the cabinet is perennially stocked with all ingredients for memoirs that criticize the president. Take thousands of pounds of choice secretaries; stir in liberal dollops of internal disagreement; let simmer over the heat of life-and-death decisions; add three teaspoons of ego, a dash of hindsight, and ...

The Homeland Security Department Is Not Prepared for a Pandemic

September 26, 2014 As the Department of Homeland Security endeavors to prevent another 9/11, a terrorist attack that killed nearly 3,000 Americans, it is worth remembering that there are far deadlier threats out there. I speak not of ISIS or Ebola, but the influenza virus. The flu pandemic that began in 1918 killed ...

How Snowden Complicates the Prevention of Future Leaks

August 22, 2014 Before Edward Snowden joined Daniel Ellsberg and Chelsea Manning in the annals of American whistleblowers, he was a young man who witnessed the attacks of September 11, 2001, and enthusiastically volunteered to join the national-security state. Back then, he believed in the wisdom of the War in Iraq, saw the ...