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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 84

Libya May Not Be A Case Study in Intervention After All

July 29, 2014 In August 2011, Anne-Marie Slaughter, a prominent advocate of U.S. intervention in Libya, claimed vindication in the article, "Why Libya Skeptics Were Proved Badly Wrong." Americans benefited by helping Libyans fight for the sorts of democratic principles we so often champion, she argued, showing Middle Easterners that we're willing to ...

Want to Be the Next Intelligence Whistleblower? You May Want to Wait

July 28, 2014 Imagine a CIA agent who witnessed behavior that violated the Constitution, the law, and core human-rights protections, like torturing a prisoner. What would we have her do? Government officials say that there are internal channels in place to protect whistleblowers and that intelligence employees with security clearances have a moral ...

The Most Famous Whistleblowers on Why They Leaked

July 28, 2014 America's most famous whistleblowers, Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden,talked via video at a New York hacker conference earlier this week. What follows is a condensed transcript highlighting a portion of their exchange on why they each decided to leak and why they identify with one another. The panel was moderated ...

Why Intelligence Whistleblowers Can't Use Internal Channels

July 28, 2014 Imagine a CIA agent who witnessed behavior that violated the Constitution, the law, and core human rights protections, like torturing a prisoner. What would we have her do? Government officials say that there are internal channels in place to protect whistleblowers, and that intelligence employees with security clearances have a ...

Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden Kept His Oath Better Than Anyone in the NSA

July 25, 2014 Daniel Ellsberg, the celebrated leaker of the Pentagon Papers, said in a conversation last weekend with National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden that every human sometimes bites their tongue when they witness something that they know to be wrong—and blood often flows as a result. Due in part to lies ...

How to Find Yourself on the Terror Watch List

July 24, 2014 At long last, Americans know more about how people end up on a terrorist watchlist—though still not much. Early on in a just-leaked 166-page U.S. government guide to officially declaring someone a terrorist or suspected terrorist, a passage acknowledges that "watchlisting is not an exact science." The whole enterprise has ...

New Surveillance Whistleblower: The NSA Violates the Constitution

July 21, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow John Napier Tye is speaking out to warn Americans about illegal spying. The former State Department official, who served in the Obama administration from 2011 to 2014, declared Friday that ongoing NSA surveillance abuses are taking place under the auspices of Executive Order 12333, which came into being in 1981, ...

Gen. Abizaid-Led Panel Sounds Alarm on U.S. Drones

July 9, 2014 Last month, experts drawn from the highest reaches of establishment national-security circles quietly released a report that savages Team Obama's lethal drone program. Repeated attempts are made to give those in power the benefit of every doubt. "We believe that US government decision-makers make targeting decisions in good faith and ...

The Latest Snowden Leak Is Devastating to NSA Defenders

July 8, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Consider the latest leak sourced to Edward Snowden from the perspective of his detractors. The National Security Agency's defenders would have us believe that Snowden is a thief and a criminal at best, and perhaps a traitorous Russian spy. In their telling, the NSA carries out its mission lawfully, honorably, ...

Former NSA Chief Clashes With ACLU Head in Debate

July 3, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow ASPEN, Colo.—Is the NSA keeping us safe? That was the question that MSNBC used to frame a debate Monday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which The Atlantic co-hosts with The Aspen Institute. The debate featured Keith Alexander, former head of the National Security Agency; former Congresswoman Jane Harman; and former ...