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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.
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The Senate's Anti-Encryption Bill Could Become a Problem

April 14, 2016 A generation ago—after America’s spy agencies were exposed as perpetrators of massive civil-rights violations, abuses of power, and misdeeds abroad—oversight committees were created to protect liberal democracy from the national security state. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr now sit on one of those committees. And they are not just...

What We Know About the Brussels Attacks

March 22, 2016 Updated on March 22 at 6:52 p.m. ET Here’s what we know so far: —There were two explosions at Brussels’s Zaventem airport at about 8 a.m. local time (3 a.m. ET) and one on the city’s metro system. —The Belgian government’s Crisis Center said a dozen people were killed at...

Explosions Hit Brussels Airport and Metro Station, Killing at Least 26

March 22, 2016 Explosions have hit Brussels airport and a main metro station, Belgian officials say, and, according to news reports and the transit agency, at least 26 people have been killed. “What we feared has happened,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said during a televised news conference. “We were hit by blind...

The Obama Administration's Drone-Strike Dissembling

March 14, 2016 As a frequent critic of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, I found Jeffrey Goldberg’s excellent interview a useful reminder that, for all my misgivings aboutthe Iraq War hawks that Barack Obama elevated, his persecution of whistleblowers, his decision to assassinate an American without due process, and his flagrantly illegal warmaking...

All the Federal Agencies that Fly Drones over US Soil

March 11, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A little more than a decade ago, the border patrol started using surveillance drones. The technology and the mission were a perfect match, and few did any worrying—almost no one objects to closely monitoring America’s southern border. The belief that the federal government was using drones to conduct domestic surveillance...

The Rise of Federal Surveillance Drones in the U.S.

March 10, 2016 A little more than a decade ago the border patrol started using surveillance drones. The technology and the mission were a perfect match, and few did any worrying—almost no one objects to closely monitoring America’s southern border. The belief that the federal government was using drones to conduct domestic surveillance...

Let’s Talk About the Federal Drones Flying Over US Soil

March 10, 2016 A little more than a decade ago the border patrol started using surveillance drones. The technology and the mission were a perfect match, and few did any worrying—almost no one objects to closely monitoring America’s southern border. The belief that the federal government was using drones to conduct domestic surveillance...

Will Conservatives Mount a Third-Party Challenge If Trump Is the Nominee?

February 25, 2016 Last summer, Donald Trump scared movement conservatives and establishment Republicans—not because they thought that he would actually win the Republican nomination, but because they feared that, in defeat, he would refuse to support the Republican nominee. Back then, it was easy to imagine a general election pitting a Bush against...

What the FBI vs. Apple Encryption Fight Is Really About

February 18, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow When software engineers at Apple designed the iPhone’s security features, they labored knowing that millions were relying on them to safeguard their privacy. Insofar as their efforts succeeded, they would stymie spying by jealous exes; stop hackers from emptying bank accounts; prevent blackmailers from stealing nude photos; and thwart authoritarian...

The Hawkeye State Sours on Hawkish Republicans

February 2, 2016 For the last three election cycles, Iowa Republicans have chosen among large fields of GOP candidates vying for the nomination of a party without a clear leader. Mike Huckabee won in 2008. Rick Santorum was victorious in 2012. And Monday, caucus-goers elevated another Christian who trumpets his faith. “To God...