AUTHOR ARCHIVES

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 21-30 of 80

UN Drone Investigator: U.S. Must Explain Civilian Deaths

March 11, 2014 After a year long study of the use of drones to kill people, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Ben Emmerson has released his final report. It's a manageable read at 22 pages. The summary by NYU's Sarah Knuckey is the next best thing. The report documents 30 instances where ...

Analysis: Why Does Congress Lack the Backbone to Oversee the CIA?

March 10, 2014 Ongoing efforts to make public a report on torture perpetrated by the CIA has the spy agency "nearly at war" with its Senate overseers, Eli Lake reports in The Daily Beast. In theory, that would mean that the CIA is in deep trouble. Congress has the power to destroy the ...

Stray Dogs: How ATF Agents Lose Their Guns

February 28, 2014 Several months ago, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published the results of an expansive investigation into a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms sting program. The widespread misbehavior on display was both alarming and comical, a characterization that applies equally well to the newspaper's latest revelation: For unexplained reasons, ATF agents ...

Analysis: A Key NSA Overseer's Alarming Dismissal of Surveillance Critics

February 27, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The National Security Agency's overseers have a spotty-at-best post-9/11 track record. The NSA carried out an illegal program of warrantless wiretapping during the Bush Administration. Even after the President's Surveillance Program was reformed, the agency built a surveillance dragnet that collected information on the private communications of millions of totally ...

Analysis: DHS Explores Mass Surveillance of Car Trips

February 19, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The automobile has afforded greater freedom to so many different kinds of Americans: the mad dreamers portrayed in On the Road; the post-World War II families who suddenly had the means to pack their kids in the backseat and vacation a thousand miles from home; the Jim Crow-era blacks for ...

Analysis: Behold the Selective Outrage Over National-Security Leaks

February 14, 2014 Whistleblowers aren't the only ones who reveal classified information. U.S. newspapers have recently published articles about two different national-security leaks, both of them sourced to U.S. officials speaking on the condition of anonymity. One story reports that the NSA's phone dragnet doesn't include information on telephone calls from Verizon Wireless ...

Independent Federal Agency Says Shut Down Illegal Phone Dragnet

January 23, 2014 The National Security Agency's practice of collecting and storing data on all phone calls is illegal and should be shut down—that's the conclusion of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent executive-branch agency. Its board members are empowered to investigate and analyze classified material. They're the latest independent ...

Analysis: A Defense of Obama's Afghan-War Ambivalence

January 22, 2014 Did President Obama betray the troops in Afghanistan? Conservative political commentators have been saying so for days. As evidence, they cite the newly released memoir of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who complained that as of late 2010, the commander in chief "doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and ...

Analysis: Does America Owe Foreigners Any Privacy?

January 14, 2014 Domestic spying has been the understandable focus of U.S. citizens and policymakers as Edward Snowden's disclosures about the NSA made international headlines. But the leaks have given us a fuller understanding of foreign surveillance, too. Abroad, the NSA operates with less oversight and fewer legal constraints. Is it behaving in ...

A Free Society Cannot Escape All Terrorism

January 13, 2014 The NSA's outgoing deputy director, Chris Inglis, has given a wide-ranging interview to NPR, where host Steve Inskeep asked about the practice of collecting and storing information on the telephone calls of virtually all Americans. That program requires money, manpower, and time. It is politically controversial. And a presidential review ...