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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Can California Textbooks Criticize Slave Traders?

February 23, 2015 In California, the state laws that govern education require very specific kinds of diversity. For example, the curriculum must include "a study of the role and contributions of both men and women, Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, European Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans,...

The Danger of Being Neighborly Without a Permit

February 22, 2015 Three years ago, the Los Angeles Times published a feel-good story on the Little Free Library movement. The idea is simple: A book lover puts a box or shelf or crate of books in their front yard. Neighbors browse, take one, and return later with a replacement. A 76-year-old in...

How Hillary's Hawkishness Could Cost Her the Presidency

February 19, 2015 Hillary Clinton's Iraq War vote cost her the election in 2008. During that campaign, she touted her experience and judgment to distinguish herself from Democratic rivals. "It's 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep," her most famous ad said. "But there's a phone in the White House and...

The CIA's Most Important Overseer Is Abetting Its Torture Coverup

January 22, 2015 Senator Richard Burr is acting like a man who doesn't understand the role or duties that he now has. With the Republican Party assuming control of Congress, the North Carolinian is chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, the body charged with overseeing the CIA. His responsibilities are momentous. All senators...

How America's National Security Hawks Empowered Iran

January 14, 2015 The Associated Press reported on Monday that Iraqis now consider Iran a more important ally against Sunni extremists from the Islamic State than the United States, and that as a result, "Tehran's influence in Iraq, already high since U.S. forces left at the end of 2011, has grown to an...

Michael Hayden to NBC: No One Ever Warned Us Against Overreacting to 9/11

December 10, 2014 After the Senate released its torture report, Michael Hayden, who formerly led both the CIA and the NSA, granted an interview to NBC News. Under questioning by Brian Williams, he provided no persuasive rebuttal to the report's findings. But he did offer a defense of America's intelligence community that doubles...

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...

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