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 31-40 of 103

Obama's Drone Killing Memo: Too Little, Too Late

June 24, 2014 On Monday, a federal appeals court released a memo on the extrajudicial killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. The public should have seen this memo long ago. The Obama administration suppressed it even after publicly invoking its logic; killing its subject in a drone strike; citing it to justify the ...

Commentary: The Government Isn't Very Good at Deciding What to Keep Secret

May 23, 2014 The U.S. government routinely tries to hide its unlawful behavior. It hides evidence of its incompetence too. That's a matter of historical record, not an opinion. Exposing government misbehavior sometimes requires publishing classified documents—take the Pentagon Papers or the Bush Administration's secret wiretaps. Writing in the New York Times Book ...

Edward Snowden's Other Motive for Leaking: Better Encryption

May 13, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A few pages into Glenn Greenwald's newly released book, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, there is a fascinating passage that transforms my understanding of why the contractor leaked NSA secrets. The familiar rationale still applies. Edward Snowden wanted to inform Americans about ...

Rand Paul Calls for Public Release of Extrajudicial-Killing Memo

May 12, 2014 Senator Rand Paul wrote a Sunday op-ed in the New York Times arguing that all Americans deserve to see the Office of Legal Counsel memos used to justify the killing of an American citizen without charges, trial, or due process of law. President Obama wants to appoint a lawyer who ...

Is State Surveillance a Legitimate Defense of Our Freedoms?

May 5, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Is state surveillance a legitimate defense of our freedoms? The question was put to Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and the CIA, during a debate Friday evening in Toronto. Alan Dershowitz joined him to argue the affirmative. Glenn Greenwald and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian argued against the resolution. ...

How to Fix Dysfunction in Washington

May 1, 2014 The bitter ideological battles of our era obscure the fact that "liberals and conservatives largely agree on the boundless nature of presidential responsibility." So argues Gene Healy, whose 2008 book The Cult of the Presidency remains an underappreciated gem. "Neither Left nor Right sees the president as the Framers saw ...

Must Every Federal Bureaucrat Speak Off the Record?

March 26, 2014 Deep in a Pennsylvania cavern, federal employees are using an antiquated, inefficient method to process 100,000 yearly applications for retirement benefits. They're doing it by hand. The Washington Post tells the whole jaw-dropping story in "Sinkhole of Bureaucracy." It involves a multi-step process that includes hours or even days spent ...

Opinion: The Feud Between the CIA and the Senate Is Not a Problem -- It's a Glimmer of Hope

March 24, 2014 Political reporters are often unaware of the assumptions baked into the stories they write. Take the dispute between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA. Politico's latest on the subject: "Dianne Feinstein-CIA feud enters uncharted territory." Here is the lede: Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s battle with the CIA has entered dangerous, ...

Nancy Pelosi: When Legislators Take on the CIA, 'They Come After You'

March 20, 2014 House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's remarks in support of fellow legislator Dianne Feinstein, who is embroiled in a dispute with the CIA, ought to be the sort of thing that alarms everyone. After all, another powerful member of Congress claims that the spy agency she is charged with overseeing illegitimately ...

How Can the U.S. Know Its Secrets Are Safe?

March 19, 2014 Edward Snowden's critics, inside and outside the U.S. government, regularly claim that his theft of classified documents is damaging to national security in part because officials must assume a worst-case scenario: that he took a couple million documents, and that China, Russia, or others gained access to all of them. ...