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 84

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 ...

Analysis: A Free Society Cannot Escape All Terrorism

January 13, 2014 The NSA's outgoing deputy director, Chris Inglis, has given a wide-ranginginterview 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 doubted ...

What TSA Left Out of the Cartoon It Made for Your Kids

January 7, 2014 The Transportation Security Administration has produced a cartoon to explain airport security to kids. And in many ways, the two-minute video does a pretty good job. On the other hand, the cartoon depicts a metal detector, not the scarier-seeming naked scanner that many kids actually must walk through at the ...

What If a Drone Struck an American Wedding?

December 16, 2013 On my wedding day, my wife and I hired a couple of shuttle vans to ferry guests between a San Clemente hotel and the nearby site where we held our ceremony and reception. I thought of our friends and family members packed into those vehicles when I read about the ...

The Holy See: Lethal Drones Pose Urgent Ethical Issues

November 25, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Holy See's representative at the United Nations, Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, has weighed in on the debate about targeted killing with unmanned aerial vehicles. His recent letter raises the following concerns about killing with drones: The technology may "lower the threshold of conflict, making it seem more attractive to ...

The Staggering Power of NSA Systems Administrators

August 27, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In Catch-22, there is a character whose constant desire to go AWOL results in a series of demotions. The reader is introduced to him as Ex-PFC Wintergreen, a lowly mail clerk. But it turns out that his job affords him extraordinary access to information. By manipulating its flow, he quietly ...

It's Highly Likely the NSA Hoovered Up Mitt Romney's Emails in 2002

August 22, 2013 Here's a detail from the Wall Street Journal's big story about broad NSA surveillance of email, including within the United States: For the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, officials say, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and NSA arranged with Qwest Communications International Inc. to use intercept equipment for ...