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 41-50 of 67

Three Former NSA Employees Praise Edward Snowden, Corroborate Key Claims

June 18, 2013 USA Today has published an extraordinary interview with three former NSA employees who praise Edward Snowden's leaks, corroborate some of his claims, and warn about unlawful government acts. Thomas Drake, William Binney, and J. Kirk Wiebe each protested the NSA in their own rights. "For years, the three whistle-blowers had ...

Analysis: Why Are People So Distrustful of Big Government?

June 18, 2013 NSA surveillance poses a particularly thorny challenge to conservative War on Terror hawks, who are being forced to confront the tension in two things that they believe: 1) The Obama administration shouldn't ever be trusted. 2) We're at war, and the Obama Administration must be trusted with extraordinary powers to ...

Daniel Ellsberg on the High Costs of Executive-Branch Secrecy

June 14, 2013 When Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, his primary goal was changing U.S. policy in Vietnam. But he also had a "very important secondary objective" -- he hoped that Americans who read the documents would lose their tolerance for granting the executive branch the ability to act in secret. They'd ...

Analysis: Some Leaks Are More Illegal Than Others

June 13, 2013 As critics of Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker, vilify him for breaking the law and his promise to never reveal classified information, the press critic Jack Shafer adds vital and astonishingly unremarked upon context: the Obama Administration leaks highly classified information all the time. So did the Bush Administration. Does ...

Secrecy Undermines the Ability of Congress to Function as the Framers Intended

June 7, 2013 In an item at Wonkblog, Ezra Klein reflects on the legislature's role in the surveillance programs revealed over the last 48 hours. "We don't know how much Congress has been told about these programs, though it seems they have known at least some details for quite a long time," he ...

Commentary: President Obama Doesn't Welcome Debate, He Actively Thwarts It

June 7, 2013 Look at what White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest kept tellingreporters about the NSA's seizure of Verizon customer records. "The president welcomes a discussion of the tradeoffs between security and civil liberties," he said as he finished reading a prepared statement. In the question-and-answer session with the press that ...

Analysis: Your Tax Dollars at Work: The DEA Renovates Its Propaganda Museum

May 30, 2013 Starting Saturday, the Drug Enforcement Agency is temporarily closing the two main exhibit galleries in its Washington, D.C., museum -- yes, it runs an actual museum -- for a "major renovation and update." Its website details what we can expect: "new interactive content, an expanded history timeline, iPad stations with ...

Analysis: Is It Too Hard to Fire Misbehaving Feds?

May 23, 2013 Under the headline, "Yes, heads should roll at the IRS," Ezra Klein points out that, at the very least, "A number of IRS employees developed criteria that was politically biased both in appearance and in effect. They were reined in once by their superiors, and then they changed the criteria ...

Analysis: The Audacity of Eric Holder Admitting Team Obama Killed 4 Americans

May 23, 2013 Attorney General Eric Holder has just sent a truly incredible letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. In it, he acknowledges that the U.S. has killed four of its own citizens in drone strikes. Casual news consumers may find that confusing. Hasn't there already been an extremely public debate about the ...

How to Prevent the IRS From Abusing Its Power Again

May 17, 2013 Almost everyone agrees that the IRS behaved badly when it singled out conservative activist groups for extra scrutiny. As Ezra Klein put it, "because the Internal Revenue Service holds so much private data, and because it can make people's lives absolutely miserable, it is of paramount importance in our political ...