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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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Counterpoint: Trump’s Syria Strike Was Unconstitutional and Unwise

April 7, 2017 Early the morning of August 21, 2013, six densely populated neighborhoods in Syria “were jolted awake by a series of explosions, followed by an oozing blanket of suffocating gas,” the Washington Post reported at the time. “Unknown to Syrian officials, U.S. spy agencies recorded each step in the alleged chemical...

Is Russia Behind a Secession Effort in California?

March 1, 2017 Last month, I asked Los Angeles Times readers to imagine how they would react if Donald Trump tried to kick California out of the union. After all, if not for the Golden State, he would have won the popular vote, Blue America would lose its biggest source of electoral votes,...

The Future of Privacy Is Plausible Deniability

October 30, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The successful breach of John Podesta’s email account is the latest high-profile hack to expose thousands upon thousands of private missives to the public. With the Sony Pictures debacle in the recent past and no prospect of perfect digital security, more breaches seem inevitable. So why do email providers, organizations...

Trump’s Plea to Russian Hackers Foreshadows a Dangerous Stance on NSA Surveillance

July 28, 2016 PHILADELPHIA––On Wednesday, Leon Panetta, the former director of the CIA, declared on stage at the DNC that the Republican Party’s nominee is unfit for office. He was responding in part to news that Donald Trump “hoped Russian intelligence services had successfully hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, and encouraged them to publish...

Trump Shows the Flaws of NSA Surveillance

July 28, 2016 PHILADELPHIA––On Wednesday, Leon Panetta, the former director of the CIA, declared on stage at the DNC that the Republican Party’s nominee is unfit for office. He was responding in part to news that Donald Trump “hoped Russian intelligence services had successfully hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, and encouraged them to publish...

'We Are Not Frozen in a Nightmare,' Says Defiant John Kerry

June 29, 2016 Amid tumult in world affairs, with a deadly attack on an airport in Istanbul, Turkey, EU countries grappling with Britain’s impending exit, and an ongoing war against ISIS, Secretary of State John Kerry sought to reassure an Aspen audience Tuesday that “the world is not witnessing global gridlock. We are...

John Kerry: "We Are Not Frozen in a Nightmare"

June 29, 2016 Amid tumult in world affairs, with a deadly attack on an airport in Istanbul, Turkey, EU countries grappling with Britain’s impending exit, and an ongoing war against ISIS, Secretary of State John Kerry sought to reassure an Aspen audience Tuesday that “the world is not witnessing global gridlock. We are...

Should the Careless Be Punished for Getting Hacked?

June 27, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Nearly everyone with internet access is harmed, at least indirectly, by digital criminals. Josephine Wolff, a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, believes cybersecurity policy would benefit from a debate about if and when it might be appropriate to punish careless computer users for their role in enabling those...

The Senate's Anti-Encryption Bill Could Become a Problem

April 14, 2016 A generation ago—after America’s spy agencies were exposed as perpetrators of massive civil-rights violations, abuses of power, and misdeeds abroad—oversight committees were created to protect liberal democracy from the national security state. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr now sit on one of those committees. And they are not just...

What We Know About the Brussels Attacks

March 22, 2016 Updated on March 22 at 6:52 p.m. ET Here’s what we know so far: —There were two explosions at Brussels’s Zaventem airport at about 8 a.m. local time (3 a.m. ET) and one on the city’s metro system. —The Belgian government’s Crisis Center said a dozen people were killed at...