13 Jun 2014

Iraq, Vietnam, and Why US Foreign Policy Elites Won’t STFU

With Iraq splitting into three (eight years ago, I explained why this was going to happen and why the US should get behind it), I wondered whether any establishment media outlets would refer to a civil war there. I did a search for the applicable terms, and came up with … not much. Apparently,

15 Apr 2014

The Importance of Polks and Pulitzers

Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, two of the journalists whose reporting just won their organizations Pulitzers based on the Snowden revelations, have been reluctant to return to America because of various official calls for their arrest; the refusal of the Justice Department to provide any assurances that it would not

09 Apr 2014

When it Comes to Torture and Assassinations, Life Imitates Art

If you’ve read my 2009 novel Inside Out, you know that at the heart of the story were the “Caspers,” imprisoned war-on-terror suspects the government decided were too problematic to be dealt with even within president Obama’s new-fangled three-tier system of justice, and who were therefore emulsified, instead. Today, we have

08 Apr 2014

The Torture Report America Won’t Be Allowed to See

Last week a reporter with DW, an English-language German publication, contacted me with some questions for an article she was writing about the Senate’s CIA torture report.  Here’s the full text of what we discussed. DW:  On Thursday we’re expecting a decision by the Senate committee on whether to release the CIA report to the

04 Apr 2014

The Real Purpose of the CIA Torture Report

Overall, I guess you could say it’s good that the Senate intelligence committee has voted to declassify portions of its report on the CIA’s torture program. Certainly the public has the right, as well as the need, to know more about government criminality. But there are a lot of problems that are going to be obscured by

20 Mar 2014

Why the Brennan/Feinstein/Reid Cage Match Isn’t No-Holds-Barred

Following last week’s dramatic Senate speech by Intelligence Committee head Dianne Feinstein denouncing the CIA for essentially spying on her oversight committee, today Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released his own statements, one to John Brennan, Director of the CIA, the other to Eric Holder, the Attorney General, regarding the CIA’s misbehavior. It’s quite a fracas:

11 Mar 2014

Why Won’t Senator Feinstein Call Torture Torture?

There’s been a lot of great commentary already about the brouhaha between the Senate and the CIA regarding Senator Dianne Feinstein’s allegations that the CIA has, in essence, spied on the activities of the Senate’s intelligence oversight committee. I just want to add a few thoughts. First, it’s fair to wonder why the Senate is calling its own

27 Aug 2013

David Miranda and the Preclusion of Privacy, Part 2

Last week I argued that the UK government’s lawless detention of David Miranda, spouse of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, was intended to make journalism harder, slower, and less secure (and see this great follow-up by NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen of Press Think). Today, I’d like to discuss a common leftist reaction to the National Surveillance State’s

22 Aug 2013

David Miranda and the Preclusion of Privacy

I think it’s obvious to any reasonable observer that the UK authorities detained David Miranda, spouse of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, to intimidate journalists and whistleblowers — to “send a message,” as Greenwald put it. But I also think there’s something more going on. Put yourself in the shoes of the National

14 Aug 2013

Tom Friedman: No Sixth Amendment For You

Every time I come across a Tom Friedman column, I ask myself, “Could this guy get any stupider?”  And every time, he manages to find a way. Yesterday’s drivel was about whistleblower Edward Snowden.  Let’s try to unpack the Friedmanesque quantities of bullshit he crams into one short paragraph. Considering the breadth