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Damning With the Faintest of Praise

Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 9:23 AM

I had an interesting exchange on Twitter this morning with Glenn Greenwald about his description of me as a “virulent NSA defender.” He has now posted the following update to the post in question, which I’m sure will amuse some Lawfare readers, as it did me:

On Twitter, Wittes objects to my description of him as a “virulent NSA defender”, saying: “I am certainly an NSA defender, but curious what I have said that strikes you as ‘virulent’. I try to keep virulence out of it.” It’s a fair point, and was a bad word choice on my part. I meant to convey that he’s steadfast, relentless and intense in his defense of the NSA—I probably was thinking of “vehement”. “Virulent” connotes poisonous or spiteful rhetoric and Wittes generally avoids that. In my view, he’s certainly a hard-core apologist for NSA abuses and more generally a highly loyal US government defender, but he usually employs a Brookings-type civil tone when engaging in all that.

In all seriousness, I appreciate Glenn’s willingness to clarify.

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