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Category Archives: Media Criticism

Der Spiegel on U.S.-German Relations

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 7:18 AM

A very interesting article in Der Spiegel about U.S.-German relations, the NSA investigation, and Ukraine in light of Angela Merkel’s recent trip to Washington. The bottom line is that the Ukraine crisis and the resulting need for U.S.-European unity are forcing Merkel to back off both on her demands for changes to the U.S.-German intelligence relationship and . . .
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Hypocrisy Revealed! U.S. Exploits Vulnerabilities, Gathers Foreign Intelligence

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Friday, April 25, 2014 at 8:14 AM

We now know the shocking truth. The FBI has success­fully exploited a software vulnerability to obtain access, through recruited hackers, to networks operated by the governments of Brazil, Pakistan, Nige­ria, and Turkey and—hold your breath—Iran and Syria. Even more startling, especially to those despairing of our government agencies’ ability to cooperate with one another, the . . .
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“The Anti-Democratic, Anti-Transparency Ideology that Prevails at Lawfare”

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Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 7:06 AM

I learned a lot about Lawfare—and about myself—yesterday from Conor Friedersdorf’s rather bitter critique of my post on the decision to award the Pulitzer public service award to the Guardian and the Washington Post. From the headline (“Exposing the NSA: A Public Service Worthy of a Pulitzer Prize: The national-security state and its apologists don’t see it that way—which . . .
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The Washington Post and Guardian Pulitzers: I Dissent

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 8:30 AM

I know it is rude and churlish to offer anything but warm congratulations when former colleagues win a major prize—much less journalism’s most prestigious award. I know I am courting a barrage of hostile tweets and emails with these words. I know as well that I am on the losing end of elite opinion on these . . .
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NSA Knew About and Exploited Heartbleed—Unless it Didn’t

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Friday, April 11, 2014 at 11:07 PM

The other day, walking out of Aikido class, I was chatting with a friend about Heartbleed. I joked that the latest revelation reminded me of a scene from the classic Martin Scorsese movie, After Hours. In it, the hero, chased by an angry mob, runs up a fire escape, where–by coincidence–he watches a woman shoot . . .
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President Obama’s Metadata Proposal: A Win for Everyone?

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Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 10:01 PM

The ACLU is declaring President Obama’s announcement today of his proposal for reform of the 215 program “a major step in the right direction and a victory for privacy.” Jameel Jaffer, writing over at Just Security, raises questions about the proposal but says flatly: This is a milestone. The administration’s proposal is an acknowledgement that a . . .
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James Risen Needs to Read the NYT

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Andrew Beaujon at Poynter reports that at last week’s Sources and Secrets conference, NYT reporter James Risen, who is fighting a subpoena for information in the Jeffrey Sterling trial, made these remarks: 1)     The Obama administration is “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.” 2)     The administration . . .
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A Very Brief Reply to Glenn Greenwald

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Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 9:16 AM

Over at his new publication, The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald has a piece taking to task those criticizing Edward Snowden for news stories that, in fact, reflect the editorial judgments of the newspapers that published them. I actually agree with Greenwald about this. I have criticized both the New York Times and the Washington Post for their editorial judgments . . .
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From Planet Egypt

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 12:21 PM

This is from a real Egyptian government web site, that of the State Information Service. Headline: “US chargé d’affaires in Egypt denies US plot against Egypt.” Here’s how the text opens: US Chargé d’Affaires in Egypt Marc Sievers said on Tuesday  15/2/2014 that there is no US plot against Egypt, stressing that the US administration . . .
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A Question for the New York Times

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Monday, February 24, 2014 at 12:45 PM

The New York Times has an editorial today about the need for data privacy legislation and about the report that president adviser John Podesta is putting together on big data and privacy. “The president and the public need from Mr. Podesta and his team not only a thorough description of how businesses are collecting private data but . . .
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The Latest Snowden Leak: NSA Isn’t Spying on Lawyers

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Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Unless the public is really tiring of matters Snowden, the New York Times’s latest is going to stir up the hornet’s nest. “Spying by N.S.A. Ally Entangled U.S. Law Firm,” blares the headline of the story by reporter James Risen and freelancer Laura Poitras—from whom the Times (which insists it never pays for information) sometimes . . .
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Spinning the IMF Report on Iran Sanctions

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Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 3:04 PM

I am amused today by these two headlines about the IMF’s just-released assessment of Iran’s economy and the effects of remaining sanctions: the New York Times reports that I.M.F. Study Details Perils of Iranian Economy, while the Wall Street Journal reports that Iran’s Economy Improving Amid Nuclear Talks. Since one of the most difficult challenges . . .
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Looks Like I’m Not Alone in My View of the New York Times Editorial Page

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4:31 PM

According to the New York Observer, anyway, the news staff seems to agree with me: IT’S WELL KNOWN AMONG THE SMALL WORLD of people who pay attention to such things that the liberal-leaning reporters at The Wall Street Journal resent the conservative-leaning editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. What’s less well known—and about to break into the open, threatening the very . . .
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Two Thoughts on the Sanger/Shanker Story on NSA Infiltration of Foreign Networks

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 6:56 AM

David Sanger and Thom Shanker have a lengthy story in the NYT about various NSA techniques for penetrating foreign computers and networks, including a strategy for accessing seemingly air-gapped computers.  Two thoughts: First, this article shows how much publication norms have changed in recent years.  (Sanger and Shanker note that the NYT did not publish . . .
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Describing Bob Litt in Contradictory Terms?

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8:04 AM

In his profile yesterday of DNI General Counsel Bob Litt, the Washington Post‘s Greg Miller writes: Litt has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates and causes, and friends describe him in somewhat contradictory terms: an avowed liberal on social issues but a true believer in the propriety of surveillance programs such as those . . .
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Best Correction of the Month

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013 at 7:46 PM

From the Financial Times: Apology to His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa An article about detainees at Guantanamo Bay in FT Weekend (‘Guantanamo inmates face two divergent paths after 12 years’, Dec 21/22) was mistakenly accompanied by a photograph of Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa, foreign minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, . . .
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My Correspondence with Rick Perlstein: You Decide

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Monday, December 23, 2013 at 4:13 PM

On Saturday, I posted this piece in response to a particularly slimy blog post on The Nation‘s web site. The post dealt with Lawfare‘s relationship with the New Republic and the sponsorship of our joint Security States project by Northrop Grumman. The post contained preponderantly false information—particularly about Jack—and Perlstein had not bothered to contact either Jack or me . . .
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Eugene Robinson Gets it Wrong on Drones

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 7:53 AM

Over at the Washington Post, columnist Eugene Robinson has a piece decrying the morality of drone strikes—a piece that expresses with an admirable economy of words nearly every conceptual error one can make on the subject. Let’s dissect. The problems begin right at the top, where Robinson begins by conceding that “U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan . . .
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Disclosing Secrets

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 9:29 AM

As a short follow up to Ben’s post about the editorial judgment of the Washington Post, I am reminded of what the New York Times Public Editor, Byron Calame said about the SWIFT disclosures, in an opinion piece entitled “Banking Data: A Mea Culpa” (scroll to the second entry on the second page): Since the . . .
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Blowing Secrets for the Sake of Doing So?

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 8:45 AM

The Washington Post this morning has the latest Snowden-leaked document story: “The National Security Agency is harvesting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts around the world, many of them belonging to Americans, according to senior intelligence officials and top-secret documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.” The story has a lot of . . .
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