When the Supreme Court first encountered the internet, the justices expressed wonder at its potential. “It is ‘no exaggeration to conclude that the content on the Internet is as diverse as human thought,’” marveled Justice John Paul Stevens, then the court’s oldest member. The court decided that, unlike the more regulated television and broadcast media, this “‘unique and wholly new medium of worldwide human communication” was entitled to full First Amendment protection.
Timothy H. Edgar defended privacy as an ACLU lawyer before going inside America’s growing surveillance state as an intelligence official in both the Bush and Obama administrations – a story he tells in Beyond Snowden: Privacy, Mass Surveillance and the Struggle to Reform the NSA. In 2013, Edgar left government to become a Senior Fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute and helped put together Brown’s Executive Master in Cybersecurity. Edgar also serves on the advisory board of Virtru, an encryption software company. Edgar’s work has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, Foreign Affairs, and Wired. Edgar is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Dartmouth College.
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Special Counsel Robert Mueller is wrapping up an important phase in his investigation. Even as he brings new charges in the case against President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, Mueller is coming to conclusions about Trump himself. According to the Washington Post, Mueller plans to document his findings in two reports: one on possible collusion with Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and one possible obstruction of justice in the course of the Russia investigation.
On Friday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller released the indictment of the "Internet Research Agency LLC," also known as the Russian troll factory, and a number of other entities and individuals.
I am honored that Lawfare is using my new book, "Beyond Snowden: Privacy, Mass Surveillance and the Struggle to Reform the NSA" as the starting point for a conversation on the future of surveillance reform. Many thanks to those in the Lawfare community that offered me support, advice and comments along the way. I am looking forward to reading the essays of those who have agreed to write about the book in this mini-symposium, and I will respond to those essays with some closing thoughts of my own.
In Sharing Memos, Comey Did Nothing Wrong as a Former Official and Everything Right as a Whistleblower
The world has waited for Donald Trump’s response to yesterday’s stunning testimony from former FBI Director James Comey. Trump’s uncharacteristic restraint in holding back from tweeting yesterday apparently didn’t last long. This morning he wrote:
Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication...and WOW, Comey is a leaker!
The election of Donald Trump as president prompted a lively debate about whether the resulting alarm about civil liberties was justified. At the CATO surveillance conference in December, I made the case that it was, and that Trump’s control of the NSA and other surveillance agencies might result in widespread surveillance abuses.
In less than a week, members of the Electoral College will cast their votes. Ten of them have written James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, to ask for a classified briefing to review the issue of foreign influence in the election.