Jack Goldsmith’s response to my call for a pardon for Edward Snowden deserves a reply. I also have a few thoughts on what Susan Hennessey and Ben Wittes have now added to the debate.
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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I have signed on to the letter asking President Obama to pardon Edward Snowden that was released today. A pardon for Snowden, even if he does not personally deserve one, is in the broader interests of the nation.
The UK’s decision to leave the European Union could be a big blow for United States national security, and for global privacy.
The next round of surveillance reform is a time for the United States to go big – and to go global. We should get out of our defensive crouch and show the world how to balance robust intelligence capabilities with rules to protect privacy and civil liberties in the digital age.
Instead of waiting for far-right demagogues to have their say, European governments should respond to current terror threats not with sweeping new surveillance or other government powers but with a 9/11-style commission to cut through bureaucracy and challenge the status quo.
When it comes to privacy, the legal and technology communities are, in some ways, talking past each other.
If Republicans block Garland, the result may well be that Clinton nominates, and the Senate confirms, a younger, more liberal candidate more to the liking of civil libertarians.