Damning With the Faintest of Praise

By Benjamin Wittes
Saturday, September 28, 2013, 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.