Benjamin Wittes

Edward Snowden Is Russia's Puppet Now

Any shred of heroism was lost at Putin's press farce

Edward Snowden is not a whistleblower, or a hero. He is a man who helps dictators make propaganda to embarrass his own country.

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The Post's NSA coverage has been the opposite of insightful.

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It was his best speech on national security, but it will not quell the controversies.

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This presumably was not the report Obama was imagining when created the group.

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Jack Goldsmith: Journalists Are Too Thin-Skinned

And other national-security debates in these three podcasts

On October 25, the Hoover Institution put together a media colloquium which brought together a group of distinguished journalists who work on national security issues and put them face to face for a day with members of its Jean Perkins Task Force on National Security and Law.

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Two leading human rights NGOs, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, released separate reports on U.S. drone warfare this week. They were focused on different places geographically—Amnesty’s report, “Will I be next? U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan,” focuses on Waziristan and the tribal regions of Pakistan that border Afghanistan, while Human Rights Watch’s offering, “Between a Drone and Al Qaeda: The Civilian Cost of U.S.

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Americans today vacillate over national security and government power. We want an effective intelligence community, but we don’t want too much surveillance or collection. We want to rein in the NSA, but we also wax outraged when it does not connect the dots. We want to capture the enemy, but we want to close Guantanamo Bay. We want to kill the enemy, but drone strikes make us uncomfortable.

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If a body other than the Congress of the United States were actively contemplating a step that would, by the accounts of virtually all economists, tank the U.S. economy, cause interest rates to shoot up, and trigger a financial crisis, we would talk about that body as a threat to national security. At a minimum, we would talk about the step it is contemplating in national security terms. A government shutdown, after all, can invite a national security event, but by itself it isn’t one. It’s a game of Russian Roulette.

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Imagine if the Democrats in 2007, having just regained control of the Congress, had decided to go to the mat against the Bush tax cuts. Imagine that they voted repeatedly to repeal them. They tried to delay implementation. They linked repeal to debt ceiling legislation. And while most of them knew better than to shut down the government over marginal tax rates, for a group critical to Nancy Pelosi’s majority, repeal had become a matter of religion.

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Three separate items that may be of value, if you’re one of those people who is trying to figure out what to make of the whole NSA-Snowden-FISA mess.

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