Jack Shafer

Pierre Omidyar and the bottomless optimism of billionaire publishers

By Jack Shafer
October 17, 2013

Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar – reckoned to be worth $8.5 billion — inspired tens of thousands of journalists to freshen their resumes this week when word of his plan to start his own mass media organization leaked out. With Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Laura Poitras announced as its first hires, the outlet will emphasize investigative journalism, but as Omidyar explained in a post, the site will serve all news.

NSA and the Pandora’s box of surveillance

By Jack Shafer
June 24, 2013

Let’s assume for a moment that National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander was telling the truth yesterday on ABC News’s This Week when he said that the NSA material leaked by Edward Snowden “has caused irreversible and significant damage to our country and to our allies.”

Edward Snowden and the selective targeting of leaks

By Jack Shafer
June 11, 2013

Edward Snowden’s expansive disclosures to the Guardian and the Washington Post about various National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs have only two corollaries in contemporary history—the classified cache Bradley Manning allegedly released to WikiLeaks a few years ago and Daniel Ellsberg’s dissemination of the voluminous Pentagon Papers to the New York Times and other newspapers in 1971.

The spy who came in for your soul

By Jack Shafer
June 8, 2013

Using EFTPOS (electronic funds transfer system at point of sale) in a store in Sidney, Dec. 11, 2012.  REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

Why leaks are good for you

By Jack Shafer
June 27, 2012

Every leak of classified information benefits somebody. With maybe one exception, I’d say that the recent sluice of leaks that has opened up and been reported in the press benefits you.

The spy who was undone by his email

By Jack Shafer
January 27, 2012

Everybody has an email disaster story to share: Accidentally cc:ing to your colleagues X-rated correspondence with your lover; prematurely forwarding to your staff the bad news about impending layoffs; using the wrong list to send letters of acceptance to college applicants who have been rejected. But in the grand constellation of email goofs, who can beat the blunders of former CIA officer John Kiriakou? If the criminal complaint filed against him this week in U.S. District Court in Alexandria is accurate, he could spend 30 years in prison for his email transgressions.