Jack Shafer

The information singularity is coming!

By Jack Shafer
December 19, 2013

“Data! Data! Data!” Sherlock Holmes cried impatiently. “I can’t make bricks without clay.”

Plotting the Snowden plea bargain

By Jack Shafer
December 16, 2013

CBS News gave the National Security Agency an early Christmas present on Sunday—a segment on “60 Minutes.” The title of the segment, “NSA Speaks Out on Snowden, Spying,” telegraphed the network’s generosity. After taking beatings in the press and in Congress, NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander reached out to “invite” (which is how CBS News put it) the program to receive the NSA’s version of the Snowden affair. “What they got was a chance to make their case,” said correspondent John Miller.

Yes, we spy on allies. Want to make something of it?

By Jack Shafer
October 28, 2013

If not yet the consensus opinion, by tomorrow morning most everyone with a keyboard and a connection to the Internet who isn’t also a head of state will concede that the ally-on-ally spying by the United States — revealed in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to Der Spiegel — won’t matter much in the long run.

What was James Rosen thinking?

By Jack Shafer
May 20, 2013

Just open your Twitter feed and listen to the Washington press corps howl about the Obama administration’s latest intrusion into their business.

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.