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Journalism After Snowden


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Journalism After Snowden: James Bamford

December 2, 2014 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Finding and Protecting Intelligence Sources

Whistleblowers are very rare, and it is even more rare when one comes knocking on your door as Edward Snowden did with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras.  Instead, journalists covering national security and intelligence need to develop sources from scratch.  And once developed, they need to be protected.  In his talk James Bamford will discuss some ways to develop sources and also ways to protect them.  He will also talk about Edward Snowden and his thoughts on sources and whistleblowers.  Bamford spent three days with him in Moscow last summer for a cover story in Wired magazine.


James Bamford is an American bestselling author, journalist, and documentary producer widely noted for his writing about the United States intelligence agencies, especially the highly secretive National Security Agency.  The New York Times has called him “the nation’s premier journalist on the subject of the National Security Agency.”  And in a lengthy profile, The New Yorker referred to him as “the NSA’s chief chronicler.”  His most recent book, The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA From 9/11 to The Eavesdropping on America, became a New York Times bestseller and was named by The Washington Post as one of “The Best Books of the Year.” It is the third in a trilogy by Mr. Bamford on the NSA, following The Puzzle Palace (1982) and Body of Secrets (2001), also New York Times bestsellers.

Throughout the 1990s, Mr. Bamford served as the Washington Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings where he won a number of journalism awards for his coverage of national security issues. In 2005, he released A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq and The Abuse of America’s Intelligence Agencies, an examination of the intelligence community from the attacks of September 11 to the war in Iraq and was also a bestseller.

Mr. Bamford has written for the New York Review of Books, New York Times Magazine, TheAtlantic, Harpers, Rolling Stone, Wired, and many other publications. In 2006, he won the National Magazine Award for Reporting, the highest honor in the magazine industry, for his writing in Rolling Stone on the war in Iraq.  This past September he wrote a cover story for Wired magazine based on his three days in Moscow hanging out with fugitive NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the longest any journalist has spent with him there.  He also writes and produces documentaries for PBS, including The Spy Factory, based of his most recent book, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2010.  And he is currently working on a new documentary for PBS on cyber warfare, which is scheduled to air early next year.

Mr. Bamford holds a Juris Doctor degree, was awarded a Polymer fellowship at Yale Law School last year, and has taught at the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy as a distinguished visiting professor.

Space is limited and RSVP is strongly encouraged.

If you are unable to attend the event, a live-stream will be available for viewing at:

This lecture series is part of a book project titled Journalism After Snowden: The Future of Free Press in the Surveillance State, which will be published by Columbia University Press in the Fall of 2015.

The Tow Center for Digital Journalism and the Information Society Project of Yale Law School have partnered to present this series of 5 lectures as part of the larger Journalism After Snowden project this Fall.

Journalism After Snowden, supported by The Tow Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is a yearlong series of events, research projects and writing from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism in collaboration with Columbia Journalism Review.