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Saturday, December 9, 2017
UNDER SUVEILLANCE SINCE 1921
Dear Friend of the Nation, The Nation has been living with 1984 since 1921. That was when the Bureau of Investigation—the forerunner of today's FBI—opened a file on the magazine. The following year, the investigator in charge wrote a memo to the BOI director stating: "The policy and activities of The Nation are too well-known to the Bureau to require comment by the writer."
So we know a thing or two about the surveillance state.
Now, in time for The Nation's 150th anniversary, we've assembled a number of our best articles on the subject in Surveillance Nation, a fascinating and timeless alternative history on the rise of the surveillance state. As our legal affairs correspondent, David Cole, writes in his introduction: "Time and again, writers for The Nation identified threats to privacy and liberty long before they were acknowledged by the broader public and media."
Surveillance Nation is an intellectual feast for anyone concerned about the widespread abuses of privacy that Edward Snowden revealed just over a year ago. Among the selections included here: an editorial denouncing the federal government's original authorization of wiretapping, dating back to the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt; Diana Trilling's review of George Orwell's classic 1984; Fred Cook's 1958 exposé of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI; Frank Donner's advice for the Church Committee in 1975 (with the evocative title "The Issue, of Course, Is Power"); Herman Schwartz's essay "How Do We Know FISA Is Working?"—from 1983; an astounding history of The Nation as seen through its FBI file; and more recent contributions by Christopher Hitchens, Eric Foner, Patricia Williams, Laura Flanders, Jonathan Schell, Naomi Klein, Chris Hayes and Jaron Lanier.
A year after Snowden's revelations, one thing is clear: to understand how the surveillance state can be dismantled, we must first understand how it came to be constructed. "If we want to preserve the liberties that are the foundation of a healthy democracy," Cole writes, "we must keep our eye on them as they keep their eye on us. No journal has done that job as effectively and consistently and for as long as The Nation."
By purchasing this unique history, you will not only learn about The Nation's vital role in investigating and condemning abuses of power in the past… you'll be ensuring that we can continue to do so in the future.