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Joshua uses Beacon to dig deep into the inner workings of national security and intelligence. Now more than ever, questions about security need more clarity. As a former intelligence analyst turned reporter, Joshua goes behind the scenes to explain how complex policies impact our society’s relationship with technology and each other.

Latest Discussion
How Would You Reform the Intel Community?

I want to thank all of you for subscribing to my updates. I’m curious, since I’ve been thinking about this for months now and feel no closer to answer. What are your thoughts for how we can reform the intelligence community to be more up front about protecting necessary privacy while still allowing them the tools to do their job? It’s a damned complex problem, and I’d like to hear from some of you about what your thoughts are — hopefully to be included in a future article about this.

October 28 at 7:22 pm
More Discussions
A video from Joshua

The Most Bizarre Jihadist Trial You’ve Never Heard Of

Jamshid Mukhtarov started out as a campaigner for human rights in Uzbekistan, but was arrested in the U.S. last year for materially supporting a banned terror group. His case is a petri dish of what’s wrong with America’s war on… 

Adding to the Catalog of Journalistic Malfeasance

Time and time again, the first round of stories about revelations based on the Edward Snowden documents turn out to be at least partially wrong. The latest, about the NSA surveilling French telephones, is a… 

Throwing the Intelligence Community Under the Bus

The outcry over NSA surveillance is reaching a critical breaking point. President Obama is having his options constrained by an avalanche of disclosures, and there might be only one, barely adequate way out of… 

Why Leaks Are Serious Business

Though leaked national security documents are always interesting, the most fervent advocates of leak-based journalism rarely consider the damage caused by their publication. We may decide, as a society, that such damage is worth the benefits we gain from learning about the government, but we can only make that decision by examining it in… 

The Edward Snowden Snow Job

Edward Snowden keeps telling a different story about himself, which raises the troubling prospect that we cannot trust a word he says. Here is a children’s treasury of all the contradictory claims he’s… 

The Science Fiction of Drone-phobia

Many opponents of autonomous robots in warfare appeal to science fiction to make their case. This is not only lazy thinking, it distracts from the bigger questions about regulation and ethical… 

The Missing Element of NSA Debate

Much of the debate about spying, surveillance, and espionage miss the real reasons such activities exist in the first place. Leading through ignorance is not a constructive way to begin reforming any… 

Why Capturing Terrorists is so Damned Hard

Despite this weekend’s capture of two terrorists in Libya and Somalia, it remains an incredibly difficult feat to pull off.… 

A Broken Political System

The federal government shutdown over ObamaCare mirrors the broken debate over national security. Both suggest U.S. legitimacy is at an all time… 

Why Would Sarah Harrison be Seeking Asylum?

Little is known about Sarah Harrison, the Wikileaks legal adviser who helped facilitate Edward Snowden’s requests for asylum. And more mysterious still — why are there rumblings that Harrison is requesting asylum… 

A Promise of What’s to Come

With the NSA and Syria dominating the news cycle, there’s plenty to expect from me on … 

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Pugs, Even When Golden, Are Awesome

Kazaxia, the wonderful blog about Kazakhstan, is giving out its Golden Pug Awards for 2013. And I … 

The World in 2030 Won’t Look Anything Like You Think

In 1997, the U.S. intelligence outfit charged with long-term strategic thinking made some startling predictions: by 2010, North Korea would be transformed into a normal state and tensions on the peninsula would be eliminated; the western world would see unending 2-percent growth in personal income; and precision weapons would make conflicts smaller and less costly. None of those things happened. North Korea remains mostly unchanged today — except for its nuclear program, which perhaps poses more of a… 

Three Guiding Principles for NSA Reform

Many Americans are disturbed by government data-mining, but what can we actually do to change the system we’re so uncomfortable… 

The War After the War in Syria

The war in Syria seems to be one disaster after the next. Last week, credible reports emerged that upwards of a thousand people died on the outskirts of Damascus after the Assad regime used chemical weapons against them. After trying to delay United Nations weapons inspectors, the Assad regime now faces an international response, possibly in the form of a military…