About the ACLU's National Security Project

The ACLU's National Security Project (NSP) advocates for national security policies that are consistent with the Constitution, the rule of law, and fundamental human rights. The Project litigates cases relating to detention, torture, discrimination, surveillance, censorship, and secrecy. Originally created as an informal working group after the September 2001 attacks, the National Security Project is now at the forefront of virtually every major legal battle relating to national security, civil liberties, and human rights.

Contact us: nspintake[a]aclu.org

STAFF

Jameel Jaffer — Director, Center for Democracy
Jameel Jaffer is a deputy legal director of the ACLU and director of its Center for Democracy, which houses the organization's work on human rights, national security, free speech, privacy, and technology. He has litigated many cases relating to government surveillance, including challenges to the Patriot Act's "national security letter" provision, the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program, and the National Security Agency's call-tracking program. He has also litigated cases relating to targeted killing and torture, including a landmark case under the Freedom of Information Act that resulted in the release of the Bush administration's "torture memos" and hundreds of other documents relating to the Bush administration's torture program. He is currently working on a book about individual privacy and official secrecy, a project he began as an Open Society Fellow in 2013. Before joining the staff of the ACLU, he clerked for Judge Amalya L. Kearse of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, and Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada. He is a graduate of Williams College, Cambridge University, and Harvard Law School.

Hina Shamsi — Director, National Security Project
Hina Shamsi is the Director of the ACLU's National Security Project. She engages in civil liberties and human rights litigation, research, and policy advocacy on issues including the freedoms of speech and association, torture, detention, and post-9/11 discrimination against racial and religious minorities. Her work has included a focus on the intersection of national security and counterterrorism policies and international human rights and humanitarian law. She is the author and coauthor of publications on torture, targeted killing, extraordinary rendition, and privacy and surveillance, and has monitored and reported on the military commissions at Guantánamo Bay. She is a Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School, where she teaches a course on International Human Rights Advocacy. Ms. Shamsi previously worked as the Acting Director of Human Rights First's Law & Security Program and then as a Staff Attorney in the ACLU's National Security Project. Before returning to the ACLU in her current position, Ms. Shamsi served as Senior Advisor to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Northwestern University School of Law.

Hugh Handeyside — Staff Attorney
Hugh Handeyside is a Staff Attorney in the ACLU’s National Security Project, where he works on issues related to government watchlisting, racial and religious discrimination, due process, and border-related practices. He is a graduate of Stanford University, the London School of Economics, and the University of Michigan Law School. Mr. Handeyside previously worked for several years on complex litigation matters at Perkins Coie LLP and Corr Cronin Michelson Baumgardner & Preece LLP.  From 2011-2012, he clerked for the Hon. John C. Coughenour of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.  Prior to law school, Mr. Handeyside worked for two years at the CIA, where he was an analyst in the Directorate of Intelligence and the Counterterrorism Center.

Patrick Toomey — Staff Attorney
Patrick Toomey is a Staff Attorney in the ACLU’s National Security Project, where he works on issues related to electronic surveillance, national security prosecutions, whistle-blowing, and racial profiling. Mr. Toomey is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School. After graduating from law school, he served as a law clerk to the Hon. Nancy Gertner, United States District Judge for the District of Massachusetts, and to the Hon. Barrington D. Parker, United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to joining the ACLU, Mr. Toomey worked on criminal defense, regulatory defense, and intellectual property matters at a law firm in New York.

Dror Ladin — Staff Attorney
Dror Ladin is a Staff Attorney at the ACLU National Security Project, where he works on issues related to detention, secrecy, profiling, and the intersection of immigration and national security.  He is a graduate of Vassar College and Yale Law School.  Prior to rejoining the National Security Project in his current position, Mr. Ladin clerked for the Honorable Kim McLane Wardlaw of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and was a Skadden Fellow at the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project and a fellow at the ACLU National Security Project.

Ashley Gorski  Staff Attorney
Ashley Gorski is a Staff Attorney at the ACLU's National Security Project, where she works on issues related to post-9/11 racial and religious discrimination, torture, detention, and religious freedom.  She is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School.  Prior to joining the ACLU, Ms. Gorski worked at a New York law firm and served as a law clerk to the Hon. Jon O. Newman, United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and to the Hon. Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.

Danielle Jefferis  Nadine Strossen Fellow 
Danielle Jefferis is the Nadine Strossen Fellow in the ACLU’s National Security Project, where she works on issues related to post-9/11 racial and religious discrimination and the intersection of national security and criminal justice. She is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and New York University. Prior to joining the ACLU, Ms. Jefferis practiced civil rights litigation at a small firm in Denver, Colorado, and served as a law clerk to the Hon. Gale T. Miller of the Colorado Court of Appeals.  

Matthew Spurlock  Fellow
Matthew Spurlock is a National Security Fellow in the ACLU’s National Security Project, where he works on issues related to government’s targeted killing program and electronic surveillance. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Harvard Law School. Prior to joining the ACLU, Mr. Spurlock served as a law clerk to Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers, Connecticut Supreme Court, and Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Eliza Relman — Paralegal
Eliza Relman is a Paralegal with the ACLU's National Security Project. Prior to joining NSP, Eliza was a teaching fellow at the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh, where she worked as a writing tutor and teaching assistant in history and political science. As a student at Dartmouth College, Eliza concentrated in history and public policy and edited the College’s student-run newspaper.

Mary Byrne – Legal Assistant
Mary Byrne is a Legal Assistant with the ACLU’s National Security Project. She is a graduate of Amherst College, where she majored in Political Science and Sexuality, Women’s, and Gender Studies. Prior to graduating, Mary worked at Reader to Reader, a local literacy nonprofit, and debated for the Amherst College Debate Society. 

Dinesh McCoy – Legal Assistant
Dinesh McCoy is a Legal Assistant with the ACLU’s National Security Project. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, where he majored in Global Studies with a focus on South Asian Studies and minored in Hindi-Urdu and Public Policy. Prior to graduating, Dinesh served as Co-President of UNC’s Center for Social Justice and wrote opinion pieces as a member of the student newspaper editorial board.

Sign Up for Breaking News