Blog of Rights

Brett Max
Kaufman

Brett Max Kaufman is the National Security Fellow in the ACLU's National Security Project. Mr. Kaufman is a graduate of Stanford University and the University of Texas School of Law, where he was Book Review Editor of the Texas Law Review and a Human Rights Scholar at the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. After graduation from law school, Mr. Kaufman spent one year in Israel, serving first as a foreign law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Asher Dan Grunis and then as a volunteer attorney at Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement. He next completed two clerkships in New York City—with the Hon. Robert D. Sack of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and with Judge Richard J. Holwell and (after Judge Holwell’s resignation) Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Appeals Court Rules Government Can't Have It Both Ways on Targeted Killing

Appeals Court Rules Government Can't Have It Both Ways on Targeted Killing

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 4:49pm
In an important opinion issued today in the ACLU's ongoing litigation surrounding the government's targeted killing program, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit roundly rejected the government's extreme claims of official secrecy over information about the program. In ordering the release of a 2010 legal memorandum by the Office of Legal Counsel analyzing the potential targeted killing of an American citizen, as well as other information about records the government has previously refused to describe at all, the Second Circuit became the first court to order the release of a document related to the government's targeted killing program. It also became the second federal appeals court in the last 13 months to hold that the government has pushed its secrecy claims surrounding the targeted killing program past their breaking point.
Guantánamo Dispatch: A Hard-Earned Trust in Peril

Guantánamo Dispatch: A Hard-Earned Trust in Peril

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 2:25pm

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — What would it take for you to trust a stranger with your life?

For most of us, this question is merely rhetorical, but for criminal defendants facing the death penalty, it could not be more concrete. To be effective…

The FBI Derails the 9/11 Hearings at Guantánamo

The FBI Derails the 9/11 Hearings at Guantánamo

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 5:20pm

The oft-delayed, secrecy-plagued 9/11 military commission hearings came to an abrupt halt today before the scheduled arguments surrounding the competency of defendant Ramzi bin al Shibh even began. Just minutes after Army Col. James Pohl called the…

ACLU Files Lawsuit Challenging NSA's Patriot Act Phone Surveillance

ACLU Files Lawsuit Challenging NSA's Patriot Act Phone Surveillance

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 3:30pm

In the wake of the past week's revelations about the NSA's unprecedented mass surveillance of phone calls, today the ACLU filed a lawsuit charging that the program violates Americans' constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy.

This…

A Guide to What We Now Know About the NSA's Dragnet Searches of Your Communications

A Guide to What We Now Know About the NSA's Dragnet Searches of Your Communications

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 10:39am

Charlie Savage of The New York Times confirmed this week what we have been warning about for years...

Echoing Dirty Past, NSA Sought to Reveal Porn Habits to Discredit Targets

Echoing Dirty Past, NSA Sought to Reveal Porn Habits to Discredit Targets

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 12:06pm

In the five months since the world first learned of Edward Snowden, story after story based on documents disclosed by the young whistleblower have filled out a picture of the National Security Agency (NSA) as an organization with a limitless — and…

Dragnet Surveillance and the English Language

Dragnet Surveillance and the English Language

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 11:33am

The revelations over the past nine months that the United States is engaging in various mass-surveillance programs that collect and store huge amounts of information about both Americans and foreigners has rightly invited frequent references to George…

Finally, a Day in Court to Challenge Mass Surveillance

Finally, a Day in Court to Challenge Mass Surveillance

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 11:11am

For more than seven years, the government has collected the phone records of every American under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, without ever having to justify the program's legality in a public and adversarial court hearing — that is, until this…

MLK, Spying, and the “Urgency of the Moment”

MLK, Spying, and the “Urgency of the Moment”

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 11:44am

Last week, Martin Luther King, Jr. would have celebrated his 85th birthday in an America that, in myriad ways, is a freer, fairer, and more just nation than the one he knew. Today, we pause to remember the man for daring to dream of equality of personhood…

Under the FISA Amendments Act, Your Calls and Emails Can’t Be "Targeted," But They Can Certainly Be Collected

Under the FISA Amendments Act, Your Calls and Emails Can’t Be "Targeted," But They Can Certainly Be Collected

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 2:59pm

In recent days, government officials have lined up to assuage Americans' fears...

Statistics image