Blog of Rights

Jameel
Jaffer

Jameel Jaffer (@JameelJaffer) 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.

Charlie Hebdo, The Interview, and Censoring Torture Photos

Charlie Hebdo, The Interview, and Censoring Torture Photos

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 11:55am
This post was first published by Just Security.
Those Who Approved Torture Shouldn't Be Above the Law

Those Who Approved Torture Shouldn't Be Above the Law

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 10:23am

This piece originally appeared at MSNBC.com.

The Senate report released earlier this week makes clear that the CIA tortured more men, and far more brutally, than anyone outside the intelligence community previously understood. Given the report's…

Will You Stand Up for Them?

CIA Agents Said "No" to Torture

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 11:34am

The Senate report released earlier this week is mainly about the CIA personnel who authorized and used torture.

But the report also includes references to CIA personnel who raised concerns about the torture policies. CIA personnel raised…

Limitless War

Limitless War

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 10:49am

This originally appeared in a Politico feature collecting responses to President Obama's recently announced military plan against ISIS.

It's strange to think of it now, but when Congress authorized President George W. Bush to use military force…

America's Real Patriots Fought to Expose and End Torture

America's Real Patriots Fought to Expose and End Torture

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy & Larry Siems, The Torture Report at 1:39pm

This was originally published in The Los Angeles Times.

After more than a decade of denial and concealment on the part of our government, President Obama's recent acknowledgment that "we tortured some folks" felt like a milestone. Even in its…

Americans Deserve an Explanation for Targeted Killings

Americans Deserve an Explanation for Targeted Killings

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 3:27pm

The most important parts of the drone memo are the parts you can’t see.

The memo, released by a federal court on Monday in response to lawsuits filed by the ACLU and The New York Times, addresses the government’s authority to carry out…

Open the Drone Files

Open the Drone Files

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 10:40am

A federal appellate court's publication on Monday of the so-called "drone memo" finally allows the American public to evaluate the legal theories that were the basis for one of the Obama administration's most controversial acts – the extrajudicial…

The Drone Memo Cometh

The Drone Memo Cometh

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 11:18am

In response to consolidated lawsuits filed by the ACLU and The New York Times, the Second Circuit recently ordered the Obama administration to disclose (with redactions) one of the legal memos authorizing the government's premeditated killing of Anwar al-Aulaqi, an American citizen. The government has challenged certain aspects of the court's decision, apparently with some degree of success (more on that below), and it has managed to defer the release of the memo by two months. To its credit, though, the court appears unwilling to allow the government to delay the release of the memo indefinitely. If the court holds to a plan it set forth ten days ago, it will publish the memo itself this coming week.

Calling Abroad? Then Your Privacy Rights May Be "Eliminated"

Calling Abroad? Then Your Privacy Rights May Be "Eliminated"

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 10:14am

Modern American privacy law begins with Charles Katz, an accused gambler, making a call from a Los Angeles phone booth. In a now-famous opinion, Justice John Marshall Harlan concluded that the US Constitution protected Katz's "expectation of privacy"…

Obama's NSA Proposal Reveals a Broken Oversight System

Obama's NSA Proposal Reveals a Broken Oversight System

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 2:41pm

This piece originally ran at the Guardian.

To anyone who criticized the National Security Agency's phone-records dragnet over the last nine months or so, the American intelligence community had this stock response: all three branches of government…

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