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.

Sens. Wyden and Udall Weigh in on ACLU Patriot Act FOIA Case

Sens. Wyden and Udall Weigh in on ACLU Patriot Act FOIA Case

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 6:09pm
"Contrary to core principles of American democracy." That's how two U.S. senators describe the Justice Department's refusal to release a secret legal interpretation of the Patriot Act.
NSA Surveillance: No Checks, No Balance

NSA Surveillance: No Checks, No Balance

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 1:18pm

About two weeks ago, Sens. Patrick Leahy and Chuck Grassley, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court asking questions about the court's operations in advance…

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.

A Framework for Impunity

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 6:04pm

(Originally posted on Daily Kos.)

Since 2003, the ACLU and other U.S. human rights organizations have filed dozens of cases relating to the abuse and torture of prisoners. Some of these cases seek to enforce requests under the Freedom of Information…

While U.S. Elections Loom, It's Another Day at the Kangaroo Court

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 1:00am
Right now, Guantánamo Naval Base seems very far away from the election going on in the United States. There are restrictions on what members of the military can say in uniform, so there aren't a lot of public conversations about politics. I haven't seen…

David Hicks: "Unprivileged Belligerent"?

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 1:00am
We have just come back from the Clipper Club, which is the only restaurant on the leeward side of the Base that is open after seven o'clock. We spent most of the day on the other side of the Base, meeting with military officials and attending the commission…
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…

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"…

Statistics image