About the ACLU's National Security Project

The ACLU National Security Project 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@aclu.org

STAFF

Hina Shamsi — Director
Hina Shamsi is the director of the ACLU 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.

Jonathan Hafetz — Senior Staff Attorney
Jonathan Hafetz (@JonathanHafetz) is a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Center for Democracy. He is also a professor of law at Seton Hall University School of Law, where he teaches courses on constitutional law, national security law, and international law. Mr. Hafetz works on issues involving detention, torture, surveillance, racial and religious discrimination, and the intersection of immigration and national security law. Mr. Hafetz previously worked as a senior staff attorney in the ACLU’s National Security Project, a litigation director at NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, and a John J. Gibbons fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Law at Gibbons PC. He has written books on habeas corpus and on international criminal law and authored numerous articles for academic journals and popular publications. Mr. Hafetz served previously as the chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Task Force on National Security and the Rule of Law. Mr. Hafetz served as a law clerk for the Hon. Sandra L. Lynch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and the Hon. Jed S. Rakoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He is a graduate of Amherst College, Oxford University, and Yale Law School.

Hugh Handeyside — Senior Staff Attorney
Hugh Handeyside is a staff attorney at the ACLU 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 — Senior Staff Attorney
Patrick Toomey is a senior staff attorney at the ACLU 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.

Ashley Gorski  Staff Attorney
Ashley Gorski is a staff attorney at the ACLU 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.

Brett Max Kaufman  Staff Attorney
Brett Max Kaufman is a staff attorney in the ACLU's Center for Democracy, where he works primarily on national security issues. 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. He spent two years at the national security fellow in the ACLU's National Security Project, and one year as a teaching fellow in New York University's Technology Law & Policy Clinic, where he continues to serve as an adjunct professor of law.

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.

Anna Diakun — Fellow
Anna Diakun is a National Security Fellow in the ACLU’s National Security Project, where she works on issues related to the government’s targeted killing program, surveillance, and discrimination against racial and religious minorities. She is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School. Prior to joining the ACLU, Ms. Diakun served as a law clerk to the Hon. Allyson K. Duncan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Asma Peracha — Fellow
Asma Peracha is a National Security Fellow in the ACLU’s National Security Project, where she works on issues including racial and religious discrimination and surveillance. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and NYU School of Law. She previously worked with NYU Law’s Global Justice Clinic and interned at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Noor Zafar — Fellow
Noor Zafar is the Nadine Strossen Fellow in the ACLU's National Security Project, where she works on issues including racial and religious discrimination, surveillance, and unlawful detention. She is a graduate of New York University and Harvard Law School. Prior to joining the ACLU, Noor was a Bertha Justice Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she represented detainees at Guantánamo Bay and engaged in litigation and advocacy on issues relating to surveillance, the laws of war, immigration, and religious profiling.

Molly Buckley — Paralegal
Molly Buckley is a paralegal with the ACLU's National Security Project. Molly graduated from Vassar College in 2014 with concentrations in Media Studies and Political Science. Prior to joining the ACLU, she worked in the Social Science Research Council's Anxieties of Democracy program and interned at Free Press and WNYC's On the Media. 

Courteney Leinonen — Legal Assistant
Courteney Leinonen is a legal assistant with the ACLU's National Security Project. She graduated magna cum laude (pass with merit) from the War Studies Department at King's College London where she earned a Master of Arts degree in International Relations. Prior to joining the ACLU, Courteney was an immigration legal assistant with a private law firm based in Philadelphia. Courteney has experience working and interning with U.S. and U.K. based non-profits. Courteney also holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science, Spanish, and International Studies from Indiana University-Bloomington.

Sienna Walker — Legal Assistant
Sienna Walker is a legal assistant with the ACLU’s National Security Project. Prior to joining the ACLU, Sienna worked as a paralegal case handler within the Legal Aid Society’s housing practice and as a research assistant with the Center for Court Innovation. She graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College of Columbia University in 2016 with majors in Political Science and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and a minor in Race and Ethnic Studies. During college, Sienna interned with the Vera Institute of Justice as an Arthur Liman Summer Fellow.

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