Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Timothy Edgar ─ Out of the Shadows: Reforming NSA Surveillance

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

4 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum

Reception to follow.

Watch webcast

For decades, the NSA has followed rules to protect against “spying on Americans,” but the rules are out of date. Our communications, personal lives and national security threats are all global. In the twenty first century, the only way to protect our privacy as Americans is to do a better job of protecting everyone’s privacy. Timothy H. Edgar was the first privacy lawyer on Obama’s White House National Security Staff. In this public lecture, he explains both why and how we can do this, without sacrificing the vital intelligence capabilities we need to keep ourselves and our allies safe.

Timothy H. Edgar is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and serves as the academic director for law and policy in Brown's new Executive Master of Cybersecurity program. His work focuses on the unique policy challenges posed by growing global cyber conflict, particularly in reconciling security interests with fundamental values, including privacy and Internet freedom. He is also a contributing editor to "Lawfare: Hard National Security Choices," published in cooperation with the Brookings Institution.

Mr. Edgar served under President Obama from 2009 to 2010 as the first director of privacy and civil liberties for the White House National Security Staff, focusing on cybersecurity, open government, and data privacy initiatives. From 2006 to 2009, he was the first deputy for civil liberties for the director of national intelligence, reviewing new surveillance authorities, the terrorist watchlist, and other sensitive programs. From 2010 to 2012, he was counsel for the information sharing environment, which facilitates the secure sharing of terrorism-related information.

Prior to his government service, Mr. Edgar was the national security and immigration counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union from 2001 to 2006, where he spearheaded the organization's innovative left- right coalition advocating for safeguards for a number of post-9/11 counterterrorism initiatives, including the USA Patriot Act. He frequently testified before Congress and appeared in major television, radio, and print media.