Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Timothy Edgar

Timothy Edgar

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Timothy Edgar

Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs


Timothy H. Edgar is a senior fellow at the Institute and serves as Academic Director for Law and Policy in Brown’s Executive Master in Cybersecurity program. His work focuses on the unique policy challenges posed by growing global cyber conflict.  Mr. Edgar is the author of Beyond Snowden: Privacy, Mass Surveillance and the Struggle to Reform the NSA (forthcoming 2017) and is 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.

Publications include “The Good News About Spying: Obama, the NSA and the Future of Intelligence,” Foreign Affairs (April 13, 2015), “Obama’s Former Privacy Director Decries America’s Data Security,” Wired (Jan. 21, 2015), “Big Transparency for the NSA” (op-ed), Wall Street Journal (Aug. 1, 2013), and a chapter in The ABA Cybersecurity Handbook (Rhodes and Polley, eds., American Bar Association 2013).

Mr. Edgar was a law clerk to Judge Sandra Lynch, United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He has a JD from Harvard Law School, where he served on the Harvard Law Review, and an AB from Dartmouth College.

News|Recent News

Michael Flynn May Want to Call the ACLU (written by Timothy Edgar)

February 16, 2017 Lawfare Blog

Timothy Edgar in Lawfare Blog, "Whether we approve of the motive or not, it is an abuse of surveillance for national security officials to leverage legitimate foreign intelligence collection to reveal public information in order to damage individuals they do not believe should serve."