Watson Institute
Timothy Edgar

Timothy Edgar

+1 401 863 9768

Timothy Edgar

Visiting Fellow in International Studies


Timothy H. Edgar is a visiting fellow at the Institute and adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center. 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.

Mr. Edgar served under President Obama 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. He has also been 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, 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 contributions to Patriot Debates (American Bar Association 2005), America's Battle Against Terrorism (with Nadine Strossen) (Greenhaven Press 2005) and Women Immigrants in the United States (Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars 2002), and Constitutional Governance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 25 Texas International Law Journal 207-237 (with Michael D. Nicoleau) (Spring 2000).

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

The Good News About Spying (by Timothy Edgar)

April 14, 2015 Foreign Affairs

Timothy Edgar, visiting professor at the Watson Institute, explains that despite citizens' disapproval of the United States' surveillance programs, President Barack Obama has done much to protect civil liberties by way of transparency reforms.


Fishing Expedition (by Timothy Edgar)

March 2, 2015 Lawfare Blog

Visting Fellow Timothy Edgar in Lawfare: "It may be tempting for lawmakers to avoid hard decisions by extending the provision unchanged and letting the courts resolve the issue."