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.
July 2, 2014
Timothy Edgar, visiting fellow at the Watson Institute, comments on the disclosure of a classified 2010 legal certification and other documents that indicate the NSA has been given a far more elastic authority than previously known.
June 27, 2014
Writing on the influential national security law blog Lawfare and the new tech news blog Re/code, Visiting Fellow Timothy Edgar comments on the Supreme Court's decision in Riley v. California, requiring warrants for searches of cell phones incident to arrest.
June 6, 2014
Following a recent visit to the British Parliament, Timothy Edgar, visiting fellow at the Watson Institute, told Bradley Campbell from PRI's The World he was surprised at how little has been done in the UK about surveillance reforms.
May 15, 2014
Watson Visiting Fellow Timothy Edgar talks to Forbes about reform in the NSA: “I think it would be naive to assume we are going to limit intelligence collection to only international security threats.”
May 9, 2014
Watson Visiting Scholar Timothy Edgar tells the New York Times that restricting government officials’ rights to cite news reports with unauthorized disclosures keeps them out of the conversation.
March 12, 2014
Timothy Edgar, visiting fellow at the Watson Institute, comments on the “Raw Take” order, which was enacted after Sept. 11 to weaken restrictions on sharing private information about Americans in order to lower various bureaucratic barriers that impeded counterterrorism specialists across the government from working together. “Without the ability to have a small group of people that would be able to share intelligence at an earlier stage, at a raw stage,” Edgar said, “it was hard to cooperate at a more technical level.”
January 17, 2014
Visiting Scholar Timothy Edgar suggests that "Obama should make clear that spying on foreigners is not without limit. Privacy shouldn't be limited just to Americans."