When Tim Edgar told his ACLU colleagues in early 2006 that he’d be leaving the organization to join the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, our reactions ranged from mute astonishment to outright dismay. It’s not at all uncommon for ACLU lawyers to go work in government. But to join the intelligence community during the Bush administration – the same gang that had brought us warrantless wiretapping, extraordinary rendition, and abusive watchlists – was really climbing into the belly of the beast.
Ben Wizner is the director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. For nearly 15 years, he has worked at the intersection of civil liberties and national security, litigating numerous cases involving airport security policies, government watch lists, surveillance practices, targeted killing, and torture. He appears regularly in the global media, has testified before Congress, and is an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law. Since July of 2013, he has been the principal legal advisor to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Ben is a graduate of Harvard College and New York University School of Law and was a law clerk to the Hon. Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
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