Faiza Patel

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Faiza Patel serves as co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program, which seeks to ensure that our counterterrorism laws and policies respect constitutional values and promotes transparency and accountability in national security matters. She has testified before Congress opposing the dragnet surveillance of Muslims, developed legislation creating an independent Inspector General for the NYPD, and organized advocacy efforts against anti-Muslim laws and policies. She has authored and co-authored eight reports: Extreme Vetting and the Muslim Ban (2017), Trump-Russia Investigations: A Guide (2017); The Islamophobic Administration (2017); Countering Violent Extremism (2017), Overseas Surveillance in an Interconnected World (2016), What Went Wrong with the FISA Court (2015), Foreign Law Bans (2013), A Proposal for an NYPD Inspector General (2012), and Rethinking Radicalization (2011). Ms. Patel’s writing has been featured in major newspapers including The New York Times and The Washington Post, and she is a frequent commentator on national security and counterterrorism issues for print, televisions, and radio outlets. She is a member of the Board of Editors of the legal blog Just Security. Born and raised in Pakistan, Ms. Patel is a graduate of Harvard College and the NYU School of Law.

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Justice Department

Recreating Old Loopholes: Thoughts on the Revised Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement

Earlier this month, the Justice Department issued revised Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies on the Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation, or Gender Identity. The prior version---issued in June 2003---didn’t cover profiling on the basis of religion or national origin, and exempted national security and border investigations altogether.


A Primer on Legal Developments Regarding Private Military Contractors

Recent events again have raised the issue of accountability for alleged human rights violations by Blackwater, the most notorious of the private contractors deployed by the United States in the Iraq war. On June 11, trial finally got underway of four Blackwater guards accused of shooting indiscriminately into traffic in Nisour Square in Baghdad, in 2007---and killing 17 civilians.


A Snag in the Destruction of Syria's Chemical Weapons?

After months of good news, the mission to wipe out Syria’s chemical arsenal may have run into trouble. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is charged with ensuring disposal of the weapons, met last week to figure out what to do about a process that the U.S. Ambassador described as “languished and stalled.”  There isn't much time.

The process got off to a good start, as both the U.N.

International Law

Syria, the Security Council, and the Chemical Weapons Convention: a Reply to Jens Iverson

In his response earlier this week, Jens Iverson correctly points out that the Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits states parties from “retain[ing]” chemical weapons.  And states do, of course, keep their stockpiles (after inventory and sealing by the Organization for the Prohibition on Chemical Weapons, or "OPCW") until they are destroyed. But a close reading of the treaty shows that “retain” clearly refers to retention after the authorized period.


Does the U.N.’s Syria Resolution Violate the Chemical Weapons Convention?

As inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons begin their inspections in Syria, they could find themselves on a collision course with the United Nations Security Council resolution that put them there in the first place.

Created in 1997, the OPCW’s job is to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention, a treaty that requires all countries that join to eliminate their chemical weapons stocks and related facilities. Syria is the 190th country to join the treaty; the 189th was Somalia in June.