Timothy Edgar

Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs
111 Thayer Street, Room 224
Areas of Expertise Cybersecurity, International Institutions, US Foreign Policy
Areas of Interest Cybersecurity, privacy and civil liberties, intelligence, open government and information sharing, U.S. national security policy process, congressional process


Timothy H. Edgar is a former national security and intelligence official, cybersecurity expert, privacy lawyer and civil liberties activist. Edgar joined the American Civil Liberties Union shortly before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  He left the ACLU to try to make a difference by going inside America’s growing surveillance state – a story he tells in "Beyond Snowden: Privacy, Mass Surveillance and the Struggle to Reform the NSA," winner of the 2018 Chicago-Kent College of Law/Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize.

In 2006, Edgar became the intelligence community’s first deputy for civil liberties, advising the director of national intelligence during the George W. Bush administration. In 2009, after President Barack Obama announced the creation of a new National Security Council position “specifically dedicated to safeguarding the privacy and civil liberties of the American people,” Edgar moved to the White House, where he advised Obama on privacy issues in cybersecurity policy.

In 2013, Edgar left government for Brown University to help launch its professional cybersecurity degree program and he is now a senior fellow at Brown’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. Edgar also works to help companies navigate cybersecurity problems and is on the advisory board of Virtru, which offers simple encryption software for businesses and individuals.

Edgar is a contributing editor to “Lawfare: Hard National Security Choices,” published in partnership with the Brookings Institution.  Edgar has been profiled by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour and his work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the GuardianForeign Affairs, and Wired.  Edgar was a law clerk to Judge Sandra Lynch, United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Dartmouth College.

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