Brett Max Kaufman

Brett Max Kaufman is a staff attorney in the ACLU's Center for Democracy, where he works primarily on national security issues.

Articles by this author

As critics warned could happen, President Trump quickly lifted many of the late-Obama-era limits while ramping up the government’s use of lethal drones abroad and reportedly putting the CIA back in the drone business.(Photo: Think Defense/Flickr) Views
Friday, September 21, 2018
Trump Is Unshackling America's Drones Thanks to Obama's Weakness
The piece was originally published by The Guardian . For more than a decade, the worst-kept secret in the world has been the fact that the Central Intelligence Agency owns and operates lethal drones outside of recognized battlefields abroad. Newspapers blare it from their headlines . Legislators...
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"In the Cohen case, because the government obtained a warrant for some of the seized material, the Trump–Cohen proposal to have a “first cut” of what the government has seized would seem to be an end-run around what a court already authorized." (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty) Views
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Who Should Review Michael Cohen’s Files Under the Fourth Amendment?
Since the search last week of the office, home, hotel room, and safe deposit box of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, lots of lawyers have been squaring off about an important legal issue that rarely gets banner-headline billing: How does the government, armed with a warrant for a...
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 "The federal district court in Washington, D.C., will address whether the executive branch can use its elastic and open-ended assertion of wartime authority to imprison indefinitely an American citizen with no connection to 9/11." (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Russell Bassett) Views
Monday, February 12, 2018
Why The U.S. War On ISIS Is Illegal
The United States’ war with al-Qaida has gone on so long, and has metastasized into so many different uses of U.S. armed forces around the globe, that it may be surprising to learn that the federal courts have only addressed the legality of a very small piece of it. After the 9/11 attacks, Congress...
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Tuesday, June 13, 2017
The US Intelligence Community Can Share Your Personal Information With Other Governments, and We’re Demanding Answers
While the ACLU’s focus on foreign intelligence surveillance typically centers on the U.S. government’s National Security Agency, intelligence collection actually operates on a global scale. Our government is just one branch of an international network of intelligence services that coordinate their...
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A FOIA request Views
Sunday, January 22, 2017
In First of Many, ACLU FOIA Request Seeks Information About the New President’s Conflicts of Interests
During the Trump administration, our country faces an unprecedented constellation of threats to the regular oversight processes that keep the powers that be in check. Faced with attacks on journalists critical of the president as perpetrators of “fake news,” an era of one-party rule threatening...
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Tuesday, August 09, 2016
Details Abound in Drone ‘Playbook’ — Except for the Ones That Really Matter Most
In response to a court order in an ACLU lawsuit, the government late Friday evening (as is its wont ) released five documents relating to its process for nominating terrorism suspects for kill or capture. Most notable was the " Presidential Policy Guidance ," a document particularly central to the...
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Saturday, July 02, 2016
President Obama’s New, Long-Promised Drone “Transparency” Is Not Nearly Enough
The Obama administration released a summary Friday of the numbers of “non-combatants” it has killed outside actual war zones primarily through targeted killing strikes, as well as a new executive order aimed at creating new transparency and accountability rules for such strikes. Unfortunately, both...
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Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Federal Court Preserves Secrecy Over Targeted Killing Memos
A disappointing ruling released on Monday will keep crucial details about the government’s targeted killing program shielded from public review. It was just more than a year ago that a federal appeals court, in a widely hailed decision , ordered the government to — finally — release a July 2010...
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Friday, October 16, 2015
The Intercept’s Drone Papers Shed New Light on Targeted Killing
It’s October 16. Is Christmas “imminent”? According to an extraordinary series of new reports about the United States’ targeted-killing program from The Intercept, the government seems to think so. In May 2013, President Obama announced that he had issued a classified document, known as a...
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