Where do we stand in the “war on terror”? Has President Barack Obama institutionalized and legitimated aspects of his predecessor’s approach, or has he made significant changes? Two leading human-rights lawyers, David Cole and Jameel Jaffer, offer contrasting views of the Obama administration's human rights record in fighting terrorism thus far, and they reflect on the effectiveness of organizations such as the ACLU and Human Rights Watch in curbing the worst abuses. The panelists, both Open Society Fellows, touch on such issues as Guantanamo, rendition, government secrecy and accountability for past abuses, drone warfare, and targeted assassinations.
David Cole is a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and serves as the legal affairs correspondent for The Nation. As an Open Society Fellow, he is writing a book that explores the effectiveness of civil society organizations in holding the U.S. government accountable for abuses following the September 11 attacks.
Jameel Jaffer directs the American Civil Liberties Union’s Center for Democracy. As an Open Society Fellow, he is writing a book on the transformation of official secrecy and individual privacy in the United States since 9/11.
Charlie Savage of the New York Times moderates. A recipient of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, Savage is the author of Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy.