Jamil Jaffer


Jamil N. Jaffer was a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Jaffer is currently Vice President for Strategy & Business Development at IronNet Cybersecurity, a startup technology firm founded by former National Security Agency (NSA) Director Gen. Keith Alexander (ret.) and former National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) Director Matt Olsen. Jamil also currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law and Director of the Homeland and National Security Law Program at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, where he teaches classes on counterterrorism, intelligence, surveillance, cybersecurity, and other national security matters. Jamil was previously a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution (2016-17). He serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Intelligence Policy and the Board of Advisors for the Concordia Summit, is a Fellow of the Academy for Judaic, Christian and Islamic Studies, and is affiliated with Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC).

Jamil most recently served as the Chief Counsel and Senior Advisor for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), where he worked on key national security and foreign policy issues, including leading the drafting of the proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIS in 2014 and 2015, the AUMF against Syria in 2013, and revisions to the 9/11 AUMF against al Qaeda. Jamil was also the lead architect of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) and two sanctions laws against Russia for its intervention in Ukraine.

Prior to joining SFRC, Jamil served as Senior Counsel to the House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) where he led the committee’s oversight of NSA surveillance, NRO, and NGA matters, as well as intelligence community-wide counterterrorism matters. Jamil was also the lead architect of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), the initial version of the cybersecurity legislation recently signed into law.

In the Bush Administration, Jamil served in the White House as an Associate Counsel to the President, handling Defense Department, State Department, and Intelligence Community matters. In that capacity, Jamil also served as one of the White House Counsel’s primary representatives to the National Security Council Deputies Committee.

Prior to the White House, Jamil served in the Justice Department as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, where he focused on counterterrorism and intelligence matters. At the National Security Division, Jamil was one of the primary brief writers on In re: Directives, the first ever two-party litigated matter in the FISA Court and only the second case before the FISA Court of Review in its 30-year history. Jamil also led the National Security Division’s efforts on the President’s Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI), including the drafting of NSPD-54/HSPD-23, and related classified matters. For his work on these matters, Jamil was awarded the Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Special Initiative and was among the group of lawyers awarded the Director of National Intelligence’s 2008 Legal Award (Team of the Year – Cyber Legal).

Jamil also served in other positions in the Justice Department, including in the Office of Legal Policy, where he worked on the confirmations of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. to the United States Supreme Court. Jamil also served as a lawyer in private practice at Kellogg Huber, a Washington, DC-based litigation boutique, as a law clerk to Judges Edith H. Jones and Neil M. Gorsuch of the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and Tenth Circuits, respectively, as a policy advisor to Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and as a staff member or senior advisor on a number of political campaigns, including two presidential campaigns and a presidential transition team. While in law school, Jamil was a member of the University of Chicago Law Review, managing editor of the Chicago Journal of International Law, and National Symposium Editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy.

Jamil has published multiple op-eds and academic articles on foreign policy, counterterrorism, cybersecurity, encryption, and intelligence matters, and is the co-author of a recent book chapter with former CIA Director Gen. Mike Hayden on ISIS, al Qaeda, and other international terrorist groups in CHOOSING TO LEAD: AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY FOR A DISORDERED WORLD (2015), a book chapter on surveillance in the ABA’s LAW OF COUNTERTERRORISM (2011), and two recent op-eds on counterterrorism matters in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post with former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey.

Jamil has previously taught graduate-level courses in intelligence law and policy at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and at the National Intelligence University. Jamil has also testified before committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and other national security matters and has recently appeared on national television, National Public Radio, and in various print and online publications on a range of national security matters including counterterrorism, surveillance, encryption, cybersecurity, and foreign policy issues.

Jamil holds degrees from UCLA (B.A., cum laude), the University of Chicago Law School (J.D., with honors), and the United States Naval War College (M.A., with distinction).

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Recent Commentary


Jamil Jaffer: Protecting Elections From Interference

interview with Jamil Jaffervia Bloomberg
Monday, August 12, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Jamil Jaffer discusses election security including vote manipulation, as well as overt and covert influence via social media.

Analysis and Commentary

What NotPetya Tells Us About The New Era Of Cyber Warfare Two Years Later

by Jamil Jaffervia Homeland Security Today
Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Last month’s two-year anniversary of the NotPetya cyber attack provides a unique opportunity to assess some of the key strategic lessons learned from the attack and what might be done on a national level to address the threat of similar attacks going forward. Perhaps the most distinctive outcome of the NotPetya attack was the sheer scale of the economic damage it caused worldwide – estimated to be over $10 billion – and the fact that the damage was borne not by intended targets of the attack, but rather by a series of private-sector companies largely unconnected to Ukraine.

In the News

DoD, NATO Turn To Collective Defense Against Cyber Attacks

quoting Jamil Jaffervia Federal News Network
Friday, June 28, 2019

Since 2004, the Defense Department has been a part of an international Computer Emergency Response Team through NATO.


Jamil Jaffer: DoD, NATO Turn To Collective Defense Against Cyber Attacks

interview with Jamil Jaffervia Federal News Network
Friday, June 28, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Jamil Jaffer discusses creating an international sharing environment to prevent and stop cyber-threats that the US government and its allies face, which would help protect everyone from cyber-threats.


Jamil Jaffer Chats About The Value Of Sharing Threat Intelligence For Better Cybersecurity

interview with Jamil Jaffervia TechSpective
Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Jamil Jaffer discusses the value of sharing threat intelligence and the challenges organizations face when it comes to cooperating with others on threat intelligence.


Jamil Jaffer: Iran Is Trying To Push Back On Us Economic Pressure

interview with Jamil Jaffervia Yahoo Finance
Friday, June 14, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Jamil Jaffer discusses the rising US-Iranian tensions and how oil prices are being affected by Iran’s alleged attack on two oil tankers near the Persian Gulf.


Jamil Jaffer, IronNet | AWS Public Sector Summit 2019

interview with Jamil Jaffervia SiliconANGLE theCUBE
Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Jamil Jaffer discusses cyber-security and a collective defense via cloud infrastructure. 


John Yoo And Jamil Jaffer Says The US Needs To Be On The Offensive With Russia And China

interview with John Yoo, Jamil Jaffervia Fox News
Saturday, June 8, 2019

Hoover Institution fellows John Yoo and Jamil Jaffer weigh in on rising tensions between the US and Russia, and US and China. Yoo says the US needs to be on the offensive with Russia and China.


Jamil Jaffer: Do Anti-Trump Text Messages Between Peter Strzok And Lisa Page Rise To The Level Of Treason?

interview with Jamil Jaffervia Yahoo! News
Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Jamil Jaffer discusses Rep. Liz Cheney's comment that the Strzok-Page texts sound 'like a coup.'


Sri Lanka Bombings Were 'Highly Sophisticated' Attack, Jamil Jaffer Says

interview with Jamil Jaffervia Bloomberg
Sunday, April 21, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Jamil Jaffer talks about the deadly bombings in Sri Lanka, where more than 200 people -- including as many as 30 foreigners -- were killed in a series of coordinated explosions on Easter Sunday at churches and luxury hotels across the country.