APPLETON, WIS. — During times of crisis throughout America’s history, in order to protect its citizens the government has had to weigh the benefits of national security against the potential harms to liberty, including the use of coercion in interrogation and extended detention. Since the global war on terror was launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, that “balancing debate” between security and freedom has taken on heightened importance.
Juliette Kayyem, an expert on national security strategy, will provide a historical and legal context to that debate and suggest ways to think about how American democracy might enhance both security and liberty in the years to come Tuesday, Feb. 6 in a Lawrence University convocation.
Kayyem presents “Preserving Liberty in an Age of Terror” at 11:10 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. She also will conduct a question-and-answer session at 2 p.m. in Riverview Lounge of the Lawrence Memorial Union. Both events are free and open to the public.
The only Arab-American to hold a state-level homeland security position and one of the few women in the national security world, Kayyem was appointed Massachusetts’ Undersecretary of Homeland Security Jan. 10 by Gov. Deval Patrick. She assumed her duties Jan. 22 in the newly created position, where she will be responsible for coordinating all aspects of Massachusetts’ Statewide Homeland Security Strategy.
Prior to her state appointment, Kayyem had served as a resident scholar at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where she taught courses on law, homeland security and national security.
A specialist in the intersection of democracy and counter-terrorism policies, Kayyem was the only woman to serve on the National Commission on Terrorism, a congressionally mandated review of how the government could better prepare for the growing terrorist threat. Chaired by L. Paul Bremer, the commission warned in 2000 that the terrorist threat was real and likely to succeed in America.
She is the co-author of the 2005 book, “Protecting Liberty in an Age of Terror,” which examines some of the most difficult legal and ethical challenges posed by the fight against terrorism. In the book, Kayyem stresses the need for clear rules to be drawn so that government conduct both protects the innocent from unreasonable government intrusion and prevents government agents from being made scapegoats after the fact if things go wrong.
Kayyem also served as co-editor of the book “First to Arrive: State and Local Response to Terrorism,” a 2003 collection of essays from first responders, political scientists and historians. The essays examine the operational needs of state and local governments in an age of terrorism and offer practical solutions to the challenges of local and state domestic preparedness.
A contributor to the pages of the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor and the Washington Post on issues of counterterrorism law and domestic preparedness, Kayyem has appeared as a national security expert for several major news organizations, including National Public Radio, CNN and MSNBC.
Before serving on the National Commission on Terrorism, Kayyem worked as a legal advisor to then Attorney General Janet Reno, assisting with a variety of national security and terrorism cases, including overseeing the government’s review of its classification procedures regarding secret evidence.
She began her legal career as a civil rights trial attorney, litigating cases on behalf of the U.S. Justice Department and also worked on death penalty appeals cases on behalf of Alabama death row inmates. Before going to law school, Kayyem worked as a journalist in South Africa.
A 1995 graduate of Harvard Law School, Kayyem was named a “Hero for our Times” in 2002 by the Boston Phoenix.