Deputy legal director, American Civil Liberties Union
Gadfly: Mr. Jaffer uses U.S. courts to pry open state secrets. The senior ACLU lawyer and his team have forced the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to reveal precisely how it has fought the war on terrorism – facts that forced Washington to curb CIA practices.
Drawn to justice: Born to Ismaili Muslim parents who immigrated from Tanzania, Mr. Jaffer studied at Upper Canada College and Harvard Law School. He moved to New York in 2001 with aspirations of becoming a corporate lawyer. Before long, he found himself working pro bono for Muslim immigrants rounded up in security sweeps.
His 2011 moment: Important ACLU-driven rulings are due early in the new year – on the warrantless-wiretapping surveillance program and the CIA’s destruction of videotapes showing water-boarding interrogations of al-Qaeda suspects.