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Paperback | $20.00 Short | £13.95 | ISBN: 9780262582575 | 160 pp. | 6.25 x 9.25 in | September 2005

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Protecting Liberty in an Age of Terror


Since September 11, 2001, much has been said about the difficult balancing act between freedom and security, but few have made specific proposals for how to strike that balance. As the scandals over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib and the "torture memos" written by legal officials in the Bush administration show, without clear rules in place, things can very easily go very wrong.

With this challenge in mind, Philip Heymann and Juliette Kayyem, directors of Harvard's Long-Term Legal Strategy Project for Preserving Security and Democratic Freedoms in the War on Terrorism, take a detailed look at how to handle these competing concerns. Taking into account both the national security viewpoint and the democratic freedoms viewpoint, Heymann and Kayyem consulted experts from across the political spectrum—including Rand Beers, Robert McNamara, and Michael Chertoff (since named Secretary of Homeland Security)—about the thorniest and most profound legal challenges of this new era. Heymann and Kayyem offer specific recommendations for dealing with such questions as whether assassination is ever acceptable, when coercion can be used in interrogation, and when detention is allowable. They emphasize that drawing clear rules to guide government conduct protects the innocent from unreasonable government intrusion and prevents government agents from being made scapegoats later if things go wrong. Their recommendations will be of great interest to legal scholars, legislators, policy professionals, and concerned citizens.

About the Authors

Philip B. Heymann is James Barr Ames Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and a former Deputy Attorney General of the United States. He is author of Terrorism, Freedom, and Security (2003) and Preserving Liberty in an Age of Terror (2005), both published by the MIT Press.

Juliette Kayyem is Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government; former Member of the National Commission on Terrorism; and former Legal Adviser to the Attorney General.


"As executive branch officials, members of Congress, and judges continue to develop rules for defending out security, they can profit from Heymann and Kayyem's guidance on the equally urgent task of protecting our liberty."—The Wilson Quarterly

"In a poisonous atmosphere where worthy debates over the Patriot Act and domestic surveillance are marred by risible analogies to the worst excesses of Watergate, a thoughtful book by tow former high-ranking Clinton Justice Department officials is a breath of fresh air. . . . Heymann and Kayyem perform an exceptional service: a responsible starting point for a new paradigm in a new kind of war."—The New York Post


"The terrorist attacks of 9/11 have been analyzed at great length, as have the deficiencies in America's defenses that led to these horrific acts. Now, for the first time, two of America's top experts on constitutional law and national security—Philip Heymann and Juliette Kayyem—have provided a comprehensive framework with which America's policymakers can meet the challenges posed by the terrorist mind in a way that respects rather than undermines the true foundations of liberty. Current and future policymakers ignore this blueprint at our peril."
Bob Barr, member of the U.S. House of Representatives 1995-2003, 21st Century Liberties Chair for Freedom and Privacy at the American Conservative Union

"Since September 11, many have talked about the difficult tradeoffs between liberty and security, but few have seriously considered how to manage them. In this book, Heymann and Kayyem confront these tradeoffs head-on in the context of addressing the ten most difficult legal challenges presented by the war on terrorism. One need not agree with every detail of their analysis or proposals to appreciate that this book is the most thoughtful, balanced, and comprehensive analysis of these hard legal issues available anywhere."
Jack Landman Goldsmith, Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

"In fighting the war on terror, we cannot abandon the legal and moral principles that have made us a great nation. Harvard's Phil Heymann and Juliette Kayyem, who have direct experience in fighting terrorism, have produced this extraordinarily thoughtful work containing many specific measures that would not only enhance our ability to fight terrorism but also preserve our essential liberties. It should be read by the President and Congress, who should then move quickly to adopt as many of its suggestions as possible."
Jeffrey H. Smith, former General Counsel of the CIA and Senior Partner with the Washington, D.C., law firm of Arnold & Porter