Ehsan Zaffar


Senior Advisor, Office for Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, Department of Homeland Security






Ehsan Zaffar serves as a Senior Advisor at the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the Department of Homeland Security in Washington D.C. where he advises the Secretary of Homeland Security and DHS components on the civil rights and civil liberties implications of existing and proposed national security policies, programs, and procedures.  Mr. Zaffar works with young adults and diverse communities throughout the country to promote resilience against bigotry, intolerance and extremism in the wake of homeland security incidents. Mr. Zaffar also leads the Department’s efforts to implement UNHRC Resolution 16/18 to combat intolerance and violence against persons on the basis of religion or belief. 

He is a member of the faculties of Washington College of Law at American University, John Marshall Law School, George Mason University, and George Washington University. He teaches courses on homeland security policy, as well as privacy and surveillance law and has lectured to audiences on these issues in Spain, Greece, Indonesia, Norway, Dubai, Italy and Pakistan. Prior to government service, Mr. Zaffar worked on human rights and rule of law issues in post-disaster and post-conflict environments both domestically and abroad. Mr. Zaffar earned his JD in 2008 from Pepperdine University School of Law where he also completed his Certificate in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute.

He is licensed to practice law in California and the District of Columbia and is a panel mediator on national security and civil rights matters with the Agency for Dispute Resolution. He serves on the board of directors at Developments in Literacy (DIL), a non-profit organization that develops teacher training tools for women in South and Southeast Asia as well as the Amani Institute, a social entrepreneurship curriculum training institute in Kenya. He has previously served as a liaison to the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Standing Committee on National Security Law and as Vice-Chair of the ABA’s Section of International Law (Asia/Pacific Committee).

Mr. Zaffar’s writing has appeared on, Slate, and The Huffington Post. His book Understanding Homeland Security: Foundations of Security Policy will be published in fall 2017 by Routledge Press.