Joel F. Brenner specializes in cyber and physical security, data protection and privacy, intelligence law, the administration of classified information and facilities, and the regulation of sensitive cross-border transactions. He has represented companies and individuals in a wide variety of transactions and proceedings including sensitive foreign acquisitions involving the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), the law governing network operations, the liability of foreign governments, export controls, and internal corporate and government investigations. He has years of experience inside and outside government involving national and homeland security.
Joel was Senior Counsel at the National Security Agency, advising Agency leadership on the public-private effort to create better security for the Internet. From 2006 until mid-2009, he was the head of U.S. counterintelligence under the Director of National Intelligence and was responsible for integrating the counterintelligence activities of the 17 departments and agencies with intelligence authorities, including the FBI and CIA and elements of the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security. From 2002 – 2006, Joel was NSA’s Inspector General, responsible for that agency’s top-secret internal audits and investigations. He has also served as a prosecutor in the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and has extensive trial and arbitration experience in private practice.
In addition to his practice, Joel is a Senior Research Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he divides his time between the Center for International Studies and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab. At MIT he works on protecting critical infrastructure networks and on intelligence and security issues. He is particularly interested in intelligence collection, privacy, and secrecy as emerging issues in international relations and in the potential for curbing state-sponsored theft of intellectual property.
Mr. Brenner holds a JD from the Harvard Law School, a PhD from the London School of Economics, and a BA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
He is a member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law & National Security. He has written about intelligence oversight and Presidential authority to suspend or prohibit foreign takeovers of U.S. firms, and is often quoted in the national media on data security, privacy, and intelligence issues. Mr. Brenner was awarded the Intelligence Community Achievement Medal in July 2009.
Mr. Brenner is the author of AMERICA THE VULNERABLE: INSIDE THE NEW THREAT MATRIX OF DIGITAL ESPIONAGE, CRIME AND WARFARE (Penguin Press, 2011), now available in paperback as GLASS HOUSES: PRIVACY, SECRECY, AND CYBER INSECURITY IN A TRANSPARENT WORLD (Penguin Press, 2013)
Mr. Brenner is admitted to practice in Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland, and New York.