I left D.C. in 2015. During my time there, my areas of expertise were: Election Law, Constitutional Law, National Security, and Civil Liberties. My education focused on Russia and U.S. Law. I practiced in election contests and daily worked at the intersection of national security and civil liberties. As the senior career civil liberties official at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, I participated in pandemic exercises (which was a priority of the George W. Bush Administration). For many of the big issues that made the headlines before I left, I was one of the people in the room advising or deciding responses.
With 2020 coming to a close, I reflect on the enormity of the nonsense that I’ve read concerning national/international issues. I have been shocked at the falsehoods, wishful thinking, and conspiracy theories that have been peddled – sometimes by people I consider friends or colleagues. Truth be told, the source of the vast majority of these has been from the Right or “Republicans” so called. “Whataboutism” is a game that can not be played when the depth and volume of sophistry is so lopsided. Many times I have been tempted to draft a response to the nonsense but realized that each issue must be treated with complexity to do so accurately, and that this would result in a TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) product for those who needed to read it most; and, as one former Trump Administration official told me, I would be disregarded as a member of the fictitious “Deep State.” So for the most part I refrained.
There is more to life, and may each of us find what that is for us in 2021.
May the New Year bring blessings to you in abundance.
Timothy J. Keefer
Timothy J. Keefer is an attorney licensed in the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia. He graduated with a J.D. magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, Law Review, from The Washington & Lee University School of Law, and with a B.A. magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, in Russian Area Studies from The State University of New York at Buffalo. He has been a professor of National Security Law, and Public Policy. He was a key attorney for the Bush/Cheney 2000 campaign in the case of Bush v. Gore while with the law firm of Covington & Burling. He has provided direct legal and policy advice to three Cabinet Secretaries, over 20 federal judges, and many senior government officials on major constitutional, statutory, policy, and ethical issues. He was an appointee of the President George W. Bush Administration. He was a senior career official of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security 2003-2009. He was a professional in the intelligence community and participated in providing intelligence support in-country to operational units, and in Washington, D.C. to senior military leaders, for the first Gulf War. He is a U.S. Navy veteran.