Anna Diakun is a staff attorney at the Knight First Amendment Institute. Her litigation focuses on government transparency and government surveillance of speech at the border.

Diakun is leading the effort by the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Knight Institute to secure the release of records concerning government surveillance of journalists. She is also part of the team seeking the disclosure of secret Office of Legal Counsel opinions issued at least 25 years ago on behalf of several scholars, the Campaign for Accountability, and the Knight Institute. Additionally, Diakun is on the Knight Institute’s litigation team in Doc Society v. Pompeo, challenging the government’s mass collection and indefinite retention of visa applicants’ social media identifiers.

Prior to joining the Institute, Diakun was a fellow with the National Security Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, where she worked on issues related to the government’s use of lethal force abroad, military detention, surveillance, and discrimination against racial and religious minorities. Her work included a challenge to the unlawful detention of an American by the U.S. military abroad in Doe v. Mattis, which resulted in his release from custody.

She has been quoted or published in Newsweek, Politico, The Daily Beast, The Intercept, Defense One, USA Today, and the ACLU’s Speak Freely Blog, and has contributed chapters about U.S. lethal drone policy to two publications edited by international nongovernmental organizations.

Diakun holds a B.A. in Political Science from Yale College, an M.A. in International Relations and European Studies from Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. During law school, she served as a Student Director of the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic and as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. Following law school, she served as a law clerk for the Hon. Allyson K. Duncan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Selected writings and appearances

United States Targeted Killing Litigation Report, with Brett Max Kaufman, Litigating Drone Strikes: Challenging the Global Network of Remote Killing, European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (May 2017)