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Press Release

Barton Gellman Joins Brennan Center in Fight for American Democracy

Renowned Atlantic journalist will help Center anticipate and respond to attacks on democracy, before and after 2024 election

January 22, 2024
Contact: Kendall Karson, Media Contact,, 646-925-8746

Today journalist Barton Gellman joins the leadership team of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law as Senior Advisor. He will work with the organization’s experts to respond to the threats of abuse of power and the assault on democratic institutions that may follow the presidential election. 

Gellman’s article about the weaponization of the Justice Department is the cover story of the current Atlantic. He is stepping down as a staff writer there to join the Brennan Center. A multiple Pulitzer Prize winner, Gellman is the author most recently of Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency and Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State, both published by Penguin Random House. He is a visiting lecturer at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. 

Gellman’s prescient 2020 Atlantic cover story issued an early and influential warning of the risks that Donald Trump would seek to stay in power even if he lost. Before The Atlantic, Gellman was a Washington Post reporter. In his 21 years there, he served as a correspondent in the Middle East as well as a diplomatic, legal, and military correspondent. He anchored the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the revelations of Edward Snowden. Previously he was awarded Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting on Vice President Cheney and as part of the team covering the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Gellman served as a fellow at the Brennan Center a decade ago.

In his new role at the Brennan Center, Gellman will collaborate with Brennan Center experts on strategy for the pre- and post-election period, including public strategies to anticipate, prevent, and address autocratic initiatives in the next presidential administration. The Center is a leading national voice on democracy issues including election integrity, safeguarding election officials, voting rights, and presidential emergency powers, among other topics.

Michael Waldman, President and CEO of the Brennan Center, said: “We are in a great fight for the future of American democracy. We are so grateful that Bart Gellman is joining our work at this critical moment. He is one of the nation’s most eminent journalists, and has been a pioneer in sounding alarms about the threats to our democracy. We will benefit enormously from his insight and skill. We appreciate his joining the fight in this new way. We look forward to working with him.”

About Barton Gellman

Barton Gellman, formerly a staff writer at The Atlantic, is the author most recently of Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State and the bestselling Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency. He has held positions as senior fellow at The Century Foundation, Lecturer at Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs and visiting research collaborator at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy. 

Before joining The Atlantic, Gellman spent 21 years at The Washington Post, where he served tours as legal, diplomatic, military and Middle East correspondent. 

Gellman anchored the team that won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for coverage of the National Security Agency and Edward Snowden. He was previously awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for a series on Vice President Dick Cheney. In 2002, he was a member of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for coverage of the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath. Other professional honors include two George Polk Awards, two Overseas Press Club awards, two Emmy awards for a PBS Frontline documentary, Harvard’s Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. 

Gellman graduated with highest honors from Princeton University and earned a master’s degree in politics at University College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar. He lives in New York City.