Dafna Linzer

Senior Reporter

Dafna Linzer was a senior reporter at ProPublica. She is the author of the ongoing series "Shades of Mercy" on racial bias in presidential pardons. The series was a finalist for Harvard University's Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and honored by Investigative Reporters and Editors. Her work on Guantanamo and detention in the Obama presidency won the 2010 Overseas Press Club award for General Excellence and received honorable mention for the American Bar Associationâs Silver Gavel award.

Starting Over: When Presidential Forgiveness Changes a Life

A president's pardon doesn't wipe someone's criminal record clean, but it is an official act of forgiveness that can open career doors for offenders like Serena Nunn, whose long-ago felony conviction stands in the way of admission to the Georgia State Bar.

Contrasting Colors, Contrasting Results

Newly Released Memo Inadvertently Reveals CIA Held (and Abused) Missing Prisoner

According to various reports, a U.S.-held detainee named Hassan Ghul provided key intelligence on the courier who ultimately led authorities to Osama bin Laden. In 2009 we reported that, despite the U.S. government’s silence on his case, Ghul had been captured in Iraq and held in a secret CIA prison. His whereabouts today are still unknown.

In Gitmo Opinion, Two Versions of Reality

A judge’s opinion on Gitmo first hidden, then rewritten, reveals the secret evidence against a detainee the Obama administration wants to hold indefinitely.

Appeals Court Makes It Easier for Gov’t to Hold Gitmo Detainees

The case could make it more difficult for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to win release.

Obama Counterterrorism Adviser Slams Congressional Efforts to Block Guantanamo’s Closure

President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, delivered the administration’s most forceful public call to date for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center and the use of federal courts to try some detainees held there.

Obama Makes Indefinite Detention and Military Commissions His Own

Prisoners held in indefinite detention at the Guantanamo Bay camp will periodically be reviewed by a board and have a “personal representative” to advocate for them. But the system, similar to what was in effect under the Bush administration, does not bring President Obama closer to shutting Gitmo.

Readers React to Our Story on the U.S.’s (Mistake-Filled) Citizenship Test

Readers react to the piece I wrote last week about the U.S. citizenship test.

How I Passed My U.S. Citizenship Test: By Keeping the Right Answers to Myself

I recently became a U.S. citizen, and found mistakes in the citizenship test.

Guantanamo As Prison and Courtroom: Is a White House Policy Unraveling or Coming Together?

According to a story in the New York Times, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will authorize new military commission trials for detainees facing charges brought by the Obama administration. The question now is whether this signals a shift from the administration’s long-standing commitment to prosecutions in federal court.

Obama Expresses Displeasure With Guantanamo Restrictions But Signs Them Into Law

The president says he will seek the repeal of new provisions tucked into defense-spending legislation, but averts a confrontation with the new Congress by not raising constitutional objections.

Disclosure of Possible Gitmo Signing Statement Spurs Debate Inside and Outside Administration

Obama administration officials have drafted a signing statement that stops short of claiming that provisions in a spending bill on Guantanamo are unconstitutional. But debate continues within the administration and among constitutional experts as to how President Obama should react to legislation limiting where and how he can prosecute prisoners.

Administration Prepares to Defy Efforts to Limit Obama’s Options for Guantanamo

Senior officials are advising President Obama to reject provisions of a military spending bill that limits his handling of Guantanamo. Aides are urging him to sign the bill but issue a signing statement rejecting the Guantanamo provisions as unacceptable limits on his authority.

White House Drafts Executive Order for Indefinite Detention

The Obama Administration has drafted an executive order that calls for regular reviews of the cases against Guantanamo prisoners. It calls for release of prisoners from countries like Yemen should security conditions improve.

DOJ’s Troubled Case Against Uthman

Evidence of terrorism ties hinged to witnesses who have been tortured, deemed incompetent weaken the government's case against Uthman.

Alhurra’s Effectiveness, Expense Criticized in New Senate Report

Findings in a new U.S. Senate report that questions the effectiveness and costs of continuing Alhurra are leading to renewed calls for congressional hearings on the government-run satellite channel and the broadcasting agency that oversees its work.

Top Washington Lawyer, Holder Friend to Be Next Deputy Attorney General

James Cole, who served in the Clinton administration, will be nominated for the No. 2 spot in the Justice Department. Currently a white-collar criminal defense lawyer, Cole may be best known for his investigation of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1996.

Inspectors Keep Up Pressure on Alhurra, Say Effectiveness Still in Question

Alhurra, a U.S.-run TV station that broadcasts news to the Middle East, still has management problems and can't measure its effectiveness, a new inspector general's review says. The station has come under scrutiny from the media and Congress.

The Clock Ticks Slowest at Gitmo: Why It’s Taking so Long to Close the Prison

Nearly a year after taking office, the Obama administration isn’t as close to closing the prison at Guantanamo as it had hoped it would be by now. The reasons are legal, political and bureaucratic.

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