Benjamin R Farley

Professorial Lecturer

Part-time Faculty


Benjamin R. Farley is a professorial lecturer at the George Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs, where he teaches a course in public international law. Farley also serves as a Foreign Affairs Officer in the Bureau of Counterterrorism at the U.S. Department of State. Prior to rejoining the State Department in August 2021, Farley represented Ammar al-Baluchi, one of the five codefendants facing capital charges before the 9/11 military commission at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a supervisory trial attorney and law-of-war counsel at the U.S. Department of Defense, Military Commissions Defense Organization for four years. Farley originally joined the Department of State as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2012. Between 2013 and 2017, he served as a Senior Adviser to the Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure.

Farley is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow with the National Institute of Military Justice. He earned a J.D. with honors from Emory University School of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the Emory International Law Review. He also holds an M.A. in international affairs from the Elliott School of International Affairs. Mr. Farley has published on topics including sovereignty, statehood, and international humanitarian law in various law, policy, and popular outlets such as The Atlantic, the Michigan Journal of International Law, the Fordham International Law Journal, and World Politics Review.


21 Years of War with Al Qaeda?, JUST SECURITY, Mar. 11, 2016.

Determining When the Armed Conflict with Al Qaeda Started, JUST SECURITY, Mar. 11, 2016 (with Laurie R. Blank).

Enhanced Interrogation, the Report on Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation, and the Return of Kriegsraison, 30 EMORY INT’L L. REV. 2019 (2015).

“International Social Justice: An Exploration of Immigration Policy and International Human Right Law,” Norman Amaker Public Interest Law & Social Justice Retreat, Loyola University Chicago, Feb. 28, 2015.

Identifying the Start of Conflict: Conflict Recognition, Operational Realities and Accountability in the Post-9/11 World, 36 MICH. J. INT’L L. 467 (2015) (with Laurie R. Blank).

The Islamic State Isn’t: A Legal Examination, WAR ON THE ROCKS, July 10, 2014.

“A Practitioner’s View of Guantanamo Closure,” Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, United States Institute of Peace, June 18, 2014.

“Should the U.S. Close Guantanamo Bay? A Practitioner’s Perspective,” American University Washington College of Law, Feb. 18, 2014.

“The Future of Warfare? Drones, Dissected,” The Washington Center, Oct. 7, 2013.

Drones & Democracy: Missing Out on Accountability?, 54 S. TEX. L. REV. 385 (2013). “Drones and Democracy: Missing Out on Accountability,” Patuxent Defense Forum, Apr. 24, 2012.

No End in Sight: The U.S. Drone Campaign as a Perpetual Stop-Gap, INT’L AFF. REV., Dec. 12, 2011.

Targeting Anwar al-Aulaqi: A Case Study in U.S. Drone Strikes and Targeted Killing, 2 NAT’L SEC. L. BRIEF 57 (2011).

Western Intervention in Libya’s Civil War May Provide Hope for Somaliland, GLOBAL POL., Sept. 19, 2011.

Recognition of Somaliland Overdue, WORLD POL. REV., Jan. 26, 2011.

Characterizing U.S. Involvement in Pakistan: Is the U.S. Engaged in an Armed Conflict?, 34 FORDHAM INT’L L.J. 151 (2011) (with Laurie R. Blank).

“Somaliland Independence: An Interview with Benjamin R. Farley,” Sagal Radio, Dec. 24, 2010. Calling a State a State: Somaliland and International Recognition, 24 EMORY INT’L L. REV. 777 (2010)

JD, Emory University School of Law; MA, George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs