At Princeton he joined Cottage Club, rowed crew for four years, majored in history, and wrote a thesis on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
In Japan he served as a commissioned officer in the Navy. Returning to the Washington area after brief service with the Hanover Bank in New York, Gordon became an operations officer with the CIA’s Clandestine Service.
Having earned a law degree by studying at night at George Washington University Law School, Gordon then moved to the Justice Department as a civil-trial attorney dealing with what he called “the litigation aftermath” of the “tensions and upheavals” of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
He wrote for a class yearbook that “neither my clients nor the positions I advocate are popular with the ACLU, but I find the work consistently challenging and interesting.” Gordon was at the forefront in developing case law addressing state-secret concerns and defended a number of complex and sensitive cases involving state-security issues.
He died Nov. 16, 2019, and is survived by two sons and three grandchildren.