Justice Shifts to Cyber From Terrorists With Reorganization Announced Today

“The US Justice Department is shifting the focus of its national security prosecution team to deal with cyber instead of spies,” writes Lawfare.  “U.S. national security prosecutors shift focus from spies to cyber,” proclaims Reuters.  “DOJ heightens focus on state-backed cyber crime” is The Hill’s headline.  All are reacting to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice dated Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

The release states that my former colleague and friend Luke Dombosky has been named Deputy Assistant Attorney General of Justice’s National Security Division (NSD) to “manage NSD’s newly created portfolio covering protection of national assets, including efforts to combat economic espionage, proliferation, and cyber-based national security threats;” the “Anti-Terrorism and Advisory Council (ATAC) Coordinator program will be re-designated as the National Security Coordinator/ATAC program, to better reflect its ongoing work on the full range of national security threats, including combating economic espionage and counterproliferation;” and other “strategic changes within the … (NSD) designed to put additional focus on the protection of national assets from the threat of state-sponsored economic espionage and proliferation, including through cyberspace.”

[Full disclosure: this author was a federal prosecutor assigned to an ATAC and a JTTF.  The ATAC’s are groups of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies headed by the local U.S. Attorneys around the country. They were created by Attorney General Ashcroft shortly after 9/11/01 in order to address issues of terrorism.]

From Reuters: “The revamp… also marks a recognition that national security threats have broadened and become more technologically savvy since the 9/11 attacks against the United States.”  This reflects my long advocacy of combining computer engineers with lawyers and policy makers, something I try to do in interdisciplinary classes every day.

John P. Carlin, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security who announced these changes, used a cyber term to explain them: “We need to develop the capability and bandwidth to deal with what we can see as an evolving threat,” reports Reuters.  The same article also quotes a former Justice prosecutor stating: “This is not just a reshuffling of the deck.”

The Hill suggests that hackback was a motivator for this shift by the prosecutors, quoting House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas):

“This is such a new field and frontier that there aren’t sanctions, there aren’t penalties in place for doing this,” he said. “I think that’s the piece that’s missing.”

McCaul has seen private companies fill the vacuum, waging their own cyber offensive against these state cyber thieves.

“I would obviously prefer that that be done through our capabilities at the federal level,” he said. “I think we have capabilities that the private sector doesn’t always have to help with attribution.”

Here is the entire news release from the Department of Justice:

Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

National Security Division Announces New Senior Leadership Hires and Restructuring of Counterespionage Efforts

Moves Allow NSD to Continue Focus on Today’s Threats while Positioning for Tomorrow’s Challenges

John P. Carlin, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, announced strategic changes within the Justice Department’s National Security Division (NSD) designed to put additional focus on the protection of national assets from the threat of state-sponsored economic espionage and proliferation, including through cyberspace. The announcement included new appointments within the NSD’s senior leadership, the creation of a new Deputy Assistant Attorney General Position focusing on protecting national assets and the re-designation of the Anti-Terrorism and Advisory Council (ATAC) Coordinator program as the National Security Coordinator/ATAC program, to better reflect its ongoing work on the full range of national security threats, and to empower United States Attorneys as they conduct outreach on these issues nationwide.

“The threat landscape we face is ever-changing and evolving, and while our top priority will always be combatting terrorism, we must also sharpen our focus and increase our attention on the emerging threats of economic espionage and proliferation,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “We have assembled a talented, dedicated and experienced team of seasoned professionals to launch this new phase for the National Security Division. These changes will help us continue confronting today’s threats while readying the NSD workforce to engage what we see as the key emerging threats to our national security.”

The changes announced included the appointment of a new Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and a new Chief of Staff and Counselor, as well as the creation of a new Deputy Assistant Attorney General position to oversee NSD’s efforts to protect national assets, including its efforts to combat economic espionage, proliferation, and cyber-based national security threats, and its work on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. This position will oversee the work of the National Security Cyber Specialists (NSCS) Network, consisting of prosecutors in each of the U.S. Attorney’s Offices who focus on cyber threats to the national security.

The new NSD leadership team members include Mary B. McCord to serve as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General; Anita M. Singh as Chief of Staff and Counselor; and Luke Dembosky as the newest Deputy Assistant Attorney General.

Mary B. McCord, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General: McCord joined NSD from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, where she served for nearly 20 years, most recently as the Criminal Division Chief. In that capacity, McCord supervised the prosecution of all criminal matters in federal district court, and is highly regarded for her expertise in this area. McCord also served for more than five years as a Deputy Chief in the Appellate Division, where she supervised and argued hundreds of cases in the U.S. and District of Columbia Courts of Appeals. McCord graduated from Georgetown University Law School, and clerked for Judge Thomas Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Anita M. Singh, Chief of Staff and Counselor: Singh was appointed Chief of Staff and Counselor after serving as the NSD Acting Chief of Staff for nearly a year and a half. Singh joined NSD as Deputy Chief of Staff in 2011 after serving as Director for Intelligence Programs and Reform at the White House on the National Security Council staff, where she focused on cyber-related issues. As NSD’s Chief of Staff, Singh focuses on strategic management issues, including the design of structural changes to support work in emerging threat areas. Singh began her legal career through the DOJ’s Honors Program, serving in the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, and later as a Counsel, focused on cybersecurity, to several Assistant Attorneys General. Prior to entering government service, Singh was a management strategy consultant with the Boston Consulting Group. She graduated with her J.D. and A.M. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Luke Dembosky, Deputy Assistant Attorney General: Dembosky joins NSD from DOJ’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section where he served as Deputy Chief for Litigation. Dembosky previously served as the DOJ representative at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia, where he represented DOJ to Russia on matters of transnational crime, including cybercrime and IP crimes, and worked with Russian law enforcement and other government officials to build cooperation between the two countries. Prior to working in Moscow, Dembosky was based in Pittsburgh as a member of DOJ’s Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) network of federal prosecutors. He has been involved in some of the largest and most groundbreaking cybercrime prosecutions and disruptions in U.S. history, including the recent GameOver Zeus botnet disruption, coordination of the Silk Road takedown, and U.S. v. Max Ray Butler. Prior to entering government service, Dembosky worked in civil practice at a Philadelphia law firm. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and clerked for Judge Richard L. Nygaard of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Dembosky will manage NSD’s newly created portfolio covering protection of national assets, including efforts to combat economic espionage, proliferation, and cyber-based national security threats, and its work on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. He will also oversee NSD’s Office for Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism.

Re-designation: The Anti-Terrorism and Advisory Council (ATAC) Coordinator program will be re-designated as the National Security Coordinator/ATAC program, to better reflect its ongoing work on the full range of national security threats, including combating economic espionage and counterproliferation.

14-1154 National Security Division (NSD)

On a personal note, best wishes to Luke for his continued success serving the United States and protecting us.

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One Response to “Justice Shifts to Cyber From Terrorists With Reorganization Announced Today”

  1. […] Federal Times reports that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has restructured its National Security Division (NSD) and made new appointments to refocus efforts on cybersecurity, specifically as related to state-sponsored cyber terrorism and espionage.  For the full report, click here, and for our own coverage, here. […]

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Authors

Untitled Document
Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. She is the 2018-9 Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, as well as a member of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography

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