Faculty: Caroline Krass

Krass 150Caroline Krass, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) General Counsel, is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.  She is Chair of the National Security Practice Group, and focuses on advising clients on the most complicated and sensitive matters involving national security, intelligence, cybersecurity, data privacy, government investigations, and regulatory issues.  Ms. Krass served as a senior national security lawyer in the Obama and George W. Bush Administrations and is widely recognized for her expertise, both in Washington and abroad.

Ms. Krass is one of the most experienced national security lawyers in the United States.  She has particular expertise in intelligence, privacy, surveillance, national security, economic sanctions, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), cybersecurity, and government investigations.

Before joining Gibson Dunn in May 2017, Ms. Krass was appointed to be the General Counsel of the CIA by President Obama, following overwhelming Senate confirmation on a bipartisan basis, and she served in that position from 2014 to 2017.  In her role as General Counsel, she served as the agency’s Chief Legal Officer, principal legal advisor to the CIA Director, and a trusted member of the Senior Leadership Team. Ms. Krass oversaw more than 150 attorneys and advised on complex, highly sensitive legal and policy issues, including cybersecurity and privacy, foreign investment in the U.S. and export controls, government investigations and litigation, crisis management and congressional relations.  She served as the primary liaison with the White House Counsel and general counsels across the Executive Branch, as well as counterparts abroad, on national security legal and policy issues.

From 2011 to 2014, Ms. Krass served as Acting Assistant Attorney General, and before that, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, in the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in the Department of Justice.  In these roles, she provided legal advice to the Attorney General, the White House Counsel, the National Security Council Legal Adviser, and senior officials at other executive branch agencies on a wide range of complex and significant constitutional, statutory, and regulatory questions relating to national security, cybersecurity, privacy, and foreign affairs, including matters involving foreign sovereign immunity, CFIUS, export control, economic sanctions, surveillance and use of force.  At the President’s request, Ms. Krass also led OLC in 2011.

Ms. Krass served as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs in the Office of White House Counsel from 2009 to 2010.  During this time, she dually served as the Deputy Legal Adviser to the National Security Council.  She provided advice on a broad range of pressing and complicated domestic and international legal matters and interacted frequently with the general counsels and other senior lawyers in the Departments of Justice, Defense, State, and Homeland Security, the CIA, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  From 2007 to 2009, she served as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia in the National Security Section.

Before that, she served as Special Assistant to the Department of the Treasury’s General Counsel, as an Attorney-Advisor in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the State Department and as a Senior Counsel and Attorney-Advisor in OLC.

In 2017, Washingtonian Magazine named Ms. Krass to its Top Lawyer list.  For her exceptional contributions to national security while in government, Ms. Krass has been awarded numerous honors, including the CIA’s Distinguished Intelligence Medal (2017); the CIA Director’s Award (2017); the Director of National Intelligence Medallion for Service to the Intelligence Community (2017); the Department of Justice’s John Marshall Award (highest award for an attorney) (2014); the Department of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service (2014); the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering the Interests of U.S. National Security (2007); the Department of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award (2002); and the Department of State Superior Honor Award (2000 & 2011).

Ms. Krass received a BA with Honors from Stanford University in 1989, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated in 1993 from Yale Law School, where she served as a Senior Editor of the Yale Law Journal and as a Coker Fellow.  She clerked for Judge Patricia M. Wald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Ms. Krass currently serves on the CIA General Counsel’s External Advisory Board, as a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security, and as a member of the Advisory Board of the National Security Institute at George Mason University Law School. She holds a Top Secret/SCI security clearance.

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