Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
Kenneth L. Wainstein was appointed Homeland Security Advisor by the President on March 30, 2008. Mr. Wainstein chairs the Homeland Security Council and reports to the President on a range of homeland security and counterterrorism matters.
From September 2006 until his present appointment at the White House, Mr. Wainstein served as the Justice Department’s first Assistant Attorney General for National Security and oversaw the establishment of the National Security Division, the first new division at the Justice Department in nearly 50 years. Under Mr. Wainstein’s leadership, the new division played a critical role in numerous national security initiatives. It contributed significantly to the effort to modernize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978; it created and implemented a groundbreaking and comprehensive oversight program for FBI national security investigations; it launched a national Export Enforcement Initiative targeting illegal exports of sensitive technology and weapon components; and it worked jointly with the Department of Defense to bring Military Commission charges involving the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
From May 2004 until September 2006, Mr. Wainstein served as the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. In that capacity, he managed the country’s largest United States Attorney’s Office and oversaw the federal criminal prosecutions and civil litigation in the District of Columbia. Before that, he held senior positions in the FBI, serving as Chief of Staff to the Director from March 2003 to May 2004, and as General Counsel from July 2002 to March 2003.
From August 2001 to July 2002, Mr. Wainstein was the Director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys at the Department of Justice, where he provided oversight and support for the 94 United States Attorneys’ Offices. Mr. Wainstein served as the interim United States Attorney for the District of Columbia between April and August of 2001.
Mr. Wainstein began his Justice Department career in 1989 as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted a variety of matters, including narcotics, fraud and public corruption cases. In 1992, Mr. Wainstein transferred to the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, where he served for nine years. As a line prosecutor and Deputy Chief of the Homicide Section between 1994 and 1999, he specialized in the prosecution of federal racketeering cases against violent street gangs and narcotics organizations. He later served as Deputy Chief of the Superior Court Division and as Principal Assistant United States Attorney.
Mr. Wainstein is a 1984 graduate of the University of Virginia, and a 1988 graduate of the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley. He clerked for Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.