National Security Matters

David H. Laufman represents individuals and companies in a broad range of matters relating to U.S. national security, including:

  • Representation in federal criminal and other enforcement proceedings – and in congressional and Inspector General investigations – relating to national security matters, including matters requiring access to classified information.
  • Internal investigations regarding insider threats, the theft of intellectual property, and the spillage or potential compromise of classified information.
  • Representation of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officers, and employees of federal government contractors, in proceedings to suspend or revoke security clearances.
  • Counseling of government contractors regarding compliance with the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (“NISPOM”), including provisions concerning Foreign Ownership, Control, or Influence (“FOCI”).
  • Counseling to effect and sustain compliance with U.S. export control and economic sanctions laws.
  • Internal investigations of potential violations of U.S. export control and economic sanctions laws, and federal procurement laws.
  • Representation before the Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") regarding licensing pertaining to U.S. economic sanctions and alleged violations of economic sanctions laws.
  • Representation before the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of State regarding export licensing matters and alleged violations of U.S. export control laws.
  • Counseling and assistance regarding transactions subject to review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States ("CFIUS").
  • Coordinating with law enforcement in the event of a significant cyber incident or theft of intellectual property.

Mr. Laufman brings a wealth of experience in national security affairs to the representation of his clients. Most recently, he served from late 2014 to early 2018 as Chief of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section (“CES”) at the U.S Department of Justice. As Chief of CES, Mr. Laufman had supervisory responsibility for the investigation and prosecution of offenses concerning U.S. export control and sanctions laws, espionage, the unauthorized retention and disclosure of classified information, the theft of trade secrets benefiting a foreign government or instrumentality (economic espionage), and cyber attacks and intrusions by nation states and their proxies. He also oversaw enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”). In carrying out DOJ’s counterintelligence mission, he worked closely with agencies and departments comprising the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Mr. Laufman’s work in national security began in the 1980s, when he served as a military and political analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency ("CIA"), and throughout his career he has worked closely with the CIA on numerous sensitive matters. In the 1990s, he served as Deputy Minority Counsel to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives, and as Senior Associate Minority Counsel to the Task Force to Investigate Certain Allegations Concerning the Holding of American Hostages by Iran in 1980 ("October Surprise Task Force"). From 2000-2001, Mr. Laufman served as Staff Director and Deputy Chief Counsel to the Judicial Review Commission on Foreign Asset Control, a congressionally mandated body that examined U.S. laws governing the imposition of economic sanctions by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Mr. Laufman's clients also benefit from his substantial experience in enforcement matters pertaining to national security. In addition to having recently served as Chief of CES, he served as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice from 2001 to 2003. In that capacity, he helped to coordinate DOJ's responses to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as well as interagency remedial actions. He also served as DOJ's representative to the National Security Council's Policy Coordinating Committee on Terrorism Finance, and as Executive Secretary of DOJ's National Security Coordination Council. From 2003 to 2007, Mr. Laufman served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, where he prosecuted terrorism, export control, and espionage cases. Through his work as a federal prosecutor, he has substantial experience in litigation involving the Classified Information Procedures Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Mr. Laufman has held Top Secret/SCI security clearances on numerous occasions during his career and is available to assist clients in matters requiring access to classified information.

Representative Matters

  • Represented a CIA employee in a federal criminal investigation regarding the leak of classified information.
  • Represented a government contractor in an investigation of criminal violations of the False Claims Act by the Office of Inspector General of a U.S. intelligence agency.
  • Counseled a firm in assessing whether it had an obligation to register under FARA, and assisted in preparing its registration statement and related filings.
  • Represented a CIA official in a federal criminal investigation by the Department of Justice relating to the treatment of terrorism detainees.
  • Advised a start-up U.S. company engaged in international business operations on compliance with FARA in addition to compliance with anti-bribery laws and U.S. economic sanctions laws.
  • Counseled a U.S. defense contractor regarding compliance with the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual ("NISPOM") in connection with a potential foreign business transaction.
  • Represented a former senior Department of Defense official in an oversight investigation of military detainee interrogation policy by the Committee on Armed Services of the U.S. Senate.
  • Litigated a classified government contract bid protest on behalf of a company providing counterterrorism support to the government.
  • Represented a non-profit organization before OFAC concerning the production of a documentary film in a sanctioned country.
  • Presented a successful trial defense of a nuclear power plant employee in United States v. Alavi on charges that he committed criminal violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Iranian Transactions Regulations.
  • Represented a senior official of the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of State before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, in an oversight investigation concerning the alleged obstruction of DOJ and congressional investigations regarding government contractor abuses in Iraq.

Related Publications

  • The Snowden Effect and NSA Snooping, Washington Times, February 3, 2014
  • Man the Firewalls: Cyber Intrusions and Compliance Risks Under U.S. Export Control Laws, reprinted from Global Trade & Customs Journal, Vol. 8, Issues 11 & 12, November 2013, pages 382-389, with permission of Kluwer Law International
  • The Right Way to Try Foreign Terrorists, The Washington Times, October 18, 2013
  • Prosecuting Leaks of Classified Information, Huffington Post, June12, 2012
  • Guantanamo Detainees in U.S. Courts, Huffington Post, July 9, 2009
  • Litigating Intent in Export Control Prosecutions, The Export Practitioner, January 2009
  • New Regulation Governs Conduct of Security Contractors Not Accompanying U.S. Forces Overseas, Government Contract, May 5, 2008
  • Terror Trials Work, Legal Times, November 6, 2007

Related Speaking Engagements

  • Presentation to British-American Business Council on the national security threat environment and the Justice Department’s response, London, United Kingdom, January 30, 2017
  • Speech at conference of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals regarding supply chain threats with national security implications and the Justice Department’s efforts to counter them, Orlando, Florida, September 27, 2016
  • Speech at FBI-sponsored conference of oil and gas industry executives regarding the Justice Department’s actions to counter the economic espionage threat and the need for a public-private partnership, Houston, Texas, May 25, 2016
  • Private Contractors, Snowden, and Cybersecurity: Did the Reorganization of the Intelligence Community Achieve Success?, 2014 Spring Meeting of ABA Section of International Law, National Security and International Trade Committees, New York, New York, April 3, 2014 (panelist with former Senator Evan Bay and Joel Brenner, former Inspector General of the National Security Agency)
  • Practitioners' Guide to U.S. Trade Controls, National Security Law, Policy & Practice Committee, Bar Association of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC, January 29, 2014 (moderator)
  • Lessons to Be Learned from Heightened Enforcement Actions Relating to Export Control and Economic Sanction Violations, 2013 Spring Meeting of ABA Section of International Law, Washington, DC, April 26, 2013 (co-moderator of panel)
  • Iraq Reconstruction: A Way Forward From Lessons Learned, panel discussion sponsored by ABA Section of Public Contract Law, Battle Space and Contingency Procurements Committee, and George Washington University Law School, Government Procurement Program, April 12, 2013 (panelist with Stuart W. Bowen, Jr., Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction; Clark Ervin, former Commissioner for the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan; and Professor Daniel Gordon, Associate Dean for Government Procurement Law, George Washington University Law School)
  • Practitioners' Guide to National Security Media Leaks, panel discussion sponsored by Bar Association of the District of Columbia's National Security Law, Policy & Practice Committee, and by the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Law & National Security, November 28, 2012 (panelist with Neil McBride, U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Virginia; John Rizzo, former General Counsel, Central Intelligence Agency; and Dana Priest, Washington Post)
  • Testimony Before U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, at hearing on Prosecuting Terrorists: Civilian and Military Trials for GTMO and Beyond, Washington, DC, July 28, 2009
  • Export Controls and Economic Sanctions, Connecticut Chapter of Association of Corporate Counsel, Hartford, Connecticut, June 16, 2009
  • Testimony before U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, at hearing on The Legal, Moral, and National Security Consequences of Prolonged Detention, Washington, DC, June 9, 2009
  • Exploring a Legal Forum for the Trial of Terrorist Suspects, American Bar Association Standing Committee on National Security, Due Process and Terrorism Program Series, Washington, DC, April 24, 2009
  • Bringing Detainees to Justice and Justice to Detainees: Remaining Questions About Detention and Trials After Obama's Executive Orders, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC, March 20, 2009 (panelist)
  • Detention, Prosecution, and Punishment of Terrorists: Lessons for the New Administration, International Law Institute, Washington, DC, January 8, 2009 (panelist)
  • Are American Courts Creating New Concepts to Govern Terrorist-Related Detentions?, American University, Washington, DC, September 19, 2008 (panelist)

Related Teaching

  • Lecturer, The Foreign Agents Registration Act, National Advocacy Center, U.S. Department of Justice, Columbia, South Carolina (2015-2017)
  • Lecturer, The Justice Department’s Enforcement of U.S. Export Control and Sanctions Laws, American University Washington College of Law, Washington, DC, March 22, 2018.
  • Lecturer, S. Department of Justice Prosecutions of Export Control and Sanctions Violations, Executive Masters in International Trade Compliance, University of Liverpool, London, United Kingdom, January 26, 2017
  • Lecturer, Criminal Enforcement of U.S. Export Control and Sanctions Laws, National Advocacy Center, U.S. Department of Justice, Columbia, South Carolina (2015-2017)
  • Lecturer, The Foreign Agents Registration Act, multiple U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, U.S. Department of Justice (2015-2018)
  • Lecturer, Counterterrorism Prosecutions, National Advocacy Center, U.S. Department of Justice, Columbia, South Carolina (2005-2007)

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