Chief of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, National Security Division
U.S. Department of Justice
David H. Laufman serves as Chief of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section (“CES”) in the National Security Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”). CES has supervisory responsibility within DOJ for the investigation and prosecution of offenses concerning national security-related cyber intrusions and attacks, U.S. export controls and economic sanctions, atomic energy and counterproliferation, espionage, economic espionage, and foreign agent registration and disclosure. Among the national security-related cyber cases that Mr. Laufman has overseen are the prosecution of seven Iranian nationals for conducting a coordinated campaign of cyber attacks against more than forty U.S. financial institutions; the prosecution of a Chinese national for conspiring to hack into the computer networks of major U.S. defense contractors, steal sensitive military and export-controlled data, and send the stolen data to China; and the prosecution of three Syrian nationals associated with the Syrian Electronic Army for multiple conspiracies related to computer hacking, including a conspiracy to extort the victims of their alleged criminal activity.
Mr. Laufman previously served both as a federal prosecutor and at DOJ’s highest operational and policy levels. As Chief of Staff to the Deputy Attorney General from 2001 to 2003, he assisted in the day-to-day management of DOJ and helped to coordinate DOJ’s responses to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. From 2003 to 2007, Mr. Laufman served as Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, where he prosecuted terrorism, export control, and other national security offenses. From 2010 to 2011, he served as a Special Trial Attorney to the Fraud Section at DOJ, where, on detail from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (“SIGIR”), he investigated and prosecuted procurement fraud and corruption related to U.S. economic assistance to Iraq.
Mr. Laufman has received several awards for his work as a federal prosecutor. In 2006, he received the John Marshall Award for Outstanding Legal Achievement, DOJ’s highest award for excellence in litigation, for his trial work as lead prosecutor in the terrorism case United States v. Abu Ali. In 2007, Mr. Laufman received the FBI Director’s Award for Outstanding Counterterrorism Investigation for his work in United States v. Khan (“the Virginia Jihad case”). In 2011, he received the Award for Excellence in Investigation from the Council of the Inspector Generals for Integrity and Efficiency for his work in the case of United States v. Ayesh, which resulted in new judicial precedent regarding the extraterritorial application of federal conflict-of-interest laws.
Mr. Laufman has devoted much of his career to national security affairs. In the 1980s, he served as a military and political analyst in the Directorate of Intelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency. From 1990 to 1993, he was Deputy Minority Counsel to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he participated in oversight investigations of the executive branch. From 2000 to 2001, he served as Staff Director and Deputy Chief Counsel to the Judicial Review Commission on Foreign Asset Control, a congressionally mandated body that examined the administration of U.S. laws governing the imposition of economic sanctions by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. While serving as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Attorney General from 2001 to 2003, Mr. Laufman also served as DOJ’s representative to the National Security Council’s Policy Coordinating Committee on Terrorist Financing, a sensitive inter-agency body that formulated intelligence and law enforcement policy and tactics regarding the designation of individuals and organizations suspected of financing al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.
In addition to his work in national security affairs, Mr. Laufman has extensive experience in government ethics and public corruption investigations. From 1992 to 1993, he served 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”), a special bipartisan panel of the U.S. House of Representatives. Subsequently, he served as Associate Independent Counsel in the Investigation Concerning the Search of William J. Clinton’s Passport Files During the 1992 Presidential Election Campaign. From 1996 to 2000, Mr. Laufman served as Investigative Counsel to the Ethics Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he conducted ethics investigations of Members of Congress and coordinated the sanctions hearing of then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Following the Gingrich case, he played a central role in crafting and negotiating changes to the ethics rules of the House of Representatives in his capacity as Assistant to the Special Counsel to the Ethics Reform Task Force. Mr. Laufman also conducted professional misconduct investigations for the Office of Professional Responsibility at DOJ before becoming Chief of Staff to the Deputy Attorney General.
Mr. Laufman was born in Houston, Texas, where he attended St. John’s School. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1979 from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating magna cum laude with distinction in international relations. He received his law degree in 1987 from Georgetown University Law Center.