Juan Carlos Zarate, Esq. served as the Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism from 2005 to 2009. In this role, Mr. Zarate was responsible for developing and overseeing the effective implementation of the U.S. government’s counterterrorism strategy. He was also responsible for overseeing all policies related to transnational security threats, including counternarcotics, maritime security, hostages, international organized crime, money laundering, and critical energy infrastructure protection.
Prior to joining the NSC, Mr. Zarate served as the first Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes where he led Treasury’s domestic and international efforts to attack terrorist financing, build comprehensive anti-money laundering systems, and expand the use of Treasury powers to advance national security interests. This included the development of a new brand of financial power that has been used to pressure North Korea, Iran, and other rogue actors.
Mr. Zarate also led the U.S. government’s global efforts to hunt Saddam Hussein’s assets, resulting in the return of over $3 billion of Iraqi assets from the U.S. and around the world. Mr. Zarate served at the Treasury Department from 2001 to 2005.
Prior to working at the Department of the Treasury, Mr. Zarate served as a prosecutor in the Department of Justice’s Terrorism and Violent Crime Section, where he worked on terrorism cases, including the USS Cole investigation. Mr. Zarate previously worked as a federal law clerk for Chief Judge Judith Keep in the Southern District of California.
Mr. Zarate is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University and a cum laude graduate of the Harvard Law School. He studied as a Rotary International Fellow at the Universidad de Salamanca, Spain.
Mr. Zarate is the author of Forging Democracy: A Comparative Study of the Effects of U.S. Foreign Policy on Central American Democratization, a book on the impact of U.S. foreign policy on democratization in Central America, as well as “The Emergence of New Dog of War: Private International Security Companies, International Law, and the New World Disorder”, a groundbreaking article published in 1998 on the growing use of private military and security companies by nation states.
Mr. Zarate is now a Senior Adviser to the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a national security consultant and analyst for CBS News. Zarate was born and raised in Santa Ana, California, and he is a member of the California Bar.
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