White House to Nominate National Security Veteran for DOJ Post -- Update
By Dylan Tokar
Matt Olsen, Uber Technologies Inc.'s chief trust and security
officer and a veteran of Washington's national security circles, is
expected to be nominated to serve as head of the Justice
Department's National Security Division, according to people
familiar with the matter.
The White House plans to nominate Mr. Olsen in the coming days,
one of the people said, to the division that oversees sensitive
national security cases, including those involving terrorism,
counterintelligence threats and export controls violations. He
would lead the division as it confronts extremist violence, foreign
interference in U.S. elections and ransomware cyberattacks, which
the DOJ sees as rising threats.
If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Olsen would become an assistant
attorney general of the National Security Division. He would
replace John Demers, a former Boeing Co. vice president and
assistant general counsel and one of the few remaining Trump
appointees still in office.
The White House and Uber didn't immediately respond to requests
for comment. Mr. Olsen also didn't immediately respond to a message
The National Security Division under Mr. Demers oversaw a number
of sensitive investigations and matters, including certain aspects
of cases stemming from an investigation by special counsel Robert
Mueller into Russian interference in the U.S. election of 2016.
The division played a key role in the Trump administration's
approach to China, bringing a series of indictments in which
prosecutors described in detail allegations of Beijing's
aggression, including cyber theft of valuable intellectual property
and defense technology from high-tech companies and contractors, as
well as other forms of espionage.
While lawmakers from across the political spectrum have
supported aspects of the Justice Department's aggressive approach
toward China, some of those efforts have been controversial. The
division's crackdown on researchers in the U.S. accused of hiding
their ties to the Chinese government, for example, has prompted
some critics to argue it is driving talent away from the U.S.
National security officials in the Biden administration have
said they plan to continue using elements of Mr. Trump's approach
in developing their own stance toward China.
The division will also be involved in a new task force aimed to
curtail the proliferation of ransomware cyberattacks, a threat that
has taken on new urgency after last week's attack on Colonial
Pipeline Co. by criminal hackers who caused the company to shut
down the country's largest conduit of fuel.
The division is also expected to play a major role in efforts to
combat domestic extremism, which Attorney General Merrick Garland
has described as one of his top priorities in the aftermath of the
Jan. 6 riot. In March, another senior department official told
federal prosecutors around the country to alert the national
security division and work more closely with them on any such
Mr. Olsen previously served for nearly two decades in the DOJ,
where he held a variety of positions. Under the Obama
administration, he also served as director of the National
Counterterrorism Center and as general counsel for the National
Before that, he oversaw the Justice Department's Guantanamo
Review Task Force, which President Obama created to explore ways to
close the controversial detention facility in Cuba.
Mr. Olsen also served in the Justice Department under President
George W. Bush, who appointed him to serve as a deputy assistant
attorney general for the National Security Division in 2006.
In addition to his job at Uber, he is also currently a lecturer
at Harvard Law School and an adjunct professor at the University of
Virginia School of Law.
--Aruna Viswanatha and Sadie Gurman contributed to this
Write to Dylan Tokar at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 17, 2021 19:26 ET (23:26 GMT)
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