By Allan Lengel
James A. Baker, a former federal prosecutor, has been named the general counsel for the FBI.
Baker, a University of Michigan Law School graduate, clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Bernard A. Friedman in Detroit before joining the Department of Justice with the Criminal Division through the Attorney General’s Honors Program in 1990. He worked as a federal prosecutor with the division’s Fraud Section.
In 1996, he joined the former Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR), which later became part of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
From 2001 to 2007, he served as counsel for intelligence policy and head of OIPR.
Back in 2006, Carol Leonnig of the Washington Post reported that in 2004 Baker discovered “the government’s failure to share information about its spying program had rendered useless a federal screening system that the judges had insisted upon to shield the court from tainted information. He alerted (U.S. District Judge Colleen) Kollar-Kotelly, who complained to Justice, prompting a temporary suspension of the NSA spying program.”
From 2008 to 2009, Baker was assistant general counsel for national security at Verizon Business. He then returned to the Justice Department and from 2009 to 2011, served as an associate deputy attorney general where he worked on a range of national security issues, including cyber security.
He last worked as associate general counsel for Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge fund firms based in Connecticut.
“Jim’s experience as a career prosecutor and as a national security official, as well his experience in the private sector, make him an excellent fit for his new position here at the FBI,” FBI Director James Comey said in a statement.