Lisa Monaco

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Lisa Monaco
Lisa Monaco, Deputy Attorney General portrait.jpg
Official portrait, 2021
39th United States Deputy Attorney General
Assumed office
April 21, 2021
PresidentJoe Biden
Preceded byJeffrey A. Rosen
6th United States Homeland Security Advisor
In office
March 8, 2013 – January 20, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byJohn O. Brennan
Succeeded byTom Bossert
United States Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division
In office
July 1, 2011 – March 8, 2013
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byDavid S. Kris
Succeeded byJohn P. Carlin
Personal details
Lisa Oudens Monaco

(1968-02-25) February 25, 1968 (age 54)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationHarvard University (BA)
University of Chicago (JD)

Lisa Oudens Monaco[1] (born February 25, 1968) is an American attorney, former federal prosecutor and national security official who has served as the 39th deputy attorney general of the United States since April 2021.[2][3]

Monaco previously served as Homeland Security Advisor under President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2017. In this role, she served as the chief counterterrorism advisor to the president and was a statutory member of the United States Homeland Security Council. Prior to this, Monaco served as the Assistant Attorney General for National Security Division from 2011 to 2013, and as the principal deputy assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department.

Early life and education[edit]

Monaco was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to parents Anthony and Mary Lou Monaco and was raised in Newton, Massachusetts. She comes from an Italian-American family.[4][5] Monaco graduated from the prestigious Winsor School in Boston in 1986.[6][7] Monaco attended Harvard University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in field in American history and literature in 1990.[8]

After earning her bachelor's degree, she worked as a research associate for The Wilson Quarterly at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars from 1990 to 1991, and as a senior associate for the Health Care Advisory Board, a healthcare advisory group, from 1991 to 1992. She worked as a research coordinator for the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary from 1992 to 1994 under then chairman Joe Biden, where she worked on the Violence Against Women Act.[9]

Monaco enrolled at the University of Chicago Law School, working as an intern in the White House Counsel's Office in 1996 before earning her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in 1997.[10] Monaco was also a summer associate for the law firm Hogan and Hartson, LLP. During her time at the University of Chicago, she spent summers working in Washington, D.C. as an intern on the D.C. Superior Court and as an intern for the United States Department of Justice in 1995.[11] Additionally, Monaco served as the editor-in-chief of the University of Chicago Law School Roundtable, a legal journal.[12]

Following graduation from law school, she joined the New York State Bar Association in 1998. From 1997 to 1998, Monaco worked as a law clerk for the Honorable Jane Richards Roth on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and as the counsel to then Attorney General Janet Reno from 1998 to 2001.[13]

Early Department of Justice (DOJ) career[edit]

U.S. Attorney[edit]

Monaco is sworn in as assistant attorney general for national security by Justice Elena Kagan in 2011

From 2001 to 2007, she was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the United States Attorney's office for the District of Columbia, and was appointed as a member of the Justice Department's Enron Task Force, co-leading the trial team in the prosecution of five former Enron executives from 2004 to 2006.[14] Monaco received Department of Justice Awards for Special Achievement in 2002, 2003 and 2005.[15]

She received the Attorney General's Award for Exceptional service for her work on the Enron Task Force, the department's highest award.[16] After the end of the Enron trial and the Justice Department's disbandment of the special task force, Monaco worked as a special counselor to FBI Director Robert Mueller. She was later chosen by Mueller to be his Deputy Chief of Staff,[17] and then his chief of staff, a position she held until January 2009.[12]

DOJ National Security Division[edit]

Monaco announces information related to charges for the 2011 alleged Iran assassination plot

In 2009, Monaco was appointed by United States Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden to serve as associate deputy attorney general focusing on national security issues. She later served as the principal associate deputy attorney general, the top aide to the deputy attorney general.[18] In 2011, Monaco was appointed by President Barack Obama to be the assistant attorney general for national security; leading the Justice Department division which oversees major counterterrorism and espionage cases, and authorizes the use of FISA warrants.[19] In that role, she oversaw the investigation of Mansour Arbabsiar for a plot directed by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to kill the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S.[20] She also made combatting cyber threats a top priority during her tenure, creating the first ever network of national security cyber specialist prosecutors from across the country.[21][22] Monaco has been involved in meetings and attempts to close down the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.[23][24]

Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor (2013-2017)[edit]

Monaco briefs President Barack Obama on the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing in the Diplomatic Reception Room before the President departed the White House, April 18, 2013

On January 25, 2013, President Barack Obama announced he would name Monaco to be his assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, the chief counterterrorism advisor to the President.[25] Monaco succeeded John Brennan, who was nominated by Obama to become the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.[26] Monaco took office on March 8, 2013, and became a statutory member of the United States Homeland Security Council.[27]

In this role, Monaco led U.S. policy to disrupt terrorist threats against the United States, including degrading Al-Qaeda and affiliates from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, putting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on a lasting path to defeat, and building partner capacity to prevent and disrupt terrorist threats.[28] She also led initiatives to expand collaboration with the private sector to counter ISIL's messaging and abuse of online platforms while lifting up alternative narratives.[29][30] Separately, she led a comprehensive hostage policy reform effort from 2014 to 2015 to better align and coordinate U.S. Government efforts and better serve affected families.[31]

On May 23, 2013, Daniel Klaidman, writing for the Daily Beast reported a White House official confirmed Monaco would handle "day-to-day responsibilities" for Guantanamo.[32] In late July 2014, Monaco answered a question as to whether the mandate to keep Guantanamo open would end when U.S. troops had effectively retired from Guantanamo.[33][34][35][36] Scholars at Lawfare interpreted Monaco's comment as a sign that the Obama Presidency would ask the United States Congress to pass legislation enabling Guantanamo to remain open after U.S. involvement in the Afghan war ended.[citation needed] In February 2016, the White House and Department of Defense presented a comprehensive plan to Congress to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.[37][38]

Monaco briefs President Obama, October 2014

In the Homeland Security Advisor role, Monaco was also President Obama's chief cybersecurity advisor. She drove the policy decision to create the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in 2015, to provide integrated all-source analysis of intelligence on foreign cyber threats and incidents affecting U.S. national interests similar to the National Counterterrorism Center on terrorist threats.[39][40][41] She also helped develop the Cybersecurity National Action Plan, which was released in February 2016, to guide the actions the U.S. Government took over the remaining duration of the Obama Administration and to put in place a long-term cybersecurity strategy, both within the federal government and across the country.[42] In July 2016, Monaco gave remarks at the International Conference on Cyber Security, outlining the Obama Administration's cyber policy and announcing its new directive laying out how the federal government responds to significant cyber incidents.[43]

Finally, over her tenure as President Obama's chief homeland security advisor, Monaco managed the United States response to Ebola and coordinated whole-of-government preparedness efforts to prevent its spread in the United States.[44][45] In January 2017, Monaco led the Principal-Level Exercise, convening outgoing and incoming Principals across the U.S. Government to share lessons learned during prior crises and discuss best practices in preparing for future crises.[46]

Career post-Obama Administration[edit]

In 2017, Monaco joined CNN as a national security analyst.[47] In 2019, Monaco joined international law firm O'Melveny & Myers as a partner, where she co-chaired the firm's Data Security and Privacy group.[48] During her time at O'Melveny & Myers, Monaco advised high-profile clients including ExxonMobil, Apple Inc., and her alma mater, Harvard University.[49] She also taught at NYU Law School and was a Fellow at the Reiss Center on Law and Security as well as the Belfer Center at Harvard's Kennedy School.

Monaco co-authored a piece in 2018 with public health expert Vin Gupta in Foreign Policy titled "The Next Pandemic Will Be Arriving Shortly", where she urged the U.S. government to prepare for the possibility of a future pandemic.[50]

Deputy Attorney General (2021-present)[edit]


In April 2020, it was announced that Monaco would assist with vetting efforts for the selection of Joe Biden's running mate in the 2020 presidential election.[51] Following Biden's election, Monaco was considered for several positions in the upcoming administration, including Attorney General.[52]

On January 6, 2021, Monaco was nominated to serve as Deputy Attorney General, the second most powerful position in the Department of Justice (DOJ).[53] Her nomination was endorsed by Senator Dick Durbin, who described her as "arguably the most qualified individual ever nominated to this position".

A hearing on her nomination before the Senate Judiciary Committee was held on March 9, 2021,[54] and she was confirmed by the Senate on April 20, 2021. She was sworn in the next day.[55] A coalition of progressive groups wrote in opposition to her nomination, arguing that Monaco's professional ties with Apple, currently under investigation by the DOJ, constituted a conflict of interest.[56]


As Deputy Attorney General, Monaco referred an investigation into the Trump Administration's subpoena of Apple to the Office of the Inspector General.[57] According to The Washington Post, Attorney General Merrick Garland has "tasked his deputy attorney general, Lisa Monaco, with “surfacing potentially problematic matters deserving high level review" since she took office.[58] In an October 2021 op-ed for CNBC, Monaco encouraged Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation that would standardize the reporting of breaches.[59]


  1. ^ "United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary". Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  2. ^ "Readout of Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco's First Day" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Justice. April 21, 2021. Retrieved April 21, 2021. Today, Lisa O. Monaco was sworn in as the 39th Deputy Attorney General (DAG) of the United States.
  3. ^ "Meet the Deputy Attorney General". April 21, 2021. Retrieved October 16, 2021.
  4. ^ CiaoAmerica (September 11, 2013). "Assistant to the President, Lisa Monaco, Speaks About Her Italian Roots at Bonaparte Ceremony". CiaoAmerica! Magazine. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  5. ^ Matt Viser (April 19, 2013). "Newton native in key counterterrorism job". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on May 26, 2013. Monaco's parents, Mary Lou and Anthony Monaco, still live in Newton. She attended Winsor School, a prestigious all-girls prep school in Boston known for its "Ivy pipeline."
  6. ^ United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (May 17, 2011). "Nomination of Lisa O. Monaco to be Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Department of Justice" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 14, 2013.
  7. ^ The Winsor School (March 8, 2013). "Alumna Selected for Top White House Counterterrorism Post". Archived from the original on September 29, 2013.
  8. ^ Practising Law Institute. "Lisa O. Monaco U.S. Department of Justice". Archived from the original on April 24, 2013. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  9. ^ University of Maryland (May 1993). "VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN THE RESPONSE TO RAPE: DETOURS ON THE ROAD TO EQUAL JUSTICE Prepared by the Majority Staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee". Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  10. ^ "Lisa Monaco '97 Nominated Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism". January 28, 2013. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013.
  11. ^ "Posts Tagged 'National Security Division'Meet Lisa Monaco". May 5, 2011. Archived from the original on January 17, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  12. ^ a b "Lisa Monaco Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (upon John Brennan's confirmation as CIA director)". Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  13. ^ Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs (June 28, 2011). "Attorney General Eric Holder Welcomes Confirmation of James Cole, Lisa Monaco and Virginia Seitz".
  14. ^ "Biographical information on 2 top Obama aides". Associated Press.
  15. ^ "Nomination of James Cole to be Deputy Attorney General". June 28, 2011. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  16. ^ "Deputy Attorney General James Cole Appoints Stuart M. Goldberg as Chief of Staff and Lisa O. Monaco as Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General". U.S. Department of Justice (Press release). January 26, 2011. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  17. ^ Federal Bureau of Investigation (March 20, 2007). "Lisa O. Monaco Named Deputy Chief of Staff and Counselor to FBI Director Mueller" (Press release). Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  18. ^ Charlie Savage (March 17, 2011). "Obama Acts on a Key Vacancy at Justice". Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  19. ^ Evan Perez (March 17, 2011). "Obama Nominates New National Security Prosecutor". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  20. ^ "Man Pleads Guilty in New York to Conspiring with Iranian Military Officials to Assassinate Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States" (Press release). U.S. Department of Justice. October 17, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  21. ^ Horwitz, Sari (July 25, 2012). "Justice Department trains prosecutors to combat cyber-espionage". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  22. ^ "Assistant Attorney General for National Security Lisa Monaco Speaks at the "2012 Cybercrime Conference"". U.S. Department of Justice (Press release). October 25, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  23. ^ Frank James (January 3, 2009). "Congress' Dems Still Irked By Obama On Gitmo, Tribunals". Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  24. ^ Dina Temple-Raston (February 3, 2012). "Justice Department Lawyers Play Role In Guantanamo". Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  25. ^ Carrie Johnson; Mark Memmott (January 25, 2013). "Obama Names New Chief Of Staff, New Counterterrorism Adviser". Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  26. ^ Adam Aigner-Treworgy (January 25, 2013). "Big shoes to fill: Replacing John Brennan". Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  27. ^ "Lisa O. Monaco |". September 30, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2017 – via National Archives.
  28. ^ "Remarks by Lisa O. Monaco at the Council on Foreign Relations - Kenneth A. Moskow Memorial Lecture |". March 7, 2016. Retrieved February 1, 2017 – via National Archives.
  29. ^ Svet, Oleg; Miller, Elissa (March 21, 2016). "What the real takeaway should be from White House engagement with Silicon Valley". TheHill. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  30. ^ Bhuiyan, Johana (January 8, 2016). "White House Asks Silicon Valley for Help Fighting Terrorism". Recode. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  31. ^ "Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest, 6/24/15 |". June 24, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2017 – via National Archives.
  32. ^ Daniel Klaidman (May 23, 2013). "All In on Gitmo: Obama Returns to Fight for a Shutdown". Daily Beast. Archived from the original on May 26, 2013. Wilner and his allies may soon get some good news. A White House official confirmed to The Daily Beast that Obama has asked his chief counterterrorism adviser, Lisa Monaco, to handle the day-to-day responsibilities for Guantanamo. Monaco has daily access to the president and clout within the national-security bureaucracy. She also has deep experience dealing with the Guantanamo conundrum. When she first joined the administration in 2009 as a senior Justice Department official, she worked on Gitmo.
  33. ^ Robert Chesney, Jack Goldsmith, Matthew Waxman, Benjamin Wittes (July 27, 2014). "A New White House Signal on AUMF Reform?". Lawfare. Archived from the original on July 28, 2014. Josh Gerstein of Politico reports that "[a] top White House official suggested Saturday that Congress pass new legislation to support President Barack Obama's authority to act against an array of terrorist groups not clearly linked to the September 11 attacks."{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  34. ^ Steve Vladeck (July 28, 2014). "Overreading Lisa Monaco on AUMF Reform". Just Security. Archived from the original on July 29, 2014. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  35. ^ Benjamin Wittes (July 28, 2014). "What Lisa Monaco actually said". Lawfare. Archived from the original on July 29, 2014. Retrieved July 28, 2014. Over at Just Security, Steve Vladeck objects to the piece Jack, Bobby, Matt and I wrote over the weekend on Lisa Monaco's AUMF comments at the Aspen Security Forum.
  36. ^ Josh Gerstein (July 27, 2014). "White House wants new OK for 'evolving' terror fight". Politico. Archived from the original on July 29, 2014. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  37. ^ Melanie Garunay (February 23, 2016). "President Obama Presents the Plan to Close Guantanamo: "This Is About Closing a Chapter in History" |". Retrieved February 1, 2017 – via National Archives.
  38. ^ Welna, David (July 29, 2015). "New Gitmo Plan Would Relocate Some Detainees To U.S. : Parallels". NPR. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  39. ^ "Cyber Threats and Vulnerabilities: Securing America's Most Important Assets". Wilson Center. February 10, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  40. ^ "Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa O. Monaco Strengthening our Nation's Cyber Defenses |". February 11, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2017 – via National Archives.
  41. ^ "Lisa Monaco Announces New Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center - Lawfare". Lawfare. February 10, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  42. ^ "FACT SHEET: Cybersecurity National Action Plan |". February 9, 2016. Retrieved February 1, 2017 – via National Archives.
  43. ^ "Remarks by APHSCT Lisa O. Monaco at the International Conference on Cyber Security". July 26, 2016. Retrieved February 1, 2017 – via National Archives.
  44. ^ "Press Briefing on Government Response to the Ebola Epidemic in West Africa, 10/3/2014 |". October 3, 2014. Retrieved February 1, 2017 – via National Archives.
  45. ^ Dennis, Steven T. (October 14, 2014). "White House Names Person Coordinating Ebola Response, Just Don't Call Her a 'Czar'". Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  46. ^ "Readout of the Principal-Level Transition Exercise |". January 14, 2017. Retrieved February 1, 2017 – via National Archives.
  47. ^ Jonas, Victoria (April 4, 2017). "April Ryan Joins CNN As Political Analyst". WHUR Radio. Archived from the original on September 23, 2018. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  48. ^ "O'Melveny Welcomes Former US Homeland Security Advisor and Senior Justice Department Official Lisa Monaco". O'Melveny & Myers. March 21, 2019.
  49. ^ "Compensation Snapshot: O'Melveny's Lisa Monaco, Biden Pick for Deputy Attorney General". National Law Journal. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
  50. ^ Gupta, Lisa Monaco, Vin. "The Next Pandemic Will Be Arriving Shortly". Foreign Policy. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
  51. ^ Thomas, Ken (April 30, 2020). "Joe Biden Names Advisers to Oversee Search for Running Mate". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  52. ^ "Biden Considering Lisa Monaco, Sally Yates For Attorney General". BloombergQuint. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  53. ^ Lynch, Sarah N. (January 6, 2021). "Biden to nominate Monaco, Clarke to top Justice Department posts: source". Reuters. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  54. ^ "Today's Headlines and Commentary". Lawfare. March 9, 2021.
  55. ^ Lynch, Sarah (April 20, 2021). "U.S. Senate confirms Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general". Reuters. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  56. ^ Birnbaum, Emily. "Takeaways from tech giants' latest lobbying disclosures". POLITICO. Retrieved October 16, 2021.
  57. ^ Breuninger, Kevin (June 11, 2021). "DOJ watchdog will probe reported Trump-era subpoenas of Apple for Democrats' data". CNBC. Retrieved October 16, 2021.
  58. ^ "Perspective | Garland inherited a booby-trapped DOJ. Here's why it won't be easy to fix". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved October 16, 2021.
  59. ^ General, Lisa O. Monaco, Deputy U. S. Attorney (October 6, 2021). "Op-Ed: America needs Congress's help to solve the ransomware threat". CNBC. Retrieved October 16, 2021.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Homeland Security Advisor
Succeeded by
Preceded by United States Deputy Attorney General