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Stuart A. Levey

Outgoing Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (July 2004-March 2011)

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Why He Matters

Levey fought a war that no one saw. There was no bloodshed, no guns and no soldiers. He fought this war with bank accounts and financial transactions as the man at the Treasury Department tracking and attempting to dismantle terrorist organizations or rogue nations' ability to fund anti-American efforts.

As the first person to fill the revised role of under secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Levey assumed the position in 2004 under President George W. Bush. In March 2009, President Barack Obama announced Levey would continue in the role. Levey also served as interim Treasury secretary after Obama took office while now-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner awaited Senate confirmation.

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At a Glance

  • Career History: Bush Justice Department (2001 to 2004) working in various roles including Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General, Associate Deputy Attorney General and Chief of Staff for Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson
  • Hometown: Akron, Ohio
  • Alma Mater: Harvard University, 1986; Harvard, J.D., 1989
  • Web site
 

Path to Power

A trained lawyer and Harvard graduate, Levey grew up near Akron, Ohio, where his father had practiced dentistry. Levey graduated from Harvard in 1986, and then earned a law degree from the school in 1989.

After school, Levey started his career as an aide to District of Columbia U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Laurence Silberman. He practiced law for the next 11 years in Washington, D.C., where he specialized in defending people charged with white-collar crimes.

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The Issues

By 2003, many of the Treasury law-enforcement officials at had moved to the newly-created Homeland Security Department, including the under secretary of enforcement. The role of Treasury under secretary of enforcement remained vacant for over a year as the Treasury began to overhaul its anti-terror strategy, which now focuses on freezing terrorist funding.

In 2004, Bush announced that Levey would fill the empty position. With the change in strategy, Levey's main job was blocking the funding to anti-American terrorist organizations.

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The Network

Levey worked as former Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft's deputy from 2001 to 2004. He then joined the Bush Treasury Department under Secretary John W. Snow. Henry M. Paulson replaced Snow as the head of the Treasury in 2006, and continued through the final days of the Bush administration. Levey continues at the Treasury under Obama Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Joining Levey at the Treasury will likely be Deputy Secretary Neal S. Wolin and fellow undersecretary Lael Brainard.

 

Campaign Contributions

From 1998 to 2000, Levey donated $1,450, all of it to Republican candidates. In 2000, he donated $1,000 to George W. Bush's presidential campaign.

 

Additional Resources

  1. "Senate confirms Levey as Treasury enforcement head," Reuters News, July 22, 2004
  2. Wright, Robin, "Stuart Levey's War," The New York Times, Nov. 2, 2008
  3. Achenbach, Joel and Goldstein, Amy, "For Political Appointees, a Trickle-In Theory," The Washington Post, Jan. 24, 2009
  4. Anderson, John Ward, "Belgium Rules Sifting of Bank Data Illegal," The Washington Post, Sept. 29, 2006
  5. Rega, John and Hayden, Jones, "Swift's bank-data transfers to U.S. violated privacy rules, EU says," Bloomberg News via The Toronto Star, Nov. 24, 2006
  6. Wright, Robin, "Stuart Levey's War," The New York Times, Nov. 2, 2008
  7. Wright, Robin, "Stuart Levey's War," The New York Times, Nov. 2, 2008
  8. Meyer, Josh and Miller, Greg, "U.S. Secretly Tracks Global Bank Data," Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2006
  9. Gellman, Barton; Blustein, Paul and Linzer, Dafna, "Bank Records Secretly Tapped," The Washington Post, June 23, 2006
  10. "US Treasury's Levey says Iran sanctions bearing fruit," Agence France Presse, July 26, 2007
  11. Wright, Robin, "Stuart Levey's War," The New York Times, Nov. 2, 2008
  12. Rozen, Laura, Politico, "Treasury sanctions czar Levey to step down," January 23, 2011
  13. Gellman, Barton; Blustein, Paul and Linzer, Dafna, "Bank Records Secretly Tapped," The Washington Post, June 23, 2006
  14. Center for Responsive Politics
  15. Department of the Treasury Web site
  16. Lichtenblau, Eric and Risen, James, The New York Times, "Bank Data Is Sifted by U.S. in Secret to Block Terror," June 23, 2006