Benjamin Powell

October 30, 2012
Partner, WilmerHale; Former General Counsel, Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Benjamin Powell is a partner in the Regulatory and Government Affairs Department, and a member of the Defense, National Security and Government Contracts and Public Policy and Strategy Practice Groups. He is also a member of the firm’s Business Trial Group and Government and Regulatory Litigation Practice Group in the Litigation/Controversy Department. He joined the firm in 2009.

Mr. Powell’s practice focuses on government and regulatory litigation, public policy, commercial litigation, Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) issues, and advising on issues related to information technology. Most recently, Mr. Powell was General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). He previously served as Special Assistant to the President and Associate White House Counsel, Corporate Counsel at California-based Vitria Technology and as a litigator at a firm in Washington DC.

Mr. Powell was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate as General Counsel of the ODNI in 2006 and served as General Counsel to the first three Directors of National Intelligence. Mr. Powell’s work involved designing and implementing legal compliance and oversight mechanisms, litigation, international law, foreign investment, crisis management, congressional inquiries and investigations, privacy, legislation, cyber security and foreign affairs. He worked closely with Congress to modernize the laws governing electronic surveillance activities and private sector assistance to the government in national security matters. This effort resulted in passage of a landmark comprehensive bipartisan bill in 2008.

As an Associate Counsel and Special Assistant to the President, Mr. Powell’s responsibilities included numerous litigation and investigatory matters, and policy and legal work with the Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of Justice and Department of Commerce.

Immediately prior to his service at the White House, Mr. Powell was Corporate Counsel for Vitria Technology, an enterprise integration software company, where he handled a wide range of issues, including intellectual property, securities reporting, revenue recognition and international licensing and professional services transactions across Europe.

As a litigator, Mr. Powell was part of the trial team that won the largest antitrust verdict in history of $1.05 billion. He also handled massive discovery and pre-trial proceedings as part of the case, which concerned unlawful monopolization activities across the country in the wholesale and retail consumer products market.

Mr. Powell served in the United States Air Force from 1989 to 1993 and worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1988 and 1989.

Mr. Powell was recognized by the 2011 edition of The Legal 500 for his work in the technology: data protection and privacy field. He was cited as an “exceptional lawyer” who “provides clear guidance on complex technological issues.”

Mr. Powell was selected by Washingtonian magazine as one of the top lawyers in Washington DC in the area of national security law, 2011.

Mr. Powell received the Edmund J. Randolph award, the highest award from the Department of Justice, from the Attorney General in 2009 in recognition of his outstanding service to the Department of Justice.

He also received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal in 2009, the highest award presented by the Director of National Intelligence, for enduring and invaluable contributions to the safety and security of the Nation.

In May 2009, he received the National Security Agency’s Intelligence Under Law Award for his commitment to the conduct of intelligence activities under the rule of law. He is also the recipient of the Central Intelligence Agency Seal Medallion and the National Security Agency Bronze Medallion.

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