Dana J. Boente, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. (Courtesy of Department of Justice)

Veteran federal prosecutor Dana Boente was formally sworn in as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Friday at a courthouse ceremony in Alexandria.

Boente, who was nominated to the position and confirmed by the U.S. Senate last year, is a 31-year veteran of the Justice Department, having previously worked in the tax division and as an interim attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia and the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who was among a long list of high-profile local and federal officials at the ceremony, said Boente was one of the department’s “consummate utility players” who notably had led the public corruption prosecutions of former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell (R), former U.S. representative William J. Jefferson (D-La.) and former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin (D).

“He is that reliable middle child, the one you could always count on to be there for you,” Lynch said.

The U.S. attorney’s job in the Eastern District of Virginia is an important and high-profile one. The Eastern District is home to the CIA and the Pentagon, and its prosecutors often handle terrorism and national security cases, such as the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, a conspirator in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. If Edward Snowden is ever returned to the United States, the government would bring its case against the former National Security Agency contractor through the district.

The office has about 300 lawyers and other employees working in Alexandria, Richmond, Norfolk and Newport News.

For his part, Boente spoke at length about his mother, who raised him and his siblings after their father died in their youth. “She gave us opportunities that she never had,” Boente said, his mother looking on.

Boente said when he started his career in the Justice Department, he figured he would work for a few years, then return to the Midwest, taking a job at a big firm that would leave him unhappy but “well compensated.” He promised he would “do my best” in leading the office.