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Name and title: John Bellinger III, legal adviser Age: 46 “Plum place to work”: As senior legal adviser to the U.S. Department of State, Bellinger holds what he considers “one of the most interesting jobs in the federal government . . . in a plum place to work.” The State Department is immersed in diplomacy and global affairs, foreign and civil service, international development, intelligence and counterterrorism. Arms control, economic affairs, international law enforcement, health and environmental issues are daily concerns. Global travel, embassy and consulate operations, the Peace Corps and even the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office are additional examples of its far-flung activities. The department is administered by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, with whom Bellinger said he “starts and ends” each workday. Weighty responsibilities: Bellinger described himself as a generalist in a specialized area. He has morphed into an expert who advises the president and secretary of state on domestic and international laws as they relate to national security and foreign policy. His involvement ranges from “grand issues” like United Nations Security Council resolutions or determining the legality of going to war, to the more prosaic-but “for better or for worse” he grapples mostly with the “Topic-A, front-page” issues. In the past year, Bellinger has received increased exposure in the news media responding to controversies surrounding the Geneva Conventions, prisoner detentions at Guant�namo Bay, Cuba, and alleged acts of torture by the government. Such public diplomacy, he said, makes his job substantially different from that of other general counsel, or even of his immediate predecessor, William Howard Taft IV. Bellinger said Rice considers him part of her “inner circle.” He works with her in explaining the U.S. government’s legal positions to other countries, and tries to convey a sense of its commitment to international obligations, adherence to treaties and its role in international criminal justice. In April 2004, when the secretary of state appeared before the national Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, he was involved in the hearing as legal adviser to the National Security Council (NSC). Daily duties: Along with matters of great importance, Bellinger’s office handles civil suits, document disclosure and declassification and criminal cases. The Freedom of Information Act and general personnel issues also get his attention. Ethics rules govern State Department appointments, and Bellinger and his staff participate as candidates undergo ethics reviews or seek conflict-of-interest waivers. The foreign offices of every country have counterparts to his operations-although, more often than not, the responsibilities are split between a section devoted to hearings, treaties and foreign laws, and a group managing the less substantial tasks. Bellinger also interacts with his peers in all the other federal departments. As a result of his earlier four-year stint at the White House coordinating their work, he has become familiar with the various lawyers and Cabinet members. Bellinger noted that some of the perks of a lawyer in private practice elude an attorney serving the government. There is a limited budget, considering the stakes. He said he tries to manage his department as if it were a medium-sized law firm, and strives to make it as enjoyable a place to work as possible, to compensate for the lack of material benefits. Legal team: Bellinger’s department comprises 165 attorneys, augmented by 140 additional professionals and support staff. As security concerns preclude the retention of outside counsel, the legal work is performed entirely in-house, with the use of consultants under limited circumstances. Globetrotter: State’s legal adviser has argued cases in Berlin; Copenhagen, Denmark; Moscow; The Hague, Netherlands; Geneva; and London. He travels “pretty extensively,” generally one week per month, particularly to Europe. The peripatetic attorney regularly meets with foreign government officials, ambassadors and legal advisers-most recently with his Norwegian counterpart. He made the distinction that he is not involved with foreign laws; he deals with international laws. And he maintained that having good lawyering skills is even more important than having international expertise for someone in his position. Route to present position: Bellinger joined the State Department in January 2005 as senior adviser to Rice, whose transition from national security adviser he had co-directed. He had joined the administration in 2001, serving as senior associate counsel to President George W. Bush and legal adviser to the NSC. He consulted with the president, the national security adviser, NSC principals and staff, and White House personnel on a broad range of national security and international legal matters. He was an essential party in drafting the 2004 law that created the position of director of national intelligence. From 1997 to 2001, under President Bill Clinton, Bellinger acted as counsel for national security matters in the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice. His previous posts included counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (in 1996), general counsel to the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the U.S. Intelligence Community (1995-1996) and special assistant to William Webster, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (1988-1991). From 1991 to 1995, Bellinger practiced law as an associate, then partner, in the Washington office of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr). Personal: Bellinger fills his spare time with hiking, cycling and spending time with his children. He and his wife, Dawn, are the parents of a pair of daughters: Catharine, 15; and Ann, 14. Paris-born Bellinger holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University (1982), a juris doctorate from Harvard (1986) and a master’s degree in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia (1991). Last book and movie: Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow, and Inside Man.

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