Former Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State and the National Security Council
John B. Bellinger III is a partner in the international and national security practices of Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, DC. He advises sovereign governments and U.S. and foreign companies on a variety of international law and U.S. national security law issues, including foreign policy sanctions, foreign investment in the U.S., and the extraterritorial application of U.S. civil and criminal statutes. He is also an Adjunct Senior Fellow in International and National Security Law at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he directs the Program on International Justice.
Mr. Bellinger served as The Legal Adviser for the U.S. Department of State under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from April 2005 to January 2009. He previously managed Secretary Rice’s Senate confirmation and co-directed her State Department transition team. As Legal Adviser, a Senate-confirmed position, he directed a staff of 180 lawyers who advise the Secretary of State, U.S. Ambassadors, and the State Department on U.S. and international law applicable to U.S. foreign policy. Mr. Bellinger negotiated a number of treaties and international agreements, including the Third Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions and represented the United States before the International Court of Justice in Mexico v. United States (Medellin) and the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal. He received the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award in 2009.
Mr. Bellinger served from February 2001 to January 2005 as Senior Associate Counsel to the President and Legal Adviser to the National Security Council at the White House, where he was Dr. Rice’s principal lawyer when she was National Security Adviser. He previously served as Counsel for National Security Matters in the Criminal Division of the Justice Department during the Clinton Administration (1997-2001), as Special Counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (1996), and as Special Assistant to Director of Central Intelligence William Webster (1988-1991).
Mr. Bellinger received his A.B. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1982, his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1986, and an M.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia in 1991. He is a Councilor to the American Society of International Law and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Council on Germany, and the American Law Institute. He is a member of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law and one of four U.S. members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. Mr. Bellinger speaks regularly on US and foreign radio and television, has lectured at numerous U.S. and foreign universities and law schools, and is the author of numerous articles on international law issues, including op-eds in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, and The International Herald Tribune.