Juan Carlos Zarate, Esq. is a senior advisor to the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the senior national security consultant and analyst for CBS News. As Former Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism during the George W. Bush administration, Zarate is a unique speaker due to his ability to address both issues of high-level, strategic concerns and their nitty-gritty details. He addresses national security, finance, crisis management, global risk, and the financial methods of fighting terrorism.
A noted expert on national security, Juan Zarate served as the deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for combating terrorism from 2005 to 2009. In this role, Zarate was responsible for developing and overseeing the effective implementation of the U.S. government’s counterterrorism strategy. He was also responsible for overseeing all policies related to transnational security threats, including counternarcotics, maritime security, hostages, international organized crime, money laundering, and critical energy infrastructure protection.
A noted commentator on national security issues, with a weekly show for CBS News called Flash Points, Zarate is a recognized author with several publications, including Harnessing the Financial Furies: Smart Financial Power and National Security, a book on the impact of U.S. foreign policy on democratization in Central America entitled Forging Democracy and The Emergence of New Dog of War, a groundbreaking article on the growing use of private military and security companies by nation states.
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Prior to joining the National Security Council, Juan Zarate served as the first assistant secretary of the Treasury for terrorist financing and financial crimes. At the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI), he led the Treasury’s domestic and international efforts to attack terrorist financing, build comprehensive anti-money laundering systems, and expand the use of Treasury powers to advance national security interests. This included the development of a new brand of financial power that has been used to pressure North Korea, Iran, and other rogue actors.
Zarate also led the U.S. government’s global efforts to hunt Saddam Hussein’s assets, resulting in the return of more than $3 billion of Iraqi assets from the U.S. and around the world. For his service, Zarate received the Treasury Medal.
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Prior to working at the Department of the Treasury, Zarate served as a federal prosecutor in the Department of Justice’s Terrorism and Violent Crime Section, where he worked on terrorism cases, including the USS Cole investigation. Zarate previously worked as a federal law clerk for Chief Judge Judith Keep in the Southern District of California.
Juan Zarate is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University, a cum laude graduate and current professor at Harvard Law School, and a Rotary International Fellow at the Universidad de Salamanca, Spain.