James Baker

Former FBI General Counsel CEO

James Baker is a former American government official who served as general counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). A former federal prosecutor, he worked on all aspects of national security investigations and prosecutions, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), during his long career at the U.S. Department of Justice. 


Between 2001-2011, Baker served as a senior staffer at the Justice Department, where he was head of the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review and later Associate Deputy Attorney General. He provided the Attorney General, the U.S. Intelligence Community, and the White House with legal and policy advice on a range of national security issues, and conducted oversight of the Intelligence Community, including the FBI, on behalf of the Attorney General. 


After leaving the FBI, Baker joined the Brookings Institution as a visiting Fellow in Governance Studies and the Lawfare Institute as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow. From 2019-2020 he was the Director of National Security and Cybersecurity at the R Street Institute. He has also worked in the private sector at Verizon, Bridgewater Associates, and Twitter. 


Baker is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and received a J.D. and M.A. from the University of Michigan. He has taught national security law at Harvard Law School since 2009.