The Talent

February 4, 2009 8:04 PM

After Losing White-Collar Head, O'Melveny Nabs Ex-National Security Adviser

Posted by Brian Baxter

Ken Wainstein While O'Melveny & Myers lost white-collar practice group head James Asperger to Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges on Tuesday, the firm moved quickly to pick up an experienced white-collar specialist in Kenneth Wainstein, a former homeland security adviser to the Bush administration.

Sibling publication Legal Times reports that Wainstein began his career at the Justice Department in 1989, working as an assistant U.S. attorney in New York and Washington, D.C. Wainstein went on to become director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, general counsel and chief-of-staff for the FBI, and U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, where he named current O'Melveny white-collar partner Steve Bunnell as chief of the office's criminal division.

In March 2006 Wainstein was named the Justice Department's first assistant attorney general of the National Security Division. Under Wainstein's watch, the Justice Department ramped up prosecutions and investigations into defense contractors and arms exporters suspected of transferring sensitive technology to countries like China and Iran.

One of those inquiries resulted in a $100 million sanction against White Plains, N.Y.-based ITT Corporation in March 2007 to settle charges that a defense manufacturer subsidiary illegally exported restricted information on night vision technology to several nations.

As part of the settlement, ITT entered into a deferred prosecution agreement that permits it to invest $50 million in developing new night vision equipment for the Defense Department in lieu of paying the same amount as a deferred prosecution penalty.

In March 2008 Wainstein was appointed by President Bush to serve as his assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism, where he worked on national security efforts to strengthen border security and enhance emergency preparedness.

Legal Times reports that Wainstein will start at O'Melveny on April 1, where he will practice in the firm's white-collar defense and corporate investigations group. Until then, Wainstein will be working at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy in the area of counterterrorism.

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