Assistant Attorney General for National Security: Who Is John Carlin?

John Carlin testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

John Carlin testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SOURCE: Steve Straehley,

John P. Carlin was confirmed as head of the National Security Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) by the U.S. Senate on April 1, 2014. He had filled the post in an acting capacity since March 8, 2013, and was nominated to the position on a permanent basis by President Barack Obama on September 10, 2013.

Carlin was born in New York City in 1973 and grew up there. His father Roy is an attorney and his mother Patricia is a teacher and poet. Carlin attended Williams College with a junior year abroad at Oxford, earning a degree in English and political science in 1995. His college thesis was on Shakespeare as a political philosopher. After graduation, he spent a year as a program manager at Freedom House, an organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom throughout the world. He also ran the successful 1996 campaign of Gifford Miller for New York City Council. Carlin then enrolled at Harvard Law, earning his J.D. in 1999.

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