Lisa Monaco, the Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division, has been tapped to replace John Brennan as the White House’s deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism.
The 44-year-old Monaco’s new position depends on the Senate confirming Brennan as the new Central Intelligence Agency director.
“For the last four years, Lisa has been one of my most trusted advisors on national security matters and I am thrilled by this announcement,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. ”Lisa has no rival when it comes to her dedication to this nation, her experience in national security issues and her excellent judgment.”
Monaco is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. In the 2000s, she served on a task force prosecuting fraud at the energy and commodities trading firm Enron, including serving as co-lead counsel in the trial of five former executives. She came to Justice Department headquarters after a stint as chief of staff to FBI Director Robert Mueller III.
As the Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General, Monaco advised the department’s No. 2 official on criminal, national security and other matters. She was tapped to head the National Security Division in 2011, after Assistant Attorney General David Kris resigned in March of that year. The Senate confirmed Monaco to head the NSD in June 2011.
Monaco was also a counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno from 1998 to 2001.
Members of the close-knit community of current and former government national security officials praised Monaco.
“Lisa is wise beyond her years,” said Andrew Weissmann, general counsel of the FBI. “Notably, she keeps her cool under fire. Those qualities will continue to serve her and our country well.”
Ken Wainstein, who served as the first head of the National Security Division after it was created during the George W. Bush administration, told NPR: “The job requires a deep understanding of the interagency bureaucracy … a strong background in the x’s and o’s of national security operations, and strong leadership ability — and I think she brings all that in abundance,” Wainstein said. Like Monaco, Wainstein moved from the National Security Division into the White House’s top homeland security advisory position during the Bush administration.