Longtime prosecutor David O’Neil will become the acting head of the criminal division at the Justice Department, a position that puts him in charge of a vast portfolio ranging from financial fraud investigations to public corruption and kleptocracy among foreign leaders.
O’Neil had most recently worked as chief of staff to the Deputy U.S. Attorney General, focusing on oversight of criminal cases and white collar fraud investigations as well as the fallout from cascading leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. In January, O’Neil brokered a deal with technology companies that paved the way for them to report how many times the government had requested sensitive national security information about subscribers and customers.
His history with the Justice Department, though, stretches back to 2006. He started as an assistant U.S. attorney in Manhattan, moved to the Solicitor General’s office and argued three cases before the Supreme Court before joining the staff of Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole to work on national security issues. O’Neil previously worked as a law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and at the law firm WilmerHale.
He’ll replace Mythili Raman, who left the department yesterday after quietly playing a central role at the criminal division through most of President Obama’s time in office.
“Dave is an exceptional lawyer and I am confident that his experience, judgment and integrity will serve him extraordinarily well in leading the Criminal Division,” Raman said.
O’Neil, like Raman before him, is taking over the role temporarily, while President Obama nominee Leslie Caldwell awaits a confirmation vote by the Senate.