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John Bellinger III

Playing the role of Secretary of State

John B. Bellinger III Partner, Arnold & Porter
Former Legal Advisor to the US State Department and the National Security Council

John B. Bellinger III is a partner in the public international law and national security law practices of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP in Washington, DC. He is also Adjunct Senior Fellow in International and National Security Law at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Mr. Bellinger served as the Legal Advisor for the US Department of State under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from April 2005 to January 2009. He previously managed Secretary Rice’s Senate confirmation and co-directed her State Department transition team. Mr. Bellinger represented the United States before the International Court of Justice in Mexico v. United States (Medellin) and the Iran-US Claims Tribunal and negotiated a number of treaties and international agreements, including the Third Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions. He received the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award in 2009.

Mr. Bellinger served from 2001 to 2005 as Senior Associate Counsel to the President and Legal Advisor to the National Security Council at the White House, where he was the principal lawyer for the National Security Advisor and the NSC staff; he was in the White House Situation Room on 9-11. He previously served as Counsel for National Security Matters in the Criminal Division of the Justice Department (1997-2001), as Special Counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (1996), and as Special Assistant to Director of Central Intelligence William Webster (1988-1991).

He is a member of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on International Law; one of four US Members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague; and a member of the US "National Group," which nominates judges to the International Court of Justice. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Executive Council of the American Law Institute, and the Boards of Directors of the Stimson Center and the American Ditchley Foundation. Mr. Bellinger testifies regularly before Congress, has lectured at numerous US and foreign universities and law schools, and is the author of many articles and op-eds on international law issues. He is a senior contributor to the Lawfare blog.

Mr. Bellinger received his AB from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, his JD from Harvard Law School, and an MA in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia.