News and Press Releases

Led Reorganization and Refocusing of Federal Law Enforcement Resources
Following 9-11 Attacks

December 14, 2006

United States Attorney John McKay announced today that he will resign as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington effective January 26, 2007. After more than five years as the top federal law enforcement official in Western Washington, McKay will be returning to the private sector.

“I have been privileged to serve President Bush, and the people of Western Washington as United States Attorney. Our work in the United States Attorney’s Office has increased the safety and security of our community, while carefully safeguarding civil rights,” McKay said.

John McKay was nominated by President Bush to be United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington on September 19, 2001, just days after the attacks of September 11th. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on October 24, 2001, and began his tenure October 30, 2001.
McKay’s tenure as United States Attorney has been marked by a number of key initiatives designed to enhance law enforcement efforts in the Western District of Washington. McKay reorganized the office to address priorities such as terrorism, organized crime, identity theft and methamphetamine abuse. McKay initiated and lead efforts to establish Northwest LInX, (Law Enforcement Information Exchange) an innovative computer network that allows state, local and federal law enforcement agencies to share information. The LInX system now connects 113 law enforcement agencies and has been instrumental in solving countless crimes, and is being copied by numerous jurisdictions around the country.

United States Attorney McKay spearheaded efforts to reach out to minority communities concerned about racial and ethnic profiling following the September 11th attacks. McKay organized meetings between law enforcement leaders and leaders in the Arab-American and Muslim communities to promote better understanding and cooperation.

Under McKay’s leadership the United States Attorney’s Office has significantly improved productivity, despite declining budgets. The office has established itself as a national leader in prosecuting computer crimes, identity theft and multi-national criminal drug organizations. McKay has worked to build bridges between Canadian and U.S. law enforcement to combat cross border crime, and has enhanced federal law enforcement resources in the fast growing counties of Southwest Washington.

During McKay’s tenure, he personally prosecuted important cases, including the sentencing and appeals of Ahmed Ressam, the first terrorist captured on U.S. soil with an explosive device. McKay was a lead negotiator in the $35 million settlement between the Department of Justice and the University of Washington over illegal billing by doctors at UW Physicians. At McKay’s urging the FBI continues to make the investigation of the assassination of Assistant United States Attorney Tom Wales a top priority.

Prior to his appointment, McKay served as President of Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in Washington D.C. Congress established LSC in 1974 as a private non-profit corporation to ensure justice under the law for all low income Americans. From 1989 to 1990 McKay served as a White House Fellow, where he worked as Special Assistant to the Director of the FBI. Following his graduation from Creighton Law School in Nebraska, McKay was a litigation partner at Lane Powell Spears Lubersky in Seattle, and later was a managing partner at the Seattle law firm of Cairncross & Hempelmann.

Crediting the success of the United States Attorney’s Office to his staff, McKay said, “I am privileged to work with so many outstanding lawyers, staff and agents in this district,” and added he is looking forward to seeking new challenges after his departure in January.

United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez has the authority to appoint an interim United States Attorney whose term lasts until a new United States Attorney is nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

For interviews with John McKay or additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110. A full biography of John McKay is available on the U.S. Attorney’s website.

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