Attorney Advisor

Office of Intelligence - Operations
Washington, DC 20530
United States
About the Office: 

The mission of the National Security Division (NSD) is to coordinate the Department’s efforts in carrying out its top priority of preventing and combating terrorism and protecting the national security.  NSD provides legal and policy advice on national security matters, litigates counterterrorism, counterespionage, and foreign intelligence surveillance matters, represents the Government before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and other federal trial and appellate courts, and conducts oversight of the activities of various Intelligence Community agencies.

Job Description: 

The Office of Intelligence (OI) of the National Security Division is seeking experienced attorneys for its Operations Section.  Attorneys in the Operations Section handle NSD’s intelligence operations workload, including representing the Government before the FISC.  The Operations Section is responsible for preparing and filing all applications for Court orders pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).  The mission of the Operations Section is to ensure that the FBI and other Intelligence Community agencies have the legal tools necessary to conduct intelligence operations in adherence with the requirements and safeguards of the law.  The Operations Section is currently divided into three operational units: the Counterterrorism Unit, the Counterintelligence Unit, and the Special Operations Unit.  The Operations Section also works with OI’s Oversight Section on various matters, including overseeing compliance with FISC orders.  In addition, the Operations Section closely coordinates with the FBI and other Intelligence Community agencies on intelligence operational matters and provides legal advice to other government agencies on matters relating to FISA and other national security laws and governing authorities.  Due to the unique national security mission of OI, attorneys hired into the Operations Section may be transferred to one of OI’s other two sections, Oversight or Litigation, depending on the needs of the office.



Applicants must possess a J.D. degree with at least three years of post J.D. experience and be an active member of a bar (any jurisdiction).  Applicants must have superior academic credentials, possess excellent analytical and writing skills, and have the dedication and capacity to work independently in a very demanding environment.  Past experience in the national security or intelligence field is not required. 


Candidates selected for an attorney position with NSD are expected to make a three-year commitment to NSD.


Applicants must be able to qualify for the highest and most sensitive security clearances.


Only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the National Security Division.


Current salary and years of experience determine the appropriate salary level: (GS-13) $94,796 - $123,234 per annum; (GS-14) $112,021 - $145,629 per annum; (GS-15) $131,767 - $161,900 per annum
Occasional travel may be required.
Application Process: 

Please submit a cover letter highlighting your relevant skills and experience and describing why you are interested in working with OI, a copy of your resume with a writing sample (we encourage you to submit a legal memorandum or brief), and a current performance appraisal (if a current performance appraisal is available) to:


                        U.S. Department of Justice

                        National Security Division

                        950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

                        Suite 6150

                        Washington, D.C. 20530

                        ATTN: Aprel Thompson/Operations Vacancy


Or apply by email to: with the subject line “Operations Vacancy.”


No telephone calls please.

This and selected other legal position announcements can be found on the internet at:         


For more information about the National Security Division, please visit the NSD Web page at:


Relocation Expenses: 
Relocation expenses are not authorized.
Updated November 17, 2017

*         *         *

Department Policies

Equal Employment Opportunity:  The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer.  Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination because of color, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, disability (physical or mental), age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as a parent, membership or non-membership in an employee organization, on the basis of personal favoritism, or any other non-merit factor.  The Department of Justice welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities. The Department is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department of Justice.

Reasonable Accommodations:  This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency.  Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Outreach and Recruitment for Qualified Applicants with Disabilities:   The Department encourages qualified applicants with disabilities, including individuals with targeted/severe disabilities to apply in response to posted vacancy announcements.  Qualified applicants with targeted/severe disabilities may be eligible for direct hire, non-competitive appointment under Schedule A (5 C.F.R. § 213.3102(u)) hiring authority.  Individuals with targeted/severe disabilities are encouraged to register for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Shared List of People with Disabilities (the Bender Disability Employment Registry) by submitting their resume to and referencing "Federal Career Opportunities" in the subject line.  Additional information about the Bender Registry is available at  Individuals with disabilities may also contact one of the Department’s Disability Points of Contact (DPOC).  See list of DPOCs.    

Suitability and Citizenship:  It is the policy of the Department to achieve a drug-free workplace and persons selected for employment will be required to pass a drug test which screens for illegal drug use prior to final appointment.  Employment is also contingent upon the completion and satisfactory adjudication of a background investigation. Congress generally prohibits agencies from employing non-citizens within the United States, except for a few narrow exceptions as set forth in the annual Appropriations Act (see, Pursuant to DOJ component policies, only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Trustee’s Offices, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Unless otherwise indicated in a particular job advertisement, qualifying non-U.S. citizens meeting immigration and appropriations law criteria may apply for employment with other DOJ organizations. However, please be advised that the appointment of non-U.S. citizens is extremely rare; such appointments would be possible only if necessary to accomplish the Department's mission and would be subject to strict security requirements. Applicants who hold dual citizenship in the U.S. and another country will be considered on a case-by-case basis. All DOJ employees are subject to a residency requirement. Candidates who have lived outside the United States for two or more of the past five years will likely have difficulty being approved for appointments by the Department Security Staff. The two-year period is cumulative, not necessarily consecutive. Federal or military employees, or dependents of federal or military employees serving overseas, are excepted from this requirement.

Veterans:  There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Department of Justice considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans' preference must include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation (e.g., the DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and other supporting documentation) to their submissions. Although the "point" system is not used, per se, applicants eligible to claim 10-point preference must submit Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and submit the supporting documentation required for the specific type of preference claimed (visit the OPM website, for a copy of SF 15, which lists the types of 10-point preferences and the required supporting document(s). Applicants should note that SF 15 requires supporting documentation associated with service- connected disabilities or receipt of nonservice-connected disability pensions to be dated 1991 or later except in the case of service members submitting official statements or retirement orders from a branch of the Armed Forces showing that his  or her retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that he/she was transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).


*         *         *


This and other vacancy announcements can be found under Attorney Vacancies and Volunteer Legal Internships. The Department of Justice cannot control further dissemination and/or posting of information contained in this vacancy announcement. Such posting and/or dissemination is not an endorsement by the Department of the organization or group disseminating and/or posting the information.