Skip to main content

Deborah Curtis, former Deputy General Counsel for Litigation and Investigations at the CIA, is a member of the firm’s White Collar Defense & Investigations practice. She focuses on sensitive investigations and defense, as well as other litigation and enforcement matters. An accomplished trial lawyer, Deborah has first-chaired 17 jury trials and over 50 bench trials as both prosecutor and defense counsel.

Deborah leverages nearly three decades of experience in leadership roles at the CIA; Main DOJ; the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the District of Columbia and Southern District of California; and the Air Force, to provide clients with seasoned judgment and deft advocacy during difficult times. As adviser to senior CIA leadership, Deborah oversaw all litigation and investigations at CIA, including congressional inquests, crisis response, criminal inquiries, and the invocation of state secrets and diplomatic privileges and immunities. Prior to her tenure at CIA, Deborah was Chief Counsel for Industry and Security (BIS) at the U.S. Department of Commerce where she co-drafted the first Huawei semiconductor foreign direct product rule and advised on CFIUS matters. She previously spent more than a decade at DOJ, including as Deputy Chief in the National Security Division’s Counterespionage Section, where she oversaw all Treasury Department sanctions and export control criminal prosecutions nationwide.

Deborah was an Assistant U.S. Attorney and Deputy Chief in the National Security Section for the District of Columbia and, previously, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California’s Criminal Division. She also served for ten years with the U.S. Department of the Air Force as an active duty and reserve Judge Advocate, attaining the grade of Major.


  • Independent Counsel for the District of Columbia appointed to conduct review of high-profile sexual harassment investigation, evaluate broader claims of sex-related workplace malfeasance, and recommend policy changes.
  • Leading global critical digital infrastructure provider in evaluating possible violations of Commerce Department’s Huawei foreign direct product rule.
  • Military avionics company in navigating criminal and administrative investigations into possible export control violations.
  • Government Senior Executive in confidential reporting of sex discrimination and potential classified information security violations.
  • At DOJ, supervised the investigation and prosecution of a subsidiary of the world’s largest oilfield services company for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and Sudan and resulted in $230 million financial penalty.*
  • At DOJ, prosecuted former member of White House National Space Council for espionage for providing classified information to a person he believed to be an Israeli intelligence officer.
  • At DOJ, supervised the prosecution of UniCredit Bank AG (UCB AG), for violations of U.S. sanctions, resulting in $1.3 billion financial penalty.*
  • At DOJ, prosecuted Academi LLC, formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide and Xe Services LLC, resulting in a $7.5 million criminal fine and $42 million settlement for violations of U.S. export control laws, after a five-year, multi-agency federal investigation.*
  • At DOJ, supervised the prosecution of Russian national who pled guilty to conspiracy to act in the U.S. as an unregistered agent of Russia.*

*Matter completed prior to joining the firm.


Curtis Discusses DOJ’s Approach to DPA Violations with GIR
Global Investigations Review
“Let This Be a Warning”: BIS Threatens Denial Order for Substandard Corporate Compliance
Enforcement Edge: Shining Light on Government Enforcement
The Future of Crypto - Regulatory Uncertainty and the Way Forward
Panelist, Blockchain Expo North America
The Boeing DPA Breach: DOJ Prosecutors Place Themselves Squarely in the Business of Corporate Compliance
Enforcement Edge: Shining Light on Government Enforcement
Voluntary Self-Disclosures: Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You
Enforcement Edge: Shining Light on Government Enforcement


Presidential Rank Award (2023)



  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 1994, cum laude, Alan J. Goldstein Memorial Award
  • B.S., University of Southern California, 1991, cum laude, Beta Gamma Sigma National Honor Society, Dean's List


  • District of Columbia
  • California

Government & Military Service

  • Deputy General Counsel for Litigation and Investigations, Central Intelligence Agency (2020-2023)
  • Chief Counsel for Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce (2019-2020)
  • Deputy Chief for National Security; Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice (2015-2019)
  • Deputy Chief for Export Control and Sanctions and Trial Attorney, Counterespionage Section, U.S. Department of Justice (2007-2015)
  • Associate Deputy General Counsel, U.S. Department of the Air Force (2005-2007)
  • Judge Advocate, U.S. Department of the Air Force (1997-2005)
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney (adjunct), U.S. Department of Justice (1995-1997)


  • Adjunct Professor, Strategic Intelligence & Public Policy, Georgetown Law (2024-present)
  • Leadership Council Member, Leadership Council for Women in National Security (2024-present)
  • Senior Lecturer (Public Policy), University of Virginia, "National Security in the Age of New Technology"