The Lawfare Podcast: Foreign Agents and the Barrack Indictment

Jen Patja, Natalie K. Orpett, Alex Iftimie
Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With
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This past Monday, the criminal trial of Thomas Barrack began in federal court in the Eastern District of New York. Barrack, who served as an informal advisor to the 2016 Trump campaign and then as chair of Trump's inaugural committee, is alleged to have acted as a foreign agent of the United Arab Emirates. According to the indictment, Barrack acted as a back channel for the UAE to influence U.S. foreign policy.

Lawfare executive editor Natalie Orpett sat down with Alex Iftimie, a partner at the law firm Morrison Foerster, and a former Department of Justice attorney specializing in national security matters, including the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, and related statutes. They discussed the case against Barrack, the significance of the charges to broader enforcement strategy, and why foreign influence matters for U.S. national security.


Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Natalie Orpett is the executive editor of Lawfare and deputy general counsel of the Lawfare Institute. She was previously an attorney at the law firm Jenner & Block, where she focused on investigations and government controversies, and also maintained an active pro bono practice. She served as civilian counsel to a defendant in the Guantanamo Military Commissions for more than eight years. She also served as counsel to the National Security and Foreign Policy Legal Team of the Biden-Harris Transition Team.
Alex Iftimie is a former U.S. Department of Justice national security official. He served as counselor to the attorney general, counsel and deputy chief of staff to the assistant attorney general for national security, attorney advisor in the National Security Division, and as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. He is currently a partner and co-chair of the Global Risk + Crisis Management practice at Morrison & Foerster LLP.

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