John B. Bellinger III is adjunct senior fellow for international and national security law at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is also a partner at Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, DC, where he advises sovereign governments and companies on a variety of international law and U.S. national security law issues.
From 2005 to 2009, Bellinger was the legal advisor for the U.S. Department of State under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He led the U.S. delegation in numerous treaty negotiations and presentations to international bodies and represented the United States before the International Court of Justice in Mexico v. United States of America (Medellin) and before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal. Before his confirmation as legal advisor, he managed Secretary Rice’s Senate confirmation and codirected her State Department transition team. Bellinger served from 2001 to 2005 as senior associate counsel to the president and legal advisor to the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House, where he was the principal lawyer for the national security advisor, the NSC, and the NSC staff. He previously served as counsel for national security matters in the criminal division of the Justice Department during the Clinton administration, as special counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and as special assistant to Director of Central Intelligence William H. Webster.
Bellinger is one of four U.S. members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which nominates judges to the International Court of Justice. He speaks and writes regularly on public international and national security law issues. His op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and International Herald Tribune. Bellinger received his AB from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1982, his JD from Harvard Law School in 1986, and an MA in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia in 1991.