Government Experience

  • Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Counterterrorism Section, National Security Division
  • Deputy Chief Prosecutor for Litigation, Office of Military Commissions, Prosecution Task Force, Department of Defense, on detail from U.S. Department of Justice
  • Prosecutor, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Military Commissions, Prosecution Task Force
  • Senior Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Intelligence Policy and Review

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia


  • J.D., cum laude, University of Minnesota Law School, 1998
  • B.A., cum laude, University of Notre Dame, 1993
T +1 202.344.4043
F +1 202.344.8300

Courtney A. Sullivan


A seasoned litigator and national security lawyer, Courtney Sullivan has extensive government and private practice courtroom experience focusing on both civil and criminal matters. She also has significant experience in managing corporate and criminal investigations, online data and privacy matters, strategic planning, and resolving commercial disputes. She represents clients in industries including healthcare, internet technology, government contracting, and cybersecurity.

Courtney is currently advising one of the nation's largest health records retrieval and information management companies in matters related to internal investigations, information security, federal regulatory compliance, and commercial disputes. She also represents one of the largest international virtual private network (VPN) service providers in matters related to privacy and commercial disputes. While at Venable, Courtney has also represented corporate officers in federal criminal and national security investigations.

Prior to joining Venable, Courtney served as a trial attorney in the Department of Justice (DOJ) Counterterrorism Section, National Security Division. In this role she successfully prosecuted a number of high-profile terrorism trials in a variety of federal courts across the country, advised the Assistant Attorney General for National Security on classified intelligence operations, and managed investigations with members of the intelligence community, including the FBI, CIA, the Department of Defense, the Department of Treasury, and the Department of State. She also worked in close coordination with multiple foreign governments in domestic and foreign terrorism prosecutions and investigations. In federal terrorism trials, Courtney held primary responsibility for the government's use and protection of classified information. She has held the highest-level security clearance, handling some of the government's most sensitive national security information, for nearly twelve years. She participated in and supervised some of the largest terrorist investigations in U.S. history.

Courtney joined DOJ in 2003 and held a variety of national-security positions over the course of more than a decade. She has received recognition from four successive Attorneys General, and a medal for distinguished civilian service from the Department of Defense. As an attorney advisor and Senior attorney in the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, Courtney represented the United States before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and conducted oversight of the intelligence agencies to ensure federal law compliance—particularly the privacy rights of U.S. citizens. She later accepted a detail to prosecute, in military commissions, a number of High Value Detainees (HVDs), ultimately negotiating the first and only guilty plea and cooperation agreement with an HVD, resulting in a sentence of nineteen to twenty-five years. Most recently, Courtney served as Deputy to the Chief Prosecutor of the Military Commissions, a Brigadier General, and led a second successful plea and cooperation agreement with a Guantanamo Bay detainee, while also advising and working on the ongoing 9/11 and U.S.S. Cole prosecutions.

Courtney was the lead prosecutor on the United States efforts to prosecute a number of perpetrators of the deadly October 2002 terrorist attacks on nightclubs and the U.S. Consulate in Bali, Indonesia, which resulted in over 200 murders, the August 2003 bombing of the J.W. Marriott in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the 2009 bombings of the J.W. Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels in Jakarta. She also led the United States' efforts to develop one of the most significant terrorist cooperators in recent history, a British citizen who was a co-conspirator in the Richard Reid "shoe bomb" plot, who has been a key witness in the prosecution of a number of recent terrorist trials in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

Significant Matters

  • Deputy Chief Prosecutor for Litigation in United States v. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, et al. (9/11 attacks, U.S. Military Commissions)
  • Deputy Chief Prosecutor for Litigation in United States v. Al Nashiri (U.S.S. Cole attacks, U.S. Military Commissions)
  • Lead trial attorney in successfully obtaining guilty plea and cooperation agreement in United States v. Majid Khan (U.S. Military Commissions)
  • Successfully prosecuted defendant involved in 2009 plot to bomb the New York City subway system in United States v. Zazi (EDNY)
  • Obtained guilty plea from Moroccan national who attempted to bomb the United States Capitol in United States v. Khalifi (EDVA)
  • Charged and negotiated guilty plea for defendant involved in a domestic plot to assassinate the President of the United States in United States v. Kodirov (NDAL)
  • Charged and negotiated guilty plea for defendant who provided financial support to terrorists and attempted to travel from New York to Afghanistan to fight U.S. forces in United States v. Hasbajrami (EDNY)


Courtney has instructed on national security matters at the Department of Justice National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina and instructed at the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Advanced Trial Advocacy, Washington, DC.