Former Assistant Secretary, Department of Homeland Security
Seth Stodder is a lawyer, writer, law professor, and frequent commentator on national security issues, borders and immigration, international trade, privacy, and constitutional law. Until recently, he served in the Obama Administration as Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Border, Immigration & Trade Policy and, prior to that, as Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Threat Prevention & Security Policy. In those roles, he led teams advising DHS leadership and developing policy on border security, immigration and visa policy, trade, screening and vetting of individuals for national security purposes, law enforcement matters, cyber encryption and surveillance issues, and the negotiation of international information sharing agreements aimed at interdicting the movement of foreign terrorist fighters through global transportation systems. He oversaw the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, represented DHS on the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS), and served as Co-Chair of the DHS Task Force on the use of social media for vetting purposes, consistent with privacy rights and civil liberties, stood up in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attacks. He also oversaw all DHS international engagements with the countries of the Western Hemisphere, as well as other countries around the world, leading negotiations and bilateral discussions with various countries, including Cuba, Mexico, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Germany, and the Five Eyes countries, among others.
Earlier in his career, he served in the George W. Bush Administration as Director of Policy and Planning for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Counselor/Senior Policy Advisor to Commissioner Robert C. Bonner, in the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks. He currently teaches national security and counterterrorism law at the University of Southern California Law School, and in between tours of government service, has practiced law in the private sector and led a homeland security consulting firm. He is a Senior Associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was a German Marshall Memorial Fellow, and is a Member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar. He received his J.D. from the University of Southern California Law School, and his B.A. from Haverford College.