Aaron Zebley is a former federal prosecutor with more than 18 years of experience in multiple roles at the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Mr. Zebley most recently served as the Deputy Special Counsel under Special Counsel Robert Mueller, investigating Russian election interference and obstruction of justice. He also served as FBI Chief of Staff; Senior Counselor in DOJ’s National Security Division; Assistant US Attorney; and FBI special agent. 

Mr. Zebley focuses his practice on investigations, national security matters, and defending clients facing government enforcement actions or congressional inquiries. He has led several large-scale investigations that required simultaneous responses to law enforcement, Congress, and regulators, among others, and that resulted in publication of reports that gained national attention.  

Mr. Zebley has represented major companies, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, a sports league, and individuals in sensitive internal and independent investigations in the United States and abroad and represented senior executives in collateral external investigations and hearings.

During his service as Deputy Special Counsel from 2017 to 2019, Mr. Zebley was responsible for managing the day-to-day operation of the office and supervising all investigation and prosecution matters. He also oversaw the writing, publication, and delivery of the two volume Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election at the conclusion of the 22-month investigation.

Between 2011 and 2013, Mr. Zebley served as the Chief of Staff of the FBI. In that role, he advised the FBI Director on national security, criminal, operational and policy matters, and he represented the agency before senior leaders at DOJ, the White House, US Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country, and agencies within the Intelligence Community. Mr. Zebley also served as the Director’s lead counsel in numerous congressional hearings.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Zebley served as an Assistant US Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia.  He investigated and prosecuted espionage, mishandling of classified information, illegal arms brokering, fraud and other offenses. Mr. Zebley tried a number of cases, including as lead counsel.

Mr. Zebley began his government service as a special agent in the FBI. He investigated international terrorism, serving as a team leader in the investigation of the September 11 attacks and as a lead investigator for the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in east Africa. He led teams working across the globe and negotiated with foreign governments for access to evidence. During those investigations, Mr. Zebley worked and lived in Africa, Central Asia, and Europe for almost two years.

Recent Speaking Engagements

  • Distinguished Fellow, Karsh Center for Law and Democracy, UVA School of Law, Fall 2021 to present. 
  • Guest Speaker, Mr. Zebley has spoken on numerous occasions at universities and law schools regarding national security investigations and prosecutorial discretion. 


    • Represented a major national university in two independent investigations of its handling of information about sexual misconduct, both resulting in public reports.
    • Represented a major national sports league in an independent investigation of its handling of evidence in a domestic violence incident, resulting in a public report. 
    • Represented a multinational security services company in an investigation of its hiring, screening, and handling of an employee following an off-duty incident that resulted in multiple fatalities.
    • Represented a US-based global engineering, procurement and construction company in an investigation of its hiring, screening, and handling of a contractor following a fatal workplace violence incident that occurred overseas.
    • Represented a large information technology consulting firm in a review of workplace security, personnel, and management practices following the arrest of an employee for the theft of classified material.
    • Represented large federal contractors in False Claims Act matters.
    • Represented numerous companies in investigations and ensuing regulatory inquiries of data breach incidents.
    • Represented a large commercial bank and, separately, a defense contractor in criminal actions against employees in their foreign offices resulting in Interpol red notices.
    • Represented witnesses in DOJ/FBI criminal investigations of mishandling of classified information and other matters.
    • Represented former senior government officials in Inspector General and FBI investigations relating to the handling of sensitive information.
    • Working with the settlement master, conducted settlement discussions for the multibillion-dollar resolution of a multistate consumer class action and regulatory enforcement actions against Volkswagen for excess diesel emissions.


  • Received the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering the Interests of US National Security for his work on United States v. Moussaoui.
  • Received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for his work on United States v. Usama Bin Ladin et al.
  • Received the Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Supporting the National Security Mission for his work as prosecuting attorney on United States v. Tai Shen Kuo, Gregg Bergersen, and Yu Xin Kang.

Insights & News


  • Education

    • JD, University of Virginia School of Law, 1996

    • BA, College of William and Mary, 1992

      magna cum laude Phi Beta Kappa
  • Admissions

    • District of Columbia

    • New York

    • US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

  • Government Experience

    • Department of Justice

      Special Counsel’s Office

      Deputy Special Counsel
    • Department of Justice

      National Security Division

      Senior Counselor
    • Department of Justice

      Federal Bureau of Investigation

      Chief of Staff
    • Department of Justice

      Federal Bureau of Investigation

      Deputy Chief of Staff
    • Department of Justice

      Federal Bureau of Investigation

      Special Counsel to the Director
    • Department of Justice

      United States Attorney's Office

      Assistant US Attorney, Eastern District of Virginia - National Security and Terrorism Unit
    • Department of Justice

      Federal Bureau of Investigation

      Special Agent, Counterterrorism Division



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