Open main menu

John Henry Durham (born 1950)[2][3] is the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut. He is best known for leading an inquiry into allegations that FBI agents and Boston police had ties with the mob[4] and his appointment as special prosecutor regarding the 2005 CIA interrogation tapes destruction.[2] On November 1, 2017, he was nominated by President Donald Trump to be Connecticut's next U.S. Attorney.[5] On February 15, 2018, his nomination to be the United States Attorney was confirmed by voice vote. He was sworn in on February 22, 2018. In the spring of 2019, attorney general Bill Barr designated Durham to conduct a review of the origins of the investigation of possible connections between Russians and the 2016 campaign of Donald Trump.

John Durham
John H. Durham.jpg
United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut
Assumed office
October 27, 2017
Acting: October 27, 2017 – February 22, 2018
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byDeirdre M. Daly
Personal details
John Henry Durham

1950 (age 68–69)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyRepublican[1]
EducationColgate University (BA)
University of Connecticut (JD)


Education and early lifeEdit

Durham graduated with honors from Colgate University in 1972.[6] Durham received a law degree in 1975 from the University of Connecticut School of Law.[2] After graduation, he was a VISTA volunteer for two years on an Indian reservation in Montana, after which he joined the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut.[6] From 1978 to 1982, Durham served as an Assistant State's Attorney in the New Haven State's Attorney's Office. From 1977 to 1978, he served as a Deputy Assistant State's Attorney in the Office of the Chief State's Attorney.[7] From 1994 to 2008, he served as the Deputy U.S. Attorney, and served as the U.S. Attorney in an acting and interim capacity in 1997 and 1998; from 1989 to 1994, he served as Chief of the Office's Criminal Division, and from 1982 to 1989, he served as an attorney and then supervisor in the New Haven Field Office in the Justice Department's Organized Crime and Racketeering Section.[7][8]

From 2008 to 2012, Durham served as the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.[9]


Amid allegations that FBI informants James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi had corrupted their handlers, US Attorney General Janet Reno named Durham special prosecutor in 1999. He oversaw a task force of FBI agents brought in from other offices to investigate the Boston office's handling of informants.[10]

In December 2000, Durham revealed secret FBI documents that convinced a judge to vacate the 1968 murder convictions of Enrico Tameleo, Joseph Salvati, Peter J. Limone and Louis Greco because they had been framed by the agency. In 2007, the documents helped Salvati, Limone, and the families of the two other men, who had died in prison, win a $101.7 million civil judgment against the government.[10]

In 2002, Durham helped secure the conviction of retired FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr., who was sentenced to 10 years in prison on federal racketeering charges for protecting Bulger and Flemmi from prosecution and warning Bulger to flee just before the gangster's 1995 indictment.[10]

Durham's task force also gathered evidence against retired FBI agent H. Paul Rico who was indicted in Oklahoma on state charges that he helped Bulger and Flemmi kill a Tulsa businessman in 1981. Rico died in 2004 before the case went to trial.[10]

Durham also led a series of high-profile prosecutions in Connecticut against the New England Mafia and corrupt politicians, including former governor John G. Rowland.[10]

In 2008, Durham was appointed by then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate the destruction of CIA videotapes of detainee interrogations.[11][12][13] On November 8, 2010, Durham closed the investigation without recommending any criminal charges be filed.[14] Durham's final report remains secret but was the subject of an unsuccessful lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act filed by The New York Times reporter Charlie Savage.[15]

In August 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed Durham to lead the Justice Department's investigation of the legality of CIA's use of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques".[16] Durham's mandate was only to look at those interrogations that had gone "beyond the officially sanctioned guidelines", with Attorney General Holder saying interrogators who had acted in "good faith" based on guidance from the Bush Justice Department were not to be prosecuted.[17] Later in 2009, University of Toledo law professor Benjamin G. Davis attended a conference where former officials of the Bush administration had told conference participants shocking stories, and accounts of illegality on the part of more senior Bush officials.[18] Davis wrote an appeal to former Bush officials to take their accounts of illegality directly to Durham. A criminal investigation into the deaths of two detainees, Gul Rahman in Afghanistan and Manadel al-Jamadi in Iraq, was opened in 2011. It was closed in 2012 with no charges filed.[19][20]

In November 2011, Durham was included on The New Republic's list of Washington's most powerful, least famous people.[21]

In April 2019,[22] Attorney General William Barr announced that he had launched a review of the origins of the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections[23] and it was reported in May that he had assigned Durham to lead it several weeks earlier.[24] Durham was given the authority "to broadly examin[e] the government's collection of intelligence involving the Trump campaign's interactions with Russians," reviewing government documents and requesting voluntary witness statements.[25]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Mahony, Edmund H. "John Durham Named Interim U.S. Attorney; Presidential Nomination Expected".
  2. ^ a b c Lewis, Neil A. (January 13, 2008). "Prosecutor Who Unraveled Corruption in Boston Turns to C.I.A. Tape Case". The New York Times. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  3. ^ "Committee Questionnaire" (PDF).
  4. ^ Politi, Daniel (January 3, 2008). "The Jump Off". Slate.
  5. ^ Mahony, Edmund H. (November 1, 2017). "President Trump Nominates John Durham To Be U.S. Attorney". Hartford Courant. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  6. ^ a b James, Randy (August 26, 2009). "CIA Abuse Investigator John Durham". Time. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "John H. Durham Sworn in as United States Attorney". United States Department of Justice. 2018-02-22. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  8. ^ McBride, Jessica (May 14, 2019). "John H. Durham: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  9. ^ "John H. Durham Sworn in as United States Attorney | USAO-CT | Department of Justice". 2018-02-22. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  10. ^ a b c d e Murphy, Shelley (January 7, 2008). "US prosecutor's tenacity is rewarded". (subscription required)
  11. ^ Shapiro, Lila (August 24, 2009). "'Inhumane' CIA Terror Tactics Spur Criminal Probe". Huffington Post.
  12. ^ The Associated Press (January 2, 2008). "Criminal probe opened over CIA tapes". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  13. ^ Apuzzo, Matt (January 3, 2008). "Veteran prosecutor takes over CIA probe". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  14. ^ Mazzetti, Mark; Savage, Charlie (November 9, 2010). "No Criminal Charges Sought Over C.I.A. Tapes". New York Times. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
  15. ^ Savage, Charlie (May 10, 2018). "Gina Haspel's Testimony About C.I.A. Torture Raises New Questions". The New York Times. Retrieved June 22, 2018. Mr. Rodriguez and Ms. Haspel were later investigated by John Durham, an assistant United States attorney. Mr. Durham ultimately recommended filing no charges over the tape destruction, but his report laying out his findings and reasoning is secret. (The New York Times lost a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to make it public.)
  16. ^ Johnson, Carrie (August 25, 2009). "Holder Hires Prosecutor to Look Into Alleged CIA Interrogation Abuses". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
  17. ^ Adam Serwer (2012-08-31). "Investigation of Bush-era Torture Concludes With No Charges – Mother Jones". Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  18. ^ Benjamin G. Davis (September 25, 2009). "Torture Tales: Calling John Durham". The Jurist. Archived from the original on September 24, 2009. Retrieved September 27, 2009.
  19. ^ Shane, Scott (2012-08-30). "Holder Rules Out Prosecutions in C.I.A. Interrogations". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-05-18.
  20. ^ "Statement of Attorney General Eric Holder on Closure of Investigation into the Interrogation of Certain Detainees". 2012-08-30. Retrieved 2019-05-18.
  21. ^ The Editors (November 3, 2011). "Washington's Most Powerful, Least Famous People". The New Republic. Retrieved October 25, 2011.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  22. ^ Johnson, Kevin (May 14, 2019). "Attorney General taps top Connecticut federal prosecutor for review of Trump-Russia inquiry". USA TODAY. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  23. ^ Goldman, Adam; Savage, Charlie; Schmidt, Michael S. (May 13, 2019). "Barr Assigns U.S. Attorney in Connecticut to Review Origins of Russia Inquiry". The New York Times. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  24. ^ Savage, Charlie; Goldman, Adam; Fandos, Nicholas (May 14, 2019). "Scrutiny of Russia Investigation Is Said to Be a Review, Not a Criminal Inquiry". The New York Times.
  25. ^ Savage, Charlie; Goldman, Adam; Fandos, Nicholas (May 14, 2019). "Scrutiny of Russia Investigation Is Said to Be a Review, Not a Criminal Inquiry". The New York Times. Retrieved May 17, 2019.

External linksEdit