James A. Baker is a former American government official at the Department of Justice who served as General Counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In December, 2017 he was replaced as general counsel and reassigned to a different position within the FBI. It was revealed on April 19, 2018 that he was a recipient of at least one Comey memo. On May 4, 2018, Baker resigned the FBI and joined the Brookings Institution as a fellow who will write for the justice-focused blog Lawfare. In January 2019, Baker left Brookings to become the Director of National Security and Cybersecurity at the R Street Institute, a conservative think-tank in Washington, D.C. He also teaches at Harvard Law School.

Baker has often testified before Congress on behalf of Clinton and Bush administration intelligence policies, including defending The Patriot Act before the House Judiciary Committee. Regarding Baker’s 2007 appearance on the PBS Frontline episode “Spying on the Home Front”, the show’s producer, in a Washington Post online chat, referred to Baker as “Mr. FISA himself”.

In 1998, Baker was promoted to Deputy Counsel for Intelligence Operations. From May 2001 he served as Acting Counsel, and in January 2002 was appointed Counsel. In January 2014, he was appointed General Counsel of the FBI. As of December 2017, newly appointed director Christopher A. Wray was reassigning him from this role with his new duties unclear.

Baker is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and received a J.D. and M.A. from the University of Michigan in 1988. Mr. Baker has taught National Security Law at Harvard University Law School since 2009.