Lawyer Kash Patel appointed to key White House counter-terrorism position

Prominent Indian-American lawyer Kashyap Pramod Patel, an ardent supporter of US president Donald Trump, has been appointed to a key counter-terrorism position in the White House, according to a media report.

Patel, 38, who previously served as Senior Counsel for Counter-terrorism at the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence till early this year, has now been appointed as Senior Director of Counter-terrorism Directorate of the National Security Council (NSC) in the White House, the Daily Beast reported.

The White House refused to comment on the news report.

After leaving the Hill, Patel, popularly known as Kash Patel, had joined the NSC’s Directorate of International Organizations and Alliances. Now he has been promoted to this counter-terrorism position, the news website reported.

New York-born Patel has his roots in Gujarat. However, his parents are from East Africa – mother from Tanzania and father from Uganda. They came to the US from Canada in 1970.

“We are Gujarati,” he had told PTI in an earlier interview before he joined the White House.

His family moved to Queens in New York – which is often called as Little India – in late 70s. It is here that Patel was born and brought up. Patel’s parents spend their time in both the US and Gujarat.

After his schooling in New York and college in Richmond, Virginia, and law school in New York, Patel went to Florida where he was a state public defender for four years and then federal public defender for another four years.

“So, lots of trials, lots of international investigations, lots of time in court, understanding the federal system and trying cases and learning how to run investigations,” he said.

From Florida, he moved to Washington DC as a terrorism prosecutor at the Department of Justice.

Here, he was an international terrorism prosecutor for about three and a half years. During this period, he worked on cases all over the world.

While, still employed by the Department of Justice, he went as a civilian to join Special Operations Command at the Department of Defense.

At the Pentagon, he sat as the Department of Justice’s lawyer with Special Forces people and worked inter-agency collaborative targeting operations around the world.

“So basically, bringing in all aspects of American enforcement military, FBI and CIA all put in all place and targeting terrorists abroad and here, collecting information in one spot and figuring out what the best option for the US,” he said.

After a year in this sensitive position, Congressman Davin Nunes, Chairman of the House Permanent Select on Intelligence Committee pulled him as senior counsel on counter-terrorism.

After the elections, since April 2017, he spearheaded the Russia investigation of the House Intelligence Committee.

It was here when he attracted the media attention, as he played a key role in drafting of a Republicans memo, which according to president Trump has exposed the Opposition Democratic party and its leadership in the Russian investigation.

The New York Times described it as a “Kash Memo”. Patel said it was a “great team effort”.
Patel is a big Ice hockey fan, which he has been playing since he was six.

“I still play and I spend a lot of time volunteering coaching youth hockey in the area,” he said.