Washington- John F. Sopko, Commerce Chief Counsel for Special Matters, has been appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement in the Bureau of Export Administration, the Commerce Department today announced. Sopko will serve as the highest ranking career employee in the Export Enforcement (EE) arm of the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA), fulfilling Secretary William Daley's pledge to place highly qualified individuals in permanent, senior level, policy making positions. Sopko was selected from a group of exceptional candidates from within the executive branch of government.
"I am delighted to have someone of Mr. Sopko's caliber as the new Deputy Assistant Secretary," said Amanda DeBusk, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement. "John has the vision, leadership and experience to lead Export Enforcement into the new millennium."
In his new role, Sopko will oversee the administration of Export Enforcement's mission to detect, halt, investigate and help sanction violations of U.S. dual-use export control laws as well as administer the antiboycott provisions of the Export Administration Act.
Sopko joins BXA after a distinguished career at the Commerce Department, on Capitol Hill and as a federal prosecutor. Most recently he served as the Commerce Department's Chief Counsel for Special Matters where he handled complex and sensitive legal and investigative issues and represented the Department before Congress and other agencies. In this position, he served as the Department's liaison to Congress, the Department of Justice and the intelligence community on investigative matters.
Sopko spent 15 years working on Capitol Hill, ultimately as an advisor to then-Senator Sam Nunn and as the Senior Minority Counsel on the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. In these and earlier positions, Sopko provided legal advice, proposed legislation and directed investigations for the Subcommittee and Senator Nunn. From 1994-1996, Sopko directed an international investigation on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Sopko began his federal career as a prosecutor in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the Justice Department where he successfully prosecuted members of the Mafia, Colombian cartels and Outlaw Motorcycle gangs. Using the RICO Statute in 1982, his efforts led to the first successful prosecution of the entire leadership of an American mafia family.
Sopko is a native of Ohio. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude in 1974 and from Case Western Reserve University with a Juris Doctor in 1977. He is married to Nancy Lubin, and they live in Bethesda, MD with their daughter, Alexandra.
In April of 2002 the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) changed its name to the Bureau of Industry and Security(BIS). For historical purposes we have not changed the references to BXA in the legacy documents found in the Archived Press and Public Information.