McHale, Stephen J.

Stephen J. McHale


Stephen McHale advises businesses on issues of national security law and policy, including Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations and enforcement proceedings. Stephen has particular experience in international investment and trade matters, representing domestic and international clients before the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) in national security reviews of foreign investments. 

Stephen helps clients navigate US and international economic sanctions, representing their interests before the US State Department and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in license proceedings and administrative enforcement and compliance actions. He works extensively on issues arising from US efforts to expand its extraterritorial jurisdiction in such matters. His international trade practice includes advising clients on US and international trade controls that govern the transfer of defense articles, defense services or technical data, and "dual-use" products and technology.

Prior to joining Squire Patton Boggs, Stephen held a variety of senior management and legal positions during 24 years of government service in the departments of Justice, Treasury, Transportation and Homeland Security. Stephen served as the first deputy administrator of the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and oversaw the federalization of aviation security after the September 11 attacks.

Stephen was a lawyer with Treasury for 12 years, serving as acting general counsel for five months during the Clinton-Bush transition. In another position, as the Treasury’s chief enforcement counsel, he handled matters involving the Secret Service, Customs Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), OFAC and CFIUS. He helped develop the financial provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and the 2000 and 2001 National Anti-Money Laundering Strategies. He also served as legal adviser to the Secretary of the Treasury on matters of national security and intelligence.

Based on deep experience acquired during his service to key government agencies, Stephen advises clients on a range of matters involving aviation security, customs enforcement, global anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing controls. As a former Chief Counsel of ATF, Stephen also advises clients on the federal taxation and regulation of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives. Stephen has testified before Congress on many occasions, and he has extensive experience representing clients in Congressional investigations and hearings.



  • American University Washington College of Law, J.D., 1980
  • Nottingham University, England, B.A., 1977


  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland


  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims

Memberships and Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
    • Forum Committee on Air and Space Law 
    • Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice - Homeland Security and National Defense Committee
    • Section of International Law
    • Africa Committee - Export Controls and Economic Sanctions Committee; International Anti-Corruption Committee; National Security Committee
  • Exon-Florio Practitioners Group

Awards and Commendations During Federal Service

  • Presidential Rank Award
  • Treasury Department’s Distinguished Service Medal
  • General Counsel’s Award for Excellence in Management
  • Federal Employee of the Year Award, Partnership for Public Service
  • TSA Honor Award

Publications and Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, “Legislative and Regulatory Landscape,” Marsh Insurance Company Conference, New York, November 9, 2014.
  • Speaker, Banks: Internal and External Sanctions, Moscow, October 27, 2014.
  • Speaker, Russian Sanctions Expert Round Table, Frankfurt, November 5, 2014.
  • Speaker, “OFAC and Trade Compliance Trends and Best Practices,” Global Compliance Seminar, Cleveland, October 9, 2014.
  • Guest, “Ralls v. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS),” Capital Thinking Radio Show, July 24, 2014.
  • Guest, “Removal of a Foreign National From the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s Special Designated Nationals List,” Capital Thinking Radio Show, March 13, 2014.
  • “Avoiding the Money Laundering Trap,” Counsel to Counsel, March 2009.
  • Author, “Anti-Money Laundering Programs for Dealers in Precious Metals, Stones or Jewels,” Patton Boggs LLP, June 9, 2005.
  • Co-author, “Industrial Security After the Election,” Coal Age Magazine, January 2005.

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