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David Asher

Senior Fellow

David Asher is a senior fellow at Hudson Institute. His work focuses U.S. foreign policy in Asia, economic and financial policy toward U.S. state adversaries, and high technology.

Dr. Asher is well known as one of the most experienced advisors to the U.S. government on countering money laundering, terrorism financing, and sanctions evasion schemes. Over the last 25 years he has played a senior role in numerous economic and financial pressure campaigns involving defiant states, terrorist organizations, drug cartels, and weapons proliferation networks.

From 2001 to 2005, Dr. Asher was senior advisor for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the State Department, special coordinator of the State Department’s North Korea Working Group (under the Secretary of State), co-chair of the North Korea Activities Group Policy Coordinating Committee for the National Security Council, and U.S. delegation adviser to the Six Party Talks. During the George W. Bush administration, Dr. Asher developed and oversaw the global targeting and disruption of the Kim Jong-il regime’s financial, illicit trading, and WMD networks. Dr. Asher was the strategic architect of the September 2005 designation of Banco Delta Asia in Macao, the February 2011 designation of the Lebanese Canadian Bank, and the April 2013 designations of the Rmeiti and Halawi Exchange Houses—all under Section 311 of the USA Patriot Act.

From 2008 to 2010, Dr. Asher advised the leadership of U.S. CENTCOM on Iran-Hezbollah economic pressure strategy as well as on sensitive counterproliferation and counterterrorism programs and operations. From 2010 to 2014, he served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Special Operations Command for counter threat finance and counter network operations. As part of his work for CENTCOM and then SOCOM, he helped lead DEA’s Project Cassandra and Operation Titan Investigations into Lebanese Hezbollah’s global drug trafficking and money laundering networks. These investigations resulted in dozens of arrests and the largest counterterrorist civil financial action in the history of the U.S. Department of Justice, the $483 million forfeiture claim against the Lebanese Canadian Bank (ultimately resulting in a $102 million asset forfeiture in the United States).

In 2014, Dr. Asher returned to the Department of State where he led the development of the U.S. government and coalition economic Warfare Campaign Strategy against the Islamic State, under the Presidential Special Envoy, General John Allen. This interagency and international campaign played a disproportionate role in the destruction of the Islamic State’s finances and economic support base.

Dr. Asher has a doctorate in international relations from Oxford University and was a College Scholar at Cornell University as an undergraduate. He is fluent in Japanese. He has over two decades of experience working in the international financial community, including advising several of the world’s largest global hedge funds on Japan and Asia strategy. He is co-founder of Sayari Labs, a financial intelligence and commercial data provider.

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Media Coverage

Tim Morrison and David Asher were mentioned in POLITICO Playbook PM and Morning Defense about their new positions as Hudson senior fellows.