New Border Controls Don’t Add Up To “Extreme Vetting”

By Michael Leiter

Michael Leiter is a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he heads the firm’s CFIUS and national security practice. He represents clients in a broad range of transactions, investigations and incidents involving U.S. national security. Mr. Leiter also co-leads the firm’s cybersecurity practice and has an additional focus on aerospace and defense mergers and acquisitions, and government relations and investigations. Prior to joining Skadden, served as the President of the Defense Group at Leidos (LDOS), a Fortune 500 technology company based in Reston, Virginia. In this role Mike led more than 8,000 personnel providing mission critical technology, solutions, and support to the U.S. Department of Defense and allied nations around the world. In addition, he served as Executive Vice President and Head of Integration for the merger of Leidos and Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions (IS&GS), as the Executive Vice President for Business Development, Strategy, M&A, and Government Affairs, and the company’s Chief Strategy Officer. Mike served in several senior national security positions in the federal government, to include as the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) from 2007 until 2011 for both Presidents Bush and Obama.  Prior to NCTC, Mike helped establish the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, where he served as the organization’s first Deputy Chief of Staff.  He currently serves as an advisor to organizations inside and outside of government, to include as the current Chair of the RAND Corporation’s Board of Trustees.

The State Department circulated a cable last week, outlining new guidelines concerning passport, security measures, and biographical information for visa applications from certain foreign countries. The Trump Administration has said these new measures are necessary to update the outdated security and identification processes of some foreign governments. However, some are associating the cable’s new restrictions with the administration’s ban on travel from six Muslim-majority countries, which is currently waiting for a Supreme Court decision on its legality. The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel spoke with former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Michael Leiter about what the new guidelines mean, and how they might fit in with the travel ban and the Trump Administration’s larger counterterrorism strategy.

The Cipher Brief: How unusual is it to require traveler biometric and biographical data from all countries worldwide? How likely do you think it is that these countries will comply with this order?  

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