Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Former national security, foreign policy, and intelligence officials politely tell U.S. federal court that Trump is undermining national security
STATE OF WASHINGTON, et al. v DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the States, et al., Response to Emergency Motion Exhibit A:
We, Madeleine K. Albright, Avril D. Haines, Michael V. Hayden, John F. Kerry, John E. McLaughlin, Lisa O. Monaco, Michael J. Morell, Janet A. Napolitano, Leon E. Panetta, and Susan E. Rice declare as follows:
1. We are former national security, foreign policy, and intelligence officials in the United States Government:
a. Madeleine K. Albright served as Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001. A refugee and naturalized American citizen, she served as U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1993 to 1997 and has been a member of the Central Intelligence Agency External Advisory Board since 2009 and the Defense Policy Board since 2011, in which capacities she has received assessments of threats facing the United States.
b. Avril D. Haines served as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2013 to 2015, and as Deputy National Security Advisor from 2015 to January 20, 2017.
c. Michael V. Hayden served as Director of the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2009.
d. John F. Kerry served as Secretary of State from 2013 to January 20, 2017.
2. We have collectively devoted decades to combatting the various terrorist threats that the United States faces in a dynamic and dangerous world. We have all held the highest security clearances. A number of us have worked at senior levels in administrations of both political parties. Four of us (Haines, Kerry, Monaco and Rice) were current on active intelligence regarding all credible terrorist threat streams directed against the U.S. as recently as one week before the issuance of the Jan. 27, 2017 Executive Order on “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” (“Order”).
3. We all agree that the United States faces real threats from terrorist networks and must take all prudent and effective steps to combat them, including the appropriate vetting of travelers to the United States. We all are nevertheless unaware of any specific threat that would justify the travel ban established by the Executive Order issued on January 27, 2017. We view the Order as one that ultimately undermines the national security of the United States, rather than making us safer. In our professional opinion, this Order cannot be justified on national security or foreign policy grounds. It does not perform its declared task of “protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.” To the contrary, the Order disrupts thousands of lives, including those of refugees and visa holders all previously vetted by standing procedures that the Administration has not shown to be inadequate. It could do long-term damage to our national security and foreign policy interests, endangering U.S. troops in the field and disrupting counterterrorism and national security partnerships. It will aid ISIL’s propaganda effort and serve its recruitment message by feeding into the narrative that the United States is at war with Islam. It will hinder relationships with the very communities that law enforcement professionals need to address the threat. It will have a damaging humanitarian and economic impact on the lives and jobs of American citizens and residents. And apart from all of these concerns, the Order offends our nation’s laws and values.
4. There is no national security purpose for a total bar on entry for aliens from the seven named countries. Since September 11, 2001, not a single terrorist attack in the United States has been perpetrated by aliens from the countries named in the Order. Very few attacks on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001 have been traced to foreign nationals at all. The overwhelming majority of attacks have been committed by U.S. citizens. The Administration has identified no information or basis for believing there is now a heightened or particularized future threat from the seven named countries. Nor is there any rational basis for exempting from the ban particular religious minorities (e.g., Christians), suggesting that the real target of the ban remains one religious group (Muslims). In short, the Administration offers no reason why it abruptly shifted to group-based bans when we have a tested individualized vetting system developed and implemented by national security professionals across the government to guard the homeland, which is continually re-evaluated to ensure that it is effective.
5. In our professional opinion, the Order will harm the interests of the United States in many respects:
a. The Order will endanger U.S. troops in the field. Every day, American soldiers work and fight alongside allies in some of the named countries who put their lives on the line to protect Americans. For example, allies who would be barred by the Order work alongside our men and women in Iraq fighting against ISIL. To the extent that the Order bans travel by individuals cooperating against ISIL, we risk placing our military efforts at risk by sending an insulting message to those citizens and all Muslims.
b. The Order will disrupt key counterterrorism, foreign policy, and national security partnerships that are critical to our obtaining the necessary information sharing and collaboration in intelligence, law enforcement, military, and diplomatic channels to address the threat posed by terrorist groups such as ISIL. The international criticism of the Order has been intense, and it has alienated U.S. allies. It will strain our relationships with partner countries in Europe and the Middle East, on whom we rely for vital counterterrorism cooperation, undermining years of effort to bring them closer. By alienating these partners, we could lose access to the intelligence and resources necessary to fight the root causes of terror or disrupt attacks launched from abroad, before an attack occurs within our borders.
c. The Order will endanger intelligence sources in the field. For current information, our intelligence officers may rely on human sources in some of the countries listed. The Order breaches faith with those very sources, who have risked much or all to keep Americans safe – and whom our officers had promised always to protect with the full might of our government and our people.
d. Left in place, the Executive Order will likely feed the recruitment narrative of ISIL and other extremists that portray the United States as at war with Islam. As government officials, we took every step we could to counter violent extremism. Because of the Order’s disparate impact against Muslim travelers and immigrants, it feeds ISIL’s narrative and sends the wrong message to the Muslim community here at home and all over the world: the U.S. government is at war with them based on their religion. The Order may even endanger Christian communities, by handing ISIL a recruiting tool and propaganda victory that spreads their message that the United States is engaged in a religious war. e. The Order will disrupt ongoing law enforcement efforts. By alienating Muslim-American communities in the United States, it will harm our efforts to enlist their aid in identifying radicalized individuals who might launch attacks of the kind recently seen in San Bernardino and Orlando.
f. The Order will have a devastating humanitarian impact. When the Order issued, those disrupted included women and children who had been victimized by actual terrorists. Tens of thousands of travelers today face deep uncertainty about whether they may travel to or from the United States: for medical treatment, study or scholarly exchange, funerals or other pressing family reasons. While the Order allows for the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to agree to admit travelers from these countries on a case-by-case basis, in our experience it would be unrealistic for these overburdened agencies to apply such procedures to every one of the thousands of affected individuals with urgent and compelling needs to travel.
g. The Order will cause economic damage to American citizens and residents. The Order will affect many foreign travelers, particularly students, who annually inject hundreds of billions into the U.S. economy, supporting well over a million U.S. jobs. Since the Order issued, affected companies have noted its adverse impacts on many strategic economic sectors, including defense, technology, medicine, culture and others…….