National-Security Heavyweights Blast Revised Travel Ban

RICHMOND, Va. (CN) –  Warning of devastating policy and human-rights costs, 42 political heavyweights including former Secretary of State Madeline Albright assured the Fourth Circuit on Friday that there is no national-security risk in blocking President Donald Trump’s discriminatory Muslim ban.

Like Trump’s initial attempt to limit entry to the United States by refugees and other travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries, the embattled provisions of a revised order issued on March 6 have not taken effect.

A federal judge in Hawaii had been first to rule against the revised order, but a parallel challenge in Greenbelt, Maryland, met the same outcome.

Trump meanwhile has opted to appeal only the Maryland order – a move that conspicuously keeps his administration from facing off again in the Ninth Circuit, where it suffered unanimous defeat on the first travel ban.

The appeal drew a challenge Friday from dozens of former national-security officials including Albright and a handful of former CIA directors.

Each of the signatories worked at “senior levels in administrations of both political parties,” and they note that their decades of experience is still relevant.

One week before Trump issued the first travel ban, many of the officials “were current on active intelligence regarding credible terrorist threat streams directed against the U.S.,” according to the brief.

They say Trump’s revised order “serves no persuasive national security or foreign policy purpose.” If allowed to take effect, the experts say, it would do long-term damage to national security at home and abroad.

“It will endanger troops in the field and disrupt key counterterrorism and national security partnerships,” the brief stated. “It will aid the propaganda effort of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and support its recruitment message.”

Trump’s revision of his initial travel ban did nothing to remove its “problematic features,” according to the brief.

Nor can it be ignored, the experts argue, that no citizen from the six nations targeted by Trump’s ban has been linked to a terrorist attack on U.S. soil in the past 40 years.

In fact, more information continues to surface which confirms that country-based bans are the “wrong approach,” the group writes.

Even the Department of Homeland Security has confirmed that “country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity,” according to the brief.

In addition for former Secretary Albright, a former refugee herself, the list of signatories includes John Allen, the special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL; Leon Panetta, former director at the CIA; Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Defense; and James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence. 

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