A group of prominent Democrats who served in recent administrations, including John Kerry and Madeleine K. Albright, have called on the courts to extend a ruling blocking crucial parts of President Trump’s travel ban, saying the White House executive order would “endanger U.S. troops” and disrupt antiterrorism efforts.
The former officials expressed their concerns on Monday to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, based in San Francisco, which is considering the matter after a judge in Seattle effectively ruled that travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations as well as vetted refugees from all nations could, for now, continue to enter the United States.
With President Trump’s executive order, “we risk placing our military efforts at risk by sending an insulting message” to Iraqis working with American forces battling the Islamic State there, the legal filing to the court said. “The order will likely feed the recruitment narrative of ISIL and other extremists that portray the United States as at war with Islam,” it said, using another name for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
In addition to Mr. Kerry, a secretary of state under President Barack Obama, and Ms. Albright, who held the same position under President Bill Clinton, the former officials behind the filing included Susan E. Rice, Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, and Leon E. Panetta, who served as secretary of defense and head of the C.I.A.
The filing comes a week after Mr. Obama took issue with Mr. Trump’s order, saying in a statement that he “fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”
Every weekday, get political news and analysis from the staff of The New York Times.
Receive occasional updates and special offers for The New York Times's products and services.
The former officials hope that adding their voice to the debate from a national security perspective undercuts a critical argument of the Trump administration: that the travel ban is meant to deter terrorist attacks by keeping the country safe from “very bad and dangerous people,” as Mr. Trump has put it.
Noting that the 10 signatories to the filing “have all held the highest security clearances,” the letter asserts that Mr. Trump’s order “ultimately undermines the national security of the United States, rather than making us safer.”
The travel ban was dealt a stinging setback on Friday, when a federal judge in Seattle issued the broadest ruling to date blocking major parts of the executive order. The Trump administration appealed Saturday, leaving the issue in the hands of the court in San Francisco, which indicated that it would weigh in soon after additional briefs were filed, with the last one due Monday afternoon.
After the appeals panel rules, the Supreme Court is likely to take up the issue.
The New York Times