Michael E. Leiter
Michael Leiter represents clients in matters involving U.S. national security and cybersecurity, cross-border transactions and government investigations, with a focus on the defense, intelligence and technology sectors.

Bio

Most recently, Mr. Leiter was president of Leidos Defense, a $2.5 billion business unit of Leidos, which provides technology and solutions to the U.S. Department of Defense and allied nations globally. He joined Leidos in 2014 as chief strategy officer and executive vice president for business development, and negotiated, among other deals, its acquisition of Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems and Global Solutions business — an approximately $5 billion transaction. Immediately after leaving the government in 2011, Mr. Leiter served as head of global government and cyber solutions and senior counselor to the chief executive officer at Palantir Technologies, based in Palo Alto.

Mr. Leiter has served in a number of senior national security positions in the federal government. He was the director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) from 2007 until 2011 for both Presidents Bush and Obama, where he led the primary organization in the U.S. government for analysis and integration of all terrorism intelligence, both domestically and overseas. In addition, Mr. Leiter reported directly to the president for strategic operational planning of all U.S. counterterrorism activities, to include the integration of military, intelligence, cyber, diplomatic, financial and homeland security programs and operations. In this role and in his private sector capacities, Mr. Leiter worked extensively with senior government officials and corporations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australasia and Africa.

Before NCTC, Mr. Leiter helped establish the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, serving as its deputy chief of staff responsible for oversight of the U.S. intelligence community, including the CFIUS process and all legislative affairs. He also served as the deputy general counsel and assistant director of the President’s Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Mr. Leiter continues to serve as an advisor to multiple organizations in and outside of government, to include being a member of the RAND Corporation’s Board of Trustees, the American Law Institute’s Consultative Group for Data Privacy, the Department of Defense’s Threat Reduction Advisory Committee, the NCTC Director’s Advisory Board, the Aspen Institute’s Homeland Security Advisory Group, and the Columbia University Data and Society Council. He also serves as NBC News’ senior national security, cybersecurity and counterterrorism analyst and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

He has previously served as a senior adviser to Monument Capital Group (a mid-market private equity firm focused on technology and security); a member of the Board of Directors of GardaWorld Government Services; a member of several National Security Agency (NSA) advisory panels (Cybersecurity, Commercial Technology and Strategic Communications); a member of the National Academies Committee on Responding to Presidential Policy Directive 28; The Feasibility of Software to Provide Alternatives to Bulk Signals Intelligence Collection; a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center Homeland Security Project; a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Defense Industrial Association; and as the inaugural Scholar-in-Residence at New York University Law School’s Center on Law and Security.

Prior to his work in national security positions, Mr. Leiter was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, where he investigated and brought to trial a wide range of federal crimes to include racketeering, capital murder and money laundering. Immediately after graduating from law school, Mr. Leiter was a law clerk to Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States and Chief Judge Michael Boudin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Before attending law school, Mr. Leiter served as a naval flight officer aboard EA-6B Prowlers, an electronic warfare and signals intelligence carrier-based jet, during which time he participated in combat and peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia and Iraq.

Credentials

Education

  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 2000 (magna cum laude; President (Editor-in-Chief) Harvard Law Review)
  • A.B., Columbia University, 1991

Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Colorado
  • Massachusetts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

Government Service

  • Director, National Counterterrorism Center (2007-2011)
  • Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Director of National Intelligence (2005-2007)
  • Deputy General Counsel and Assistant Director, President’s Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction (2004-2005)
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia (2002-2005)
  • Naval Flight Officer, U.S. Navy (1991-1997)

Michael E. Leiter

Partner, National Security; CFIUS; Cybersecurity and Privacy; Congressional Investigations and Government Policy
michael.leiter@skadden.com