Michelle Van Cleave

Michelle Van Cleave is a leading authority on counterintelligence, technology policy, and national security.  Over the past three decades, she has served in senior government positions for three Presidents and three Congressional Committees with responsibilities spanning intelligence and security, national defense, homeland security, and science and technology.  A lawyer and consultant in private life, she is a principal with the Jack Kemp Foundation, helping to establish and manage programs to develop, engage and recognize exceptional leaders.

Ms. Van Cleave was the first person to serve as the statutory head of U.S. counterintelligence.  Appointed National Counterintelligence Executive by President George W. Bush in 2003, she was responsible for leading and integrating the counterintelligence activities of the uniformed military services, the FBI, CIA, the Justice Department, and other federal organizations.  Upon leaving office, she joined the faculty of the National Defense University, where she served until 2011.

Her prior government attorney positions include

  • Chief Counsel of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government Information (1997-1999)
  • General Counsel and Assistant Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (1987-1993)
  • Minority Counsel to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (1989)

She also served as Special Assistant to the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Army (2001-2003); Assistant Parliamentarian of the Senate during the impeachment trial of William Jefferson Clinton (1999); Legislative Assistant for Defense and Foreign Policy to Congressman Jack Kemp and the House Republican Conference (1981-1986); and President and founder of the private consulting firm National Security Concepts, Inc.  In private practice, Ms. Van Cleave was Of Counsel to the Washington law firm of Feith & Zell, P.C., and an associate with the Los Angeles law firm of Horvitz and Greines, specializing in appellate advocacy.

Ms. Van Cleave holds M.A. and B.A. degrees in International Relations from the University of Southern California (USC), and a J.D. from the USC School of Law.  She sits on the Boards of Directors of the Jamestown Foundation and the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.  She is a member of the bar associations of the State of California and the District of Columbia.

For more of Ms. Van Cleave’s media hits, click here.