Michael J. Ellis joined The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies as Visiting Fellow for law and technology. In this role, Ellis uses his distinguished background in technology and national security to work on cutting-edge and pressing legal issues that intersect with the field of technology.
Prior to joining Heritage, Mr. Ellis was General Counsel of the National Security Agency (NSA) from January to April 2021. Mr. Ellis also served in several different roles in the Trump administration, including as the Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Intelligence Programs at the National Security Council (NSC). In this role, he planned, directed, and coordinated policies and programs across the U.S. intelligence community.
From 2017 to 2020, Mr. Ellis was the Special Assistant to the President, Senior Associate Counsel to the President, and Deputy NSC Legal Advisor, where he provided advice to White House officials and coordinated the views of senior executive branch lawyers on a wide variety of issues. He was also the lead lawyer for the National Space Council
Prior to his service at the White House, Mr. Ellis was General Counsel of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and served as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
Mr. Ellis clerked for Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and for Judge Amul Thapar, then of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. He graduated from Yale Law School and Dartmouth College.