November 15, 2013
Jeh Johnson, President Obama’s pick to replace Janet Napolitano as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is supported by former DHS secretaries who feel that: “Mr. Johnson’s abilities and experiences will not only continue the important effort the Department of Homeland Security is charged with, but build on the progress made over the last 10 years to combat an ever-evolving threat, and make our communities more resilient.”
Former secretaries Napolitano, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff wrote a letter describing Johnson’s past experience as “a perspective that will benefit him as he implements a key element of DHS’ mission, combating terrorism here at home.”
Media claims Johnson has been silent on issues pertaining to DHS responsibilities such as:
• Countering homegrown radicalization
• Enforcing US immigration laws
• Respond to natural disasters
• Information sharing to assess threat level of target
• Collaborate with law enforcement
Johnson has been involved with the targeted drone assassination program (TDAP) with the DHS, CIA and Department of Justice (DoJ).
Obama said : “Jeh also knows that meeting these threats demands cooperation and coordination across our government. He’s been there in the Situation Room at the table in moments of decision, working with leaders from a host of agencies to make sure everyone is rowing in the same direction. And he’s respected across our government as a team player, somebody who knows how to get folks who don’t always agree to work towards a common goal.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has recognized that “for the past several years, the United States has engaged in a program of targeted killing — most commonly but not exclusively through the use of drones. While much about this program remains hidden from the public eye, there is significant public debate over the scope, legality, morality and efficacy of these practices.”
Johnson was integral in controlling the information to the public about the TDAP, as well as ensuring that the “scope and legal standing” of the program were intact to protect the actions of the current administration from legal retribution.
As a graduate from Columbia Law School (CLS), Johnson has focused his legal career at American civil and criminal trials.
For the presidential campaign of Obama, Johnson was the foreign policy adviser and member of Obama’s national finance committee.
In 2012, Johnson was the general counsel for the Department of Defense (DoD) after nomination by Obama.
In this role, Johnson was an integral architect of the legal policies of our counterterrorism initiatives.
Part of this scheme, Johnson pressured for the continued support of the Military Commissions Act of 2009 and worked with Army General Carter Ham on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy when its validity was questioned.
House Representative Michael McCaul said that Johnson is a “political hack” pick by Obama because of their coercion in creating key anti-terrorism policies.
McCaul said that Johnson would “not take homeland security seriously.”
Polls quoted in media claim that “66% of Americans have a positive view of Homeland Security, which ranks it behind the Center for Disease Control [CDC], NASA, the Defense Department [DoD] and the Veterans’ Administration [VA].”
James Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) said : “I couldn’t have picked [Johnson] out of a lineup with the Marx Brothers.”
In 2011, Johnson spoke at a conference at the Heritage Foundation (HF), stating the challenges of creating a “civilian law enforcement in this country.”
Indeed, Johnson has argued for the targeted killing of American citizens by drones on US soil.
Johnson said: “Belligerents who also happen to be U.S. citizens do not enjoy immunity where noncitizen belligerents are valid military objectives. There is risk in permitting and expecting the U.S. military to extend its powerful reach into areas traditionally reserved for civilian law enforcement in this country. The military should not and cannot be the only answer.”
The use of “non-lethal weapons” extends to Predator drones, according to Johnson.
The National Security Agency (NSA) PRISM program is a favorite of Johnson who maintains that when an American “makes a phone call” they have “no legitimate expectation of privacy”.
In addition, Johnson claims that the NSA surveillance and data collection operations are “probably the most regulated national security program we have.”
In 2011, Johnson spoke at a Pentagon commemoration of the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King, and suggested that King would have supported the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Johnson said: “I believe that if Dr. King were alive today, he would recognize that our nation’s military should not and cannot lay down its arms and leave the American people vulnerable to terrorist attack.”