Jeh Johnson: Controversial Lawyer To Be Nominated as Head of Homeland Security


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According to an unidentified White House official, President Barack Obama will nominate criminal trial lawyer Jeh Johnson on Friday 18, 2013, to be the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The official made the following remarks on Johnson,

"He is one of the most highly qualified and respected national security leaders, having served as the senior lawyer for the largest government agency in the world..."By advising the president and two secretaries of defense, he was at the center of the development of some of the most sensitive and important national security policies and strategies during the first term."

During Obama's first term, Johnson served as general counsel in the Department of Defense. If nominated and approved by the Congress, Johnson would succeed Janet Napolitano, who relinquished her post earlier this year. Johnson is currently a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP.

Johnson helped repeal the "Don't' Ask, Don't Tell" policy in 2010, by writing a report assailing it on the grounds that it prevented gays and lesbians from serving openly in US armed forces.

This will be the second high profile nomination coming from the White House, after last week's nomination of Janet Yellen as the new head of Federal Reserve to replace outgoing Chairman Ben Shalom Bernanke.

Jeh Johnson strongly supports the Democratic Party and has been a key figure in fundraising and advising Democratic presidential campaigns. Johnson was active as a special counsel to John Kerry's 2004 presidential bid, and was an early supporter of Obama's presidential campaign, when he was fighting as an underdog against Hillary Clinton.

He has been one of key advisers to Barack Obama in foreign policy and finance. Johnson has been assailed by author and investigator Jeremy Scahill, for his eagerness and "banality" to sign off on drone strikes without any due process, that has been called unconstitutional.

In August 2012, Johnson sent a stern warning to decorated Navy seal Matt Bissonnette, who authored No Easy Day, a book covering the targeted strike by a team of Navy Seals to kill Osama Bin-Laden, regarding material breach of his non-disclosure agreements with DoD.

If confirmed, Johnson will be overseeing the DHS, which boasts an almost $60 billion budget, larger than the gross national income of more than half the countries in the world.