President Barack Obama just announced his new Department of Homeland Security head, Jeh Johnson, on the steps of the Rose Garden.
Obama: "I’m proud to announce my choice to lead [@DHSGov]—an outstanding public servant who I’ve known & trusted for years—Mr. Jeh Johnson."
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) October 18, 2013
While Washingtonians were waiting for the official announcement of Jeh Johnson’s appointment to head the Department of Homeland Security, feathers were already flying across the aisle about the controversial lawyer.
Republicans are saying Johnson is deficient in immigration experience, questioning his qualifications. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) who stood opposed to the Senate’s immigration bill, is one of those questioning the pick, “This huge department must have a proven manager with strong relevant law enforcement experience, recognized independence and integrity, who can restore this department to its full capability.”
Leaders on the right say the appointment is more related to Johnson’s party loyalty and fundraising than experience. “Texans expect a nominee with serious management and law enforcement experience,” says Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), second-ranking Senate Republican. “Rather than selecting someone who knows the unique dynamics of our Southern border, President Obama has tapped one of his former New York fundraisers. We need someone who knows how to secure the border, not dial for dollars.”
It was a Thursday story by The Daily Beast that previewed the President’s choice. Johnson is a former Department of Defense General Counsel—possibly best known for his involvement in eliminating the military policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2010. He is an active fundraiser for the democrats and is an early Obama supporter from the President’s days as an Illinois senator.
He is also considered a Hawk, with favorable stances on the military’s use of drones in counterterrorism attacks, prosecuting terrorism suspects in military tribunals and cyber-security threats. And has been known to oppose Obama, most prominently in 2011 having contended that using force in Libya required Congressional authorization, which opposed the White House lawyers’ decision that authorization was not warranted.
On Thursday, a White House aide called Johnson, “one of the most highly qualified and respected national security leaders,” saying the selection is more about his managerial experience in the largest government agency in the world, DOD.
As Director of DHS, Johnson would oversee the three immigration-related services: Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Previous head of DHS, Janet Napolitano, resigned from the agency in August to head the University of California system.[Image via Twitter.]