Outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson admitted Wednesday that President Obama and the administration “ultimately” is most at-fault for the Russian cyber attacks during the U.S. election season this year – attacks that some Democrats have said cost Hillary Clinton the Oval Office.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow posed the question in a rare media interview with Johnson, asking whether he would label Russia’s activity a “massive national security failure” and if so, who was to blame for it.

“Well, ultimately it’s all of us. The president ultimately has responsibility. The Department of Homeland Security has responsibility. The IC [Intelligence Community], of course, it’s on all of us, certainly those of us in the Cabinet,” Johnson said, breaking from Obama’s narrative that the media was to blame for diverting the public’s attention on the matter. “The public has a role in this as well. But there are definitely some lessons learned here and for the future.”

Johnson said his agency tried to bring the magnitude of the issue to the surface, but it announced the likelihood of Russia’s hacking on Oct. 7, the day major news broke of President-elect Trump’s comments in a leaked “Access Hollywood” tape. DHS is now focused on helping President Obama carry out an investigation during his final month in office. That will include declassifying and releasing information in order to do a full assessment on what happened and how it happened.

Cybersecurity has become the most pressing element of national security concerns, but the agency is still focused on the physical threat of terrorist attacks, as well as border security. This week’s terrorist attack by means of a commercial truck in Berlin, Germany, was a reminder to the U.S. government of the growing challenge that preventing these types of acts continues to be, Johnson said.

Large U.S. cities like New York do the best proactive enforcement at public gatherings, according to Johnson. The problem lies in moderate-sized cities and small towns where the federal government is working to raise awareness of counterterrorism patrol methods among law enforcement and the public.

The estimated 11 million illegal immigrants are living near the border and interior of the country, present other national security concerns. Johnson is hoping Trump will follow his example on despite railing against the Obama administration’s agenda in the election.

“My sincere hope is that this next administration will wrestle with comprehensive immigration reform – they will take on border security as they said they will,” Johnson told Maddow. “The president-elect has also said at some point we’re going to take a look at these 11 million and figure out what to do. And when you get to that point, you’re going to realize that the Dreamers – the people who came here as kids – are people who are the most sympathetic in terms of who is here undocumented. They ought to reckon with the fact that these people ought to be allowed to come out of the shadows and stay on the books.”

The fourth leader of the youngest federal agency warned Trump he will not be able to live up to his purported campaign promise of deporting the 11 million people in the U.S. illegally.

Eric Trump cancels auction with Ivanka due to conflict of interest

Also from the Washington Examiner

“As unfortunate as it is, I understand the quagmire,” Eric Trump said. “You do a good thing that backfires.”

12/22/16 12:06 AM

“You can’t deport 11 million people. It’s not a good idea to try. You need to focus on threats to public safety,” Johnson said. “My hope is that the next administration will come to the view that we have, which is the top priority for deportation are threats to public safety, the criminals, the convicted criminals.”

Johnson did not divulge any plans with the Obama administration to protect the 750,000 people deemed as Dreamers through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

For all that DHS does as the conglomeration of 22 agencies, Johnson said he believes it should continue to exist as-is.

“It is the case that this is the third largest department and is probably the most decentralized,” Johnson said. “But it does make a lot of sense to have under the umbrella of Homeland Security all those different missions. They used to be spread all over the federal government in Energy and Transportation and Treasury — under the responsibility of some cabinet secretaries that did not have national security as their core mission. And so in that sense it makes — it works.”

Johnson’s likely successor, retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, has his stamp of approval for the job despite Johnson’s disagreements with Trump on various policies.

Retailers fear House GOP tax plan

Also from the Washington Examiner

At issue is the border-adjustment feature meant to eliminate the incentives for businesses to move overseas.

12/22/16 12:01 AM

“John Kelly and Jim Mattis, I know them both from my days at the Pentagon. They’re two different people. They’re both capable people, great Americans, men of character and integrity. So I don’t have a concern that General Kelly, because of his military background is not suited to run the department of homeland security. I actually think he’ll be well received by our workforce,” Johnson explained.

The 59-year-old has no future plans of running for political office, telling Maddow he feels “as though I’ve done everything in public service that I could possibly do.”

“I’ll be content to be a private citizen again. I’ve been in public service four times now. This is the last time. And I do believe in the public servant private citizen model,” Johnson said. “I think that we have to all look for our exit lane and know when to take them. And I’ve had a good run with President Obama.”

Johnson will return to private law practice in New York City and move to Montclair, N.J. He said he is excited for the mundane aspects of not being a public figure.

“I look forward to being a private citizen again where I don’t have to inform five people that I’m going to the men’s room,” Johnson added. “You know, Cyrus Vance, you remember him, secretary of state – long time ago I was running the New York City subway system and the car cleaned out. And I looked to the back of the car and there was Cyrus Vance back in a private law practice in New York City. You know, hanging over a newspaper with a rumpled up trenchcoat all by himself. Nobody recognized him. And I want to be Cyrus Vance.”

Meet the Democrats who want to abolish the Electoral College

Top Story

A growing number of Democrats are interested in changing or even completely eliminating the Electoral College.

12/21/16 11:01 PM

Source link

About the Author:

Leave a Reply