House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) said the number of vacancies in key national security posts shows that the Obama administration isn’t fulfilling its responsibility.
“Nearly half of the top leadership positions within the Department of Homeland Security, which is the national security agency, are vacant,” McCaul said this morning on Fox. “That to me is a signal from the administration that they’re not taking homeland security seriously, they’re not taking national security seriously.”
For example, Janet Napolitano left her post at the end of August but Obama didn’t even nominate Jeh Johnson to fill the post until Oct. 17.
“Every day I get warnings of terrorists trying to fight into the country. And if we don’t have a head of — Customs and Border Patrol, if we don’t — if we have an acting deputy secretary, we don’t have a current secretary, we don’t have a watchdog,” McCaul continued. “The inspector general watchdog position within the Department of Homeland Security and so many other countless positions that we don’t have time to go into, that’s a failure of leadership.”
“If you don’t have leadership, the organization will fail. Can you imagine a business that had nearly 50 percent of its top leadership, not in place? I think it’s sort of a serious issue.”
McCaul did note that Johnson called him yesterday to say that, if confirmed, he would fill those vacancies within DHS.
“I certainly appreciate that, but I would have liked to have had a guy who was not sort of a on-the-job training, somebody that immediately could come in, command respect and stature, like a Ray Kelly type from New York, who we all know and respect. Like an Ed Davis type from the Boston Police Commissioner, after the Boston bombing, so much of this job is dealing with state and local police. And we saw how critical that was in Boston,” he said.
“And so, you know, this guy is gonna have to earn our respect, on the job training, he is kind of the president’s lawyer. And I don’t want a political hack in that position. I want someone who can lead on national security issues.”
Johnson’s nomination hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is scheduled for Wednesday.
“Again, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, he does have good experience from the Department of Defense. He has a good counterterrorism experience on the bin Laden raid, cybersecurity experience, all that stuff’s important,” McCaul said. “But again, I don’t want a yes man for the president, I want a guy who can jump in from day one, and really lead this organization that is crying out for leadership.”