Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 26, 2013

DHS Deputy Secretary confirmation fight exacerbates vacancies problem

Filed under: Congress and HLS,DHS News,General Homeland Security — by Christian Beckner on July 26, 2013

In late June the President nominated Alejandro Mayorkas, current Director of USCIS, to be the next Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.  This nomination was a critical first step in addressing the issue of DHS leadership vacancies that I wrote about here a couple of weeks ago, and which has attracted notable media attention since Secretary Napolitano announced her resignation two weeks ago.

Until a few days ago, I assumed that this nomination would move forward smoothly, given Mayorkas’ very good reputation and his performance leading USCIS for the last four years.   But as has been reported in the news this week, there’s been a bump in the road in his nomination process, related to a reported DHS Inspector General investigation into certain investments made via the Immigrant Investor Program (known as EB-5), and Mayorkas’ alleged involvement in key decisions related to this matter.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held its confirmation hearing for Mayorkas yesterday (July 25th), likely having scheduled this hearing before this news broke with the intent to try to get him confirmed before the August recess.  Senator Coburn and the other Republican members of the Committee boycotted the hearing, arguing that these  issues raised by the IG needed to be resolved before the nomination should move forward.

I’ve reviewed the transcript of yesterday’s hearing, all relevant news clippings on this EB-5 matter, and the relevant documents released by Senator Grassley yesterday.  This is definitely the kind of issue that Senate Committees need to look at and sort out as part of a confirmation process.  There’s still a lot of confusing and contradictory information in the public record on this matter, so I don’t feel confident to comment on the substance of the allegations.  But from a process standpoint, I would note that these allegations are being brought forward publicly by the IG (who is under his own investigative cloud) in a way that seems very unfair to Mayorkas – who was perplexed and blindsided by these allegations at the hearing, and appears to have had no opportunity to respond to them in the year that the IG’s investigation has been open.   The IG’s actions in relation to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee also appear to be very strange – the Committee apparently only learned about this matter from the IG earlier this week, and Senator Carper indicated at the hearing that he found no relevant information on this matter in Mayorkas’ FBI background report.

And unfortunately, the net result of this matter is that it now seems unlikely that Mayorkas will be confirmed before Secretary Napolitano departs DHS on September 7th.  (The Senate will be on recess from August 3 to September 9, so will have no opportunity to confirm him after next Friday, August 3rd).  That will create a significant and troubling leadership gap at the top of DHS, just in time for the 12th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, and right in the middle of hurricane season.  The Department is also likely to have a full legislative agenda this fall (cyber security, border security, appropriations etc.) and on the policy front is charged with working on the second Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) and updating the National Infrastructure Protection Plan this fall.   These issues will all suffer if there is a prolonged senior leadership gap after Secretary Napolitano’s departure.

For these reasons, I hope that the Senate will find a way to resolve this issue and move forward soon on Mayorkas’s nomination.  And it is also imperative that the White House nominate someone as soon as possible to be the next Secretary of DHS, and also finally move forward on nominating and appointing individuals for other key vacant positions (CBP, I&A, ICE, IG, etc.) as soon as possible.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

July 26, 2013 @ 8:14 am

Great post and balanced and fair!

In many departments and agencies the Secretary of the Department or the head of the Independent Executive Branch agency is Mr. or Ms. OUTSIDER while the Deputy is the inside day-to-day manager of the Department or Agency.

Since you know DHS well Christian perhaps you could give us your perspective on the division of labor historically in DHS?

And given the Departure of the Secretary would it not make sense to have the new Secretary in place before selection of a deputy?

I believe to some degree the current Secretary is what I call a SKATER! In Washington that means someone who skates ahead of the breaking ice!

I believe the ice will be cracking heavily in DHS throughout the rest of the year and even though much covered over NOW by various defensive mechanisms and spin much lies underneath of great concern to me about the Department and its management.

As always perhaps am wrong in my judgment!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

July 29, 2013 @ 11:13 pm

When it comes to DHS, seldom is William Cumming wrong in his perspective!

Until we get serious in promoting truly qualified and dedicated citizens without and dubious ties or records, we will continue to fail and oh, how we shall fail! the road ahead will be more of the same chants as Ms. Hillary’s, “What difference does it make at this point” – such blatant lies from WH, to State to DHS, to AG…

…and a “Chicago-Washington-Hollywood Express” in charade best described by Stephen Douglass:

“Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them’ and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those who they oppress” –

Whether at DHS or to the local politicians, lack of competencies and commitment to our Judeo-Christian principles. We will suffer much calamity now and we will be a nation unprepared in so many ways….

God Bless us all. We are in much peril!

Christopher Tingus
Cape Cod, MA 02645

Comment by Christopher Tingus

July 30, 2013 @ 5:46 am

Is the following report accurate and if it is and we are so concerned about DHS and EH executive decisions as a nation, why have media outlets chosen to report about vacation at Martha’s Vineyard and Not this continued direct breach of faith, treason from the White House in Barry Obama’s phony and lack of any real intent in promised transparency to those of us on “Main Street USA” and we see a Ms. Hillary documentary to be presented on CNN shortly touting Ms. Hillary who should also be under House arrest for her blatant lies and “what’s the difference” remarks and failed State leadership – these are the real Homeland Security issues which affect every American and those at the “Benghazi Massacre” so willingly and knowingly left behind.

As an independent voter, the Republican Congressional membership with those in the Democratic party who continue to participate in this “Chicago-Washington-Hollywood Charade” should also be held accountable per their oath and pledge to our Constitution and ‘ol Glory….Have you no integrity or shame? This nation since ’08 has been torn apart and our Constitution now tattered at its edges and particularly by an AG who is nothing more than the “henchman” of this Chicago city street slicker and nothing more whose pledge to Hussein Obama and his Kenyan pals was to diminish the mighty importance of America and you are willing to continue even in the Deputy Secretary’s spot someone whose background is questionable…the Deputy Secretary of DHS?

By the way, while we are so intent on leaving Afghanistan, the Germans are staying and increasing their regional presence…do you ever wonder why and have any idea as to the strategic intent of Merkel et al in filling the void of a weakened America and failure to realize that any Democracy must maintain a strong arsenal and must stand forthright and with conviction against so many who truly seek our demise including our arch enemy, Germany…

Whether the DHS top post or the Deputy post, those at the helm and their commitment to our beloved Republic must be beyond reproach and to think of it and per our local coffee shop discussions among us, how many engaged as “entrusted” elected officials can we rely count on? Unfortunately, few….

….to those interested other than the press who continues to fail us in every way…the following:
The Obama Administration secretly released five Taliban prisoners from Gitmo. It was a nod of willingness to open peace talks.
YNet reported:

Without much publicity or official announcements, the Unites States released five Guantanamo Bay detainees as a nod of willingness to open peace talks in Afghanistan. After officials in Kabul expressed desire for negotiations, the Obama administration released five members of the Taliban who were detained at the US detention center.

A top US official said that the prisoners were released under the condition that they will not engage in any violent activity. While it is clear that they are guilty of crime, the benefit in releasing them—the potential withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan by the summer of 2014—is greater than the risk. The US announced it will attempt to negotiate peace talks with the Taliban and Afghanistan government officials some months ago.

A recent report released by the House Armed Servicess subcommittee revealed that 27% of Gitmo detainees return to a life of terror after their release.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

July 30, 2013 @ 8:12 am

Breaking news:


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