Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security, had lunch recently with Claire Danes, star of “Homeland”. Philip Galanes brought them together (above) for a piece printed in the Style section of the Sunday Times.
It strikes me as an odd invitation for the Secretary to accept. But he is evidently a fan and, as explained in the feature, Mr. Johnson perceives that popular culture can do a great deal to shape the political context.
No breaking news that I recognized. But it did cause me to look more carefully at yesterday’s edition of our “newspaper of record” for other homeland security related stories.
The magazine’s cover story is an exposé on the death of Osama bin Laden. While a bit of a stretch, doesn’t anything dealing with bin Laden somehow touch homeland security? That story is immediately followed by a two-page photo spread on confederate memorials in Richmond, Virginia. What do you think?
The first section of Sunday’s paper has plenty on Israeli-Palestinian tensions, Hindu nationalism, the war in Syria, refugees in Europe, and a Mexican drug lord. In their current form none of these reports quite strike me as speaking to the homeland. But there is a follow-up on the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College. That counts, wouldn’t you agree?
The business section’s big lead is on the head of the International Association of Fire Fighters. Recently I have argued here for greater involvement by homeland security professionals in policy/strategy development. The IAFF does so. The NYT tells how.
Racial discrimination in housing is the topic of Sunday’s lead editorial. The Sunday Review also includes an essay on how recent scientific studies show (again) “how easily we can be fooled by our belief in patterns.” Then there’s a piece on how Americans no longer learn to actively listen. These issues strike me as having profound implications for what I frame as homeland security. But I expect many of you would disagree.
The sports section confirms we are closing in on the World Series (a National Special Security Event).
Scanning the travel section my synapses fired on several terrorism or counterterrorism possibilities. Did you see the recent article claiming paranoia is good?
In an interview with Steven Spielberg we read:
So many things were in my mind in the contemporary world. Drone missions. Guantanamo Bay. Cyberhacking, because cyberhacking is a form of spying… And yet today, there is much more dread and fear of who’s looking over our shoulders. There was a specific enemy, the Soviet Union, in the the 1950s and ’60s. Today we don’t know our enemy. The enemy doesn’t have a specific face.
The Book Review tells us about a post-catastrophe novel, a non-fiction “biography” of weather, a couple of thrillers involving “China is ascendant, Russia is on a real estate acquisition binge, the Middle East is aflame…” There are also two new texts on “how we make sense of a complex world and try to predict its future.”
Any of the above strike you as homeland security stories? Sorry, nothing that I saw on floods, droughts, grid-failures, earthquakes, cyclones, current epidemics, or even supply chains. Maybe I missed something, will look more carefully on the plane tomorrow.
I’ve been invited to write a chapter for a new text on national security. Saturday I was reading complaints by several scholars regarding how there is no consistent definition of national security. If so, maybe the President is right when he insists, “Homeland Security is indistinguishable from National Security…”
But isn’t the Claire Danes character a CIA agent? She should be having lunch with John Brennan not Jeh.