Many Americans who have been critical of the Department of Homeland Security are preparing for a frightening change for the worse following the White House’s announcement that Jeh Johnson, formerly the Pentagon’s top lawyer, was President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Janet Napolitano as DHS Secretary.
During his time at the Pentagon, Johnson was a key player in authorizing and defending the government’s extrajudicial drone executions of American citizen and has, according to one official, been “responsible for the prior legal review and approval of every military operation approved by the President and secretary of defense” throughout Obama’s first term in the Oval Office.
“The president is selecting Johnson because he is one the most highly qualified and respected national security leaders,” the unnamed senior Administration official told The Washington Post. “During his tenure at the Department of Defense, he was known for his sound judgment and counsel.”
In 2011, Johnson was instrumental approving in the execution of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen and suspected senior figure in al-Qaida, who was executed with a drone strike in Yemen.
Waves of criticism directed at the CIA and the White House followed from Americans who believed al-Awlaki’s citizenship afforded him due process. Johnson responded to the criticism in a speech at Yale Law School shortly after the strike occurred.
“Belligerents who also happen to be U.S. citizens do not enjoy immunity where non-citizen belligerents are valid military objectives,” he said at the time.
Criticizing the President’s pick, a blogger at Ron Paul’s Institute for Peace and Prosperity wrote last week:
If the ubiquitous voice of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in the metro (or Walmart, etc) demanding that you say something if you see something wasn’t frightening enough, if TSA’s cancer rays and gropings were not outrageous enough, if Homeland Security military vehicles on US soil were not disgusting enough, Obama has a real treat in store for you. …
Thanks to Johnson’s determination, at least three American citizens have been killed without trial by their government.
Now he will be in charge of the “homeland.”
Chew on that next time you ponder “opting out” at the airport!
Johnson also served as general counsel for the government during the WikiLeaks controversy involving the unauthorized disclosure of hundreds of thousands of sensitive documents by Pfc. Bradley Manning and others.
In a letter to a whistle-blower organization in 2010, Johnson charged that WikiLeaks and its associates were responsible for “illegal and irresponsible actions” which aided America’s enemies in “their own terrorist aims.”
Johnson, on behalf of the Federal government, went on to demand “that NOTHING further be released by WikiLeaks, that ALL of the US Government classified documents that WikiLeaks has obtained be returned immediately and that WikiLeaks remove and destroy all of these records from its databases.”