Politics - News Analysis

Biden Admin Tells Trump’s Minions at DHS (Including Ken Cuccinelli) to Pack Up Their Sh*t and Leave

I love good news.

The Biden administration went on a bit of a firing spree recently, relieving 32 members of the Homeland Security Advisory Council of their positions, according to a letter obtained by Politico that was sent to council members.

In a letter sent Friday, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told members he has ended the “terms of current HSAC members effective March 26, 2021.

The removal of the members, who were all unpaid, in all likelihood is happening as the Biden administration continues to put its own stamp on the DHS, especially since some in its Immigration and Customs Enforcement stubbornly fought a move to place a temporary halt on deportations.

Now that the Biden administration has done a little house-cleaning, Mayorkas is trying to fine-tune the situation.

“I am considering how the HSAC can bring the greatest value to the Department, and how the expertise, judgment, and counsel of its members can be harnessed most effectively to advance the Department’s mission,” he noted in the letter. “I expect to work closely with the HSAC and to rely on its Members to help guide the Department through a period of change.”

Mayorkas thanked the out-going members for their help.

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The board was established to provide the DHS secretary with the expertise and advice of top homeland security officials to consult on department-wide decisions. In general, the board met frequently throughout the year, and subcommittees of the council have also issued reports on key subjects, such as economic security.

So who were some of the HSAC that were removed? The list includes former NSA director Keith Alexander, former DHS acting secretary Ken Cucinelli, former Immigrations and Customs Enforcement acting Director Tom Homan, former D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier, former star FBI agent Ali Soufan, Heritage Foundation foreign policy expert James Carafano, and former DHS official Stewart Baker. The 32 members removed on Friday were appointed by Republican and Democratic DHS secretaries.

Unsurprisingly there are those among the fired who are not happy.

“I’m really disappointed said,” Carafano said. He was appointed to the HSAC under former DHS secretary Michael Chertoff. “I thought this was the most talented board they ever had in terms of the broad expertise they brought to the department. I think it’s a loss to the department.”

Carafano added there were “a lot of super projects lined up,” including examining the role of DHS in fighting the Chinese government’s influence on the nation’s universities. Asked about some of the board’s previous accomplishments, he cited the board’s influence in advocating for much-needed changes to the color-coded terror alert system.

Former acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, who appointed many of the board’s members was similarly unhappy with the firings and voiced his sentiments on Twitter.

“While I respect the right for a DHS secretary to alter the HSAC to address their needs, dismissing the entire council outright and stopping a lot of important work (that was underway) is not the right approach.”

In his letter, Mayorkas also indicated he plans to overhaul the council soon while transitioning to a new model for the board. According to a DHS spokesperson, there are plans to launch a new council “with a diverse membership representative of America and the communities DHS serves” and added the committee will continue to be bipartisan.

At the beginning of Biden’s term, the administration fired several Trump-appointed members of the various Defense Department advisory committees.

Let’s hope these additional firings remove even more of the Trump deadwood. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people.


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