Capital Thinking: Homeland Security




Two Senators Call for Acting DHS Inspector General to Step Down

Since June 2012, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Inspector General Charles K. Edwards has been the subject of a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management inquiry related to charges of nepotism and misuse of government resources. Based on allegations from a number of whistle-blowers from within the agency, subcommittee Chair Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Ranking Member Ron Johnson (R-WI) called for Mr. Edwards’ resignation. They have announced that they plan to convene a public hearing by the end of 2013 to discuss the results of their findings, and have begun to actively search for a candidate for DHS Inspector General to recommend to President Barack Obama. Their call for Mr. Edwards’ resignation comes as other members of the full committee have called for the Obama administration to submit more nominations to Congress to fill senior DHS positions.

Congress and TSA Debate Appropriate Response after TSA Shooting

In the wake of a deadly shooting at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, November 1, which killed Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer Gerardo Hernandez, members of Congress are seeking more information from TSA as they determine how to prevent future tragedies. The union that represents TSA screeners has called for a new class of armed agents at airport checkpoints, but TSA Administrator John Pistole, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and other members of Congress have downplayed the possibility of arming TSA agents. Pistole has argued that arming TSA agents would require expensive and time-consuming retraining for screeners because they are not law enforcement officers, and TSA is seeking to avoid “mission creep” because airports already have armed police at checkpoints and in terminals.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Wednesday, November 13: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a full committee confirmation hearing on the nomination of Jeh Johnson to be DHS Secretary.
  • Wednesday, November 13: The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance will hold a hearing titled “The Future of Terrorism Insurance: Fostering Private Market Innovation to Limit Taxpayer Exposure.”
  • Thursday, November 14: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security will hold a hearing to examine the recent shooting at Los Angeles International Airport.
  • Thursday, November 14: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a full committee hearing titled “Threats to the Homeland.”
  • Friday, November 15: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency will hold a hearing titled “Department of Homeland Security: Investigating DHS’s Stewardship of Taxpayer Dollars.”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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