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Tag: Chad Wolf

Homeland Security’s Chad Wolf Set for Confirmation Hearing Wednesday Amid Uncertainties

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Acing Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf is scheduled to appear before a Senate committee Wednesday for a confirmation hearing amid doubts about his legitimacy as a candidate.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee plans to introduce Wolf at the hearing after President Tump officially submitted his nomination for Wolf on Sept. 10.

Wolf is Trump’s fifth Homeland Security secretary, but his confirmation is anything but a certainty. The last Senate-confirmed secretary was Kirstjen Nielsen, who was forced out in April 2019.

Courts and the Government Accountability Office have both suggested Wolf is not legally qualified to hold the position because he was appointed through an invalid process.

“Because the incorrect official assumed the title of acting secretary at that time, subsequent amendments to the order of succession made by that official were invalid,” the GAO said in August.

In a separate ruling last week, a Maryland judge blocked the Trump administration’s new asylum restrictions, saying Wolf appears to lack the authority to introduce them.

The White House has ignored the opinions and is moving forward with the nomination.

Whether Wolf has the votes to be confirmed remains unknown.

FBI Director Wray to Testify Before Congressional Committee, But Chad Wolf to Defy Subpoena to Attend

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying before the House Judiciary Committee.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray is scheduled to testify before a House committee on Thursday about homeland security threats.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, who was subpoenaed to testify, said he does not plan to attend the hearing, The Washington Post reports.

The House Committee on Homeland Security hearing is expected to explore intelligence assessments, which likely will include interference in the presidential election. Senior federal officials warned last month that Russia is trying to undermine Joe Biden’s candidacy.

Officials have said they are increasing security to limit outside interference.

Judge: Acting Homeland Security Director Wolf Likely Serving in Role Unlawfully

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf is likely serving in his role unlawfully, a Maryland judge ruled said.

In the ruling, Judge Paula Xinis blocked the Trump administration’s new asylum restrictions because Wolf appears to lack the authority to introduce them, The Hill reports.

“In sum, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs are likely to demonstrate (former acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin) McAleenan’s appointment was invalid under the agency’s applicable order of succession, and so he lacked the authority to amend the order of succession to ensure Wolf’s installation as Acting Secretary,” Xinis’ said in a 69-page ruling on Friday.

The judge’s decision comes a month after the Government Accountability Office determined that Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, a senior official performing deputy secretary duties, were not appointed through a valid process and therefore aren’t legally qualified to hold their positions. The GAO said their appointments violated the laws detailing who can fill Senate-confirmed posts.

The White House has said it’s not acting on the findings.

Whistleblower Accuses DHS of Suppressing Reports on Russian Election Interference

Russian President Vladimir Putin

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A whistleblower says he and other Homeland Security analysts were ordered to downplay Russian election interference because it “made Trump look bad.”

In a written complaint, Brian Murphy, the Homeland Security official, accuses acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf of directing him to suppress assessments on Russia and later withhold a report on Russian propaganda attacking Joe Biden’s mental health, The New York Times reports.

The directives amounted to a national security threat, Murphy said.

Murphy also says Kenneth Cuccinelli II, the second in command at Homeland Security, directed him to water down threats of white supremacy to make them “appear less severe” and to add information on violent “left-wing” groups.

In August, Murphy was reassigned to Homeland Security’s management division following news that his office collected intelligence on protesters and journalists in Portland. But in the complaint, Murphy said the real reason for his demotion was his raising concerns about the orders.

“Mr. Murphy followed proper, lawful whistle-blower rules in reporting serious allegations of misconduct against D.H.S. leadership, particularly involving political distortion of intelligence analysis and retaliation,” Mark S. Zaid, Murphy’s lawyer, said in a statement.

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are calling on Murphy to testify during a private session on Sept. 21.

“We will get to the bottom of this, expose any and all misconduct or corruption to the American people, and put a stop to the politicization of intelligence,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and chairman of the committee said.

Calling Murphy a “disgruntled former employee,” a White House spokeswoman said Murphy had “never sought to dictate the intelligence community’s focus on threats to the integrity of our elections or on any other topic.”

Homeland Security spokesman Alexei Woltornist also rejected the allegations.

“We flatly deny that there is any truth to the merits of Mr. Murphy’s claim,” Woltornist said. “D.H.S. looks forward to the results of any resulting investigation, and we expect it will conclude that no retaliatory action was taken against Mr. Murphy.”

Trump to Nominate Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to Permanent Role

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump on Tuesday announced he will nominate acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to the role permanently.

Wolf has been serving as acting secretary since November, when he became the fifth leader of Homeland Security under Trump.

“I am pleased to inform the American Public that Acting Secretary Chad Wolf will be nominated to be the Secretary of Homeland Security,” Trump announced on Twitter. “Chad has done an outstanding job and we greatly appreciate his service!”

Wolf said in a statement, “As the homeland faces evolving threats from natural disasters, violent opportunists, malign cyber actors, and transnational criminal organizations, the mission of DHS is as critical as ever.”

Last week, the Government Accountability Office determined that Wolf was not qualified to hold the acting position because he was appointed through an invalid process.

Acting Homeland Security general counsel Chad Mizelle dismissed the findings as politically motivated.

“The GAO should rescind its erroneous report immediately,” Mizelle wrote in a letter to the congressional watchdog agency.

Wolf replaced acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, who resigned in November after leading the agency for about six months. Wolf had served as chief of staff under Kirstjen Nielsen, who was the last Homeland Security secretary to be confirmed by the Senate. She resigned in April 2019.

Leading Homeland Security has been no easy task because Trump has demanded a secretary whose focus is clearly on immigration, which is only one part of the multi-faceted agency.

Two Top Homeland Security Officials Were Illegally Appointed, Not Qualified to Hold Posts

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The top two acting Homeland Security leaders were not appointed through a valid process and therefore aren’t legally qualified to hold their positions, the Government Accountability Office has determined.

The appointments of Chad Wolf, acting Department of Homeland Security secretary, and Ken Cuccinelli, a senior official performing deputy secretary duties, violated the laws detailing who can fill Senate-confirmed posts, the GAO said. They have been serving in their positions since November.

“Because the incorrect official assumed the title of acting secretary at that time, subsequent amendments to the order of succession made by that official were invalid,” the GAO said Friday, as reported by The New York Times.

Without the ability to enforce its findings, the GAO was referring the case to Homeland Security’s inspector General and Congress.

The White House said it’s not acting on the findings.

“D.H.S. is expressly authorized by Congress in the Homeland Security Act to designate its acting secretaries,” Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said. “G.A.O. is not. And G.A.O.’s opinion substituting its views for that of the agency’s is not only wrong, but laughable.”

Some Democrats called for the officials to resign and said their policy decisions could be invalidated.

“President Trump’s efforts to install political sycophants to implement his extreme policies in an end run around the law and Senate have finally caught up with him,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. said in a statement. “The determination by an independent congressional watchdog today invalidates actions Mr. Cuccinelli and Mr. Wolf have taken and both should immediately step down from their illegal roles.”

Memo: Federal Agents in Portland Not Adequately Trained in Riot Control Or Mass Demonstrations

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal agents who were sent to Portland to quell protests were not adequately trained in riot control or mass demonstrations, Homeland Security warned in an internal memo.

The memo, dated Thursday, was written for acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, who criticized local officials’ handling of protests that resulted in property damage at federal buildings, The New York Times reports.

The presence of federal officers has drawn widespread criticism and lawsuits after videos circulated on social media showing the officers in camouflage grabbing protesters from the streets and loading them into unmarked minivans.

“Moving forward, if this type of response is going to be the norm, specialized training and standardized equipment should be deployed to responding agencies,” the memo warns.

Among those sent to Portland were tactical agents from a group known as BORTAC, a SWAT-type team that typically investigates drug smuggling organizations, not protests.

Homeland Security spokesman Alexei Woltornist said the federal agents received “additional training for their deployment in the city” to help the Federal Protective Service.

The sight of federal officers shooting tear gas and non-lethal projectiles at protesters appears to have escalated “fear and violence” in the city, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosemblum argued in a lawsuit filed Friday against Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals Service, and CBP.

Federal Officers in Unmarked Vans Are Seizing Protesters in Portland without Explanation

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal officers in camouflage and unmarked minivans are detaining protesters in Portland without the approval of local and state officials.

Videos posted on social media show federal officers grabbing protesters off the street without explanation and driving off with them in unmarked vehicles.

Since early July, officers with U.S. Marshals, Federal Protective Service, Customs and Border Protection, and Homeland Security Investigations have been in Portland, ostensibly to protect federal buildings.

But federal officers “are also detaining people on Portland streets who aren’t near federal property, nor is it clear that all of the people being arrested have engaged in criminal activity,” Oregon Public Broadcasting reports.

Civil rights attorneys question the tactics, saying the federal officers appear to be violating protesters’ rights to due process.

“It’s like stop and frisk meets Guantanamo Bay,” attorney Juan Chavez, director of the civil rights project at the Oregon Justice Resource Center, says, calling the arrests “terrifying.”

“You have laws regarding probable cause that can lead to arrests,” he says. “It sounds more like abduction. It sounds like they’re kidnapping people off the streets.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he was not happy with the presence of federal law enforcement.

“We’re aware that they’re here. We wish they weren’t,” Wheeler tweeted Thursday evening. “We haven’t been invited to meet with them, and if we were, we would decline.”

On Saturday night, a protester was seriously injured when a federal agent fired a crowd-control weapon at him outside the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was in Portland on Thursday and criticized the mayor and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat.

“Portland has been under siege for 47 straight days by a violent mob while local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city,” Wolf said in a news release. “Each night, lawless anarchists destroy and desecrate property, including the federal courthouse, and attack the brave law enforcement officers protecting it.”

Wolf released a list of property crimes involving federal buildings.

“This siege can end if state and local officials decide to take appropriate action instead of refusing to enforce the law. DHS will not abdicate its solemn duty to protect federal facilities and those within them. Again, I reiterate the Department’s offer to assist local and state leaders to bring an end to the violence perpetuated by anarchists,” Wolf said.

Wheeler said the federal officers are escalating tensions by using “life-threatening tactics,” accusing President Trump and Wheeler of “weaponizing the DHS as their own occupying army to provoke violence.”