Sunday, June 25, 2017

Jeh Johnson

by -

Judicial Watch announced that a federal court judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to produce this week any “preservation requests” for emails sent to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Chief of Staff Christian Marrone, and General Counsel Stevan Bunnell. The order from U.S District Court Judge Randolph Moss came in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking agency records in the personal email accounts used by the four top Homeland Security officials (Judicial Watch v U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:16-cv-00967)).   The court order, issued last week after a hearing, requires DHS to comply by January 12 (Thursday).

At last week’s January 5 hearing, Obama Justice Department lawyers confirmed that nothing had been done to retrieve government records from Jeh Johnson or the other officials’ accounts.  According to the hearing transcript:

THE COURT: But you say to me there’s no reason to doubt that the agency will pursue the records and that they’ll be returned, but it’s been six months. Is there any evidence that anything has been done to retrieve those documents or records?

[Justice Department Lawyer Bailey] HEAPS: I think that the six months though, your Honor, refers to the time in a FOIA request which is independent of any obligations under the Federal Records Act. And I don’t think we would be in this position with respect to the FOIA case had a valid request been filed or submitted.

THE COURT: But put that aside for a second. I mean, the government has been on notice at least since May though that there’s reason to believe that there are e-mails that are residing on individuals’ private servers that are government records, right?

HEAPS: Your Honor, the first thing I would point out — and I think it’s important because we’re going back and forth between FOIA and the Federal Records Act, is we don’t have reason to believe — or let me be clear, we don’t know that there are federal records that are in the personal e-mail accounts.

THE COURT: So has anyone checked to see if there are? Has anyone asked a question, anything to try and figure that out?

HEAPS: I can’t represent one way or the other to that, your Honor.

Judge Moss’s order, issued shortly after the hearing, reads in part:

On or before 1/12/2017, the Government is to produce, under seal, for in-camera submission, the preservation requests that it sent to all four of the individuals; The Government is also to file a notice on the public record, on or before 1/12/2017, regarding the in-camera filing, and to indicate the individuals intentions with respect to abiding by the preservation requests.

The January 5 hearing came in response to a Motion for Preservation Order filed by Judicial Watch . In that filing Judicial Watch asked the court to issue a “preservation order” for the non-.gov emails of Johnson, Mayorkas and Bunnell because their departure from government service is anticipated upon the installation of the new administration and Homeland Security will no longer have any control over these individuals:

The records at issue are in the physical possession of three current agency officials and one former agency official. With the upcoming change in administrations on January 20, 2017, it is likely that the three officials currently in office (Secretary Jeh Johnson, Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and General Counsel Stevan Bunnell) will leave government service.

Counsel for DHS has informed [Judicial Watch’s] counsel that DHS has “asked” these officials to preserve the agency records in their possession. DHS’ counsel declined to provide any evidence supporting this assertion. Because [Judicial Watch] does not know specifically what DHS asked its employees to do and what, if any, other steps DHS has taken to ensure preservation, Plaintiff is concerned DHS’s mere requests to its employees are insufficient. This will be particularly concerning once the officials possessing the emails leave government employment, as the agency will have no control over the actions of these officials.

***

A court order requiring preservation of these emails is particularly necessary now as DHS has suggested that these officials may have been acting without authorization by sending emails from these accounts…. As such, there is no assurance that these officials will abide by a “request” by the agency to preserve these emails, particularly after their employment ends.

An order requiring DHS to take steps to preserve the agency records at issue is consistent with an agency’s recordkeeping responsibilities to retain and manage government records subject to the Federal Records Act….If the agency officials are permitted to leave their employment while retaining agency records in their personal email accounts, it risks creating a situation comparable to that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In that instance, it is undisputed that only a portion of Secretary Clinton’s emails eventually were returned to the agency.

[Judicial Watch] respectfully requests expedited consideration of this motion in light of the likely imminent departure from government service of the three agency officials possessing agency records in their personal email accounts.

“The Obama gang is creating another email scandal with Jeh Johnson and the Department of Homeland Security,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We know there are likely government records on Jeh Johnson’s and other top DHS officials’ personal email accounts. That the Obama administration hasn’t lifted a finger to retrieve these public records is criminal.”

In June, Judicial Watch in a related case obtained 693 pages of Homeland Security records revealing that Secretary Jeh Johnson and 28 other agency officials used government computers to access personal web-based email accounts despite an agency-wide ban due to heightened security concerns.  The documents also reveal that Homeland Security officials misled Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) when Perry specifically asked whether personal accounts were being used for official government business.

The waivers were granted to Johnson and other senior staffers after Homeland Security’s Sensitive Systems Policy Directive 4300A was promulgated on April 30, 2014.   The Directive was issued after hackers breached the Office of Personnel Management computer system.  Directive 4300A states, “The use of Internet Webmail (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL) or other personal email accounts is not authorized over DHS furnished equipment or network connections.”

by -
Elections

When Jeh Johnson was appointed the director of Homeland Security, we doubt he had any idea he would be taking over the elections.

Jeh Johnson, the man appointed by president Obama to be the director of the Department of Homeland Security is now being tasked with another job, securing the elections in November.

The first step is declaring the election a piece of “critical infrastructure” like the electric power grid and Wall Street. Both of which, the DHS is in charge of security.

Jeh made these comments when speaking to reporters about the takeover.

“We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process, is critical infrastructure like the financial sector, like the power grid.

There’s a vital national interest in our election process, so I do think we need to consider whether it should be considered by my department and others critical infrastructure.”

The threat of a hack into our election system is very real.

Recent studies showed that some of the machines used in the primaries may have even been tampered with in a few of the Bernie and Hillary races.

Just this week a FBI agent came out and said that the election systems in Illinois and in Arizona have been hacked and could be susceptible to sabotage or rigged results.

Russia has been suspected of several hacks, but nothing has been proven yet.

Jeh Johnson is right about one thing; our election is part of our critical infrastructure.

Without the ability for our people to hold elections and vote for the candidates we believe will do the best then we do not have a democracy.

Cyber security is needed due to the tremendous amount of threats that are there, but does this give too much power to the party in control?

If the person in charge of the elections is an appointed person, in this case a Democrat appointed by Obama, does that give the party in power too much control?

One thing that we have heard over and over during this presidential race is that the elections are rigged. We heard if from Bernie Sanders for months and months, and he still lost.

It turned out that it was rigged against him, the DNC rigged the primary against his campaign and it was proven in the WikiLeaks release of DNC emails.

The DNC did go to great lengths to make sure that Hillary won despite the momentum of the party was with Bernie.

It is not crazy to think that a party might rig an election to maintain control. It is obvious that those around Hillary made sure she won the primary.

The DNC is not the DHS though, and the DHS should be held to a higher standard, but the possibility is there, and that possibility is what scares us.

What do you think about the DHS taking over the elections? Let us know in the comments below.

TRENDING STORIES

Guarding Republicans

Over the weekend, the New York Times was slammed for running a piece where the news outlet apparently tried to cover up the motives...