Report: Congressional Picks for DHS Secretary Include Mass Surveillance Supporters

According to a report on NextGov, the person replacing outgoing Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will likely be someone who has supported National Security Agency digital surveillance programs or legislation such as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). Secretary Napolitano announced earlier this month that she would be leaving the DHS in September to lead the University of California.

According to minor committee aides speaking to NextGov, ranking Democratic Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Tenn.) would prefer to see Rep. Loretta Sanchez ( D-Calif.) take the top post at DHS. Rep. Loretta Sanchez is one of the committee members who supported CISPA, which the House approved by a 288-127 vote in April.

NextGov says that Sanchez successfully introduced an amendment to CISPA that aided intelligence officials in evading civil liberties oversight by letting them report to Congress on the legislation’s impact. On Monday Thompson sent President Obama a letter asking him to select a person for the top post with "a demonstrated record of respecting privacy and civil rights."

Thompson also mentioned current Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) as a possible choice. Patrick defended federal information sharing practices in the aftermath of the Boston bombings. Other picks by Thompson include committee member Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), and Erroll Southers.

Meanwhile, Committee Chairman and Texas Republican Michael McCaul has recommended New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Kelly recently criticized the NSA for keeping its mass data collections programs secret. After the Boston Marathon attack earlier this year, Kelly dismissed critics who argued that installing cameras in cities threatens privacy.

Republican aides also said that McCaul is also putting forth Retired Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen as another good choice for the post. President Obama turned to Allen in 2010 to coordinate the federal response to the BP oil spill.

Source: NextGov

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