Trump nominates White Home aide for homeland safety publish

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump will nominate Kirstjen Nielsen, who as high aide to his White Home chief of employees has sought to instill order in Trump’s group, to guide the U.S. Division of Homeland Safety, the White Home stated in an announcement on Wednesday.

If confirmed by the Senate, Nielsen would take the reins at a sprawling division with greater than 240,000 staff that’s liable for U.S. border and airport safety, immigration coverage, catastrophe response, refugee admissions and different issues.

Nielsen, 45, is a cyber safety professional with a substantial resume in homeland safety that features work on the division’s Transportation Safety Administration and on former Republican President George W. Bush’s White Home Homeland Safety Council.

Nielsen was retired Marine Corps Common John Kelly’s chief of employees when he was secretary of homeland safety throughout the opening months of Trump’s presidency. Kelly introduced her to the White Home as his deputy when Trump named him chief of employees in July to interchange Reince Priebus after solely six months on the job.

The nomination requires Senate affirmation.

Nielsen’s departure from the White Home would mark the most recent upheaval in Trump’s White Home group. She was liable for finishing up a few of Kelly’s orders on who will get entry to the president. In consequence, she has irritated some White Home officers who now have restricted contact with Trump, in response to sources acquainted with the state of affairs.

Kelly has sought to deliver extra order to the chaotic West Wing since changing Priebus. Trump has welcomed the adjustments to some extent, though he has privately confided to pals that the constraints on entry to the Oval Workplace generally go too far.

Placing Nielsen into the Homeland Safety publish will enable Trump and Kelly to maintain an in depth eye on the division, however getting her out of the White Home may allow a few of Kelly’s strictness to be relaxed.

The division has been led by an appearing secretary, Elaine Duke, since Kelly took the White Home publish.

Cyber safety is likely one of the main points beneath the Homeland Safety Division’s portfolio. Nielsen beforehand labored at a cyber assume tank at George Washington College, blocks from the White Home, and is taken into account well-versed in among the extra technical missions on the division, resembling sharing cyber-threat info with the personal sector.

The division was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, assaults on the US uncovered cracks within the nation’s homeland safety equipment.

The appointment comes at a busy time for the division, with considered one of its companies, the Federal Emergency Administration Company, overseeing catastrophe reduction in hurricane-hit Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida in addition to wildfire-ravaged areas of California. The division is also liable for U.S. border safety.

The division is a serious participant in implementing Trump’s aggressive stance towards deporting unlawful immigrants, in addition to vetting the decrease variety of refugees Trump has determined to permit into the US and devising his journey ban on six Muslim-majority nations, North Korea and sure Venezuelans.


“It looks like a low-drama decide. It’s slightly regarding that she appears to have little background in immigration safety and coverage, however these particular person companies are in good palms already, and there’s a robust core of profession managers,” stated Jessica Vaughan, director of coverage research on the Middle for Immigration Research, which favors extra limits on immigration.

Nielsen just isn’t identified for hard-line views on immigration like these of White Home adviser Stephen Miller.

If confirmed, Nielsen could be the primary homeland safety secretary to have beforehand served as a rank-and-file member of the division. Some earlier DHS secretaries have been criticized for not possessing sufficient technical fluency to deal with cyber threats going through the nation.

She additionally served as a company legal professional and a congressional employees member, the White Home assertion stated.

“Kirstjen’s a coverage wonk at coronary heart, particularly relating to cyber,” Frank Cilluffo, a former senior homeland safety official beneath Bush who labored with Nielsen at George Washington College.

Nielsen would instantly be given the duty of serving to coordinate the federal response to potential cyber assaults that focus on elections. U.S. intelligence companies have concluded that Russia meddled within the 2016 presidential election to attempt to assist Trump win, partially by hacking and releasing emails embarrassing to his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, and thru on-line propaganda.

Russia has denied meddling within the election and Trump has denied any collusion between his marketing campaign and Moscow.

Jeh Johnson, who served as former Democratic President Barack Obama’s final homeland secretary chief, designated election programs as vital infrastructure, widening the assist the division can present to states. However the division has clashed with a number of state officers over how greatest to cooperate to defend future elections.

Politico first reported the appointment.

Reporting by Steve Holland in Washington; Extra reporting by Yeganeh Torbati, Dustin Volz, Doina Chiacu and Eric Walsh; Writing by Will Dunham; Enhancing by James Dalgleish and Peter Cooney

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