Homeland Security

Congress must clean up MEADS mess

“BOOM! Whoosh!” Awesome doesn’t begin to describe the teeth-rattling thunder of a Patriot missile going supersonic right over your skull as it races to intercept an incoming enemy missile, successfully I might add.

I’m a Patriot fan. It protected Mrs. Koehler’s only son and helped return him from two major theater wars in the Persian Gulf, one in 1991 and the other in 2003. Both times whilst staging in Kuwait anticipating the invasion of Iraq.

Patriot wasn’t new in 1991 and it’s still frontline in 2012. That’s quite a run.


Lone wolf terrorism: Understanding the motives behind mass shootings

Mass shootings this summer in Aurora, Colorado, and Oak Creek, Wisconsin, horrified Americans and re-kindled debates over gun control, public security, and mental health. They have also focused attention on so-called “lone wolves,” individuals who commit atrocities without material support from an organization. Authorities, news organizations, and our public discourse have denounced the two perpetrators as deranged criminals and domestic terrorists. What lies behind these declarations?


Ten reasons young people should come forward for deferred action

On August 15, the first of perhaps a million or more people who qualify for the DREAM Act will begin stepping forward to apply and pay fees for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a form of temporary deportation relief for undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria. Each case will be evaluated individually, but I am encouraging those who meet the basic criteria to consider applying for DACA or at least get all the information they can about whether it is the right thing for them. Thousands will join me and Senator Dick Durbin, the author of the DREAM Act, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Chicago at the Navy Pier for a workshop on the new program conducted by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and numerous local groups.


Leadership lessons and recruit training

On the quiet Sunday evening of April 8, 1956, at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina, Staff Sergeant Matthew McKeon ordered his recruit platoon into the tidal marsh as punishment. Six recruits drowned. The public outcry almost did the Marine Corps in – and it resulted in dramatic changes to the leadership and conduct of Marine recruit training.


Lack of immigration enforcement puts Americans at risk

President Obama’s reckless amnesty agenda has proved to be both dangerous and deadly for the American people. The House Judiciary Committee this week released a report finding that thousands of illegal and criminal immigrants not detained or deported by federal authorities have gone on to commit more crimes, including murder, rape, kidnapping, and child molestation. 

As part of the committee’s oversight responsibility, a subpoena was issued to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last November for a list of illegal and criminal immigrants who have been brought to the agency’s attention through the Secure Communities program but who have not been detained or deported by the agency. 

Secure Communities is designed to keep our neighborhoods safe by identifying illegal and criminal immigrants in police custody who have been arrested and fingerprinted. Rather than protect the American people he was elected to serve, President Obama has not enforced this commonsense public safety program. 


Privacy safeguards essential to Senate Cybersecurity bill

Cybersecurity is a critical goal for our nation, and many have urged Congress to enact legislation to address the serious threats posed by hackers and other cyber attacks. At the same time, any new legislation must incorporate robust safeguards for our constitutional rights, and we must ensure that we do not create the equivalent of a new program for warrantless government wiretapping of private internet usage. The information sharing program in the new Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S. 3414) introduced last week is designed to meet both of these goals – to enable the federal government and the private sector to work together to protect our nation’s computer networks while simultaneously protecting Americans’ civil liberties.


Double standard on leaking secret government information

Late last month, in his drive to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt over Operation Fast and Furious, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) inserted material from a sealed wiretap warrant application into the Congressional Record. Information contained in such applications cannot be released absent a court’s permission, and those who violate the law can be held in contempt. But by placing the information in the Congressional Record — rather than directly releasing it to journalists — Rep. Issa shielded his otherwise illegal conduct behind the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause.


Lead by example, not careless allegations

As an Arab American, a Christian, and a former U.S. Ambassador who has been targeted by al Qaeda while serving my country, I am appalled and dismayed by the recent letters of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and four of her colleagues, Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), Thomas Rooney (R-Fla.) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.).
These letters to the Deputy Inspector General of the State Department unveil a phobia against Arabs, Muslims and the Islamic religion, rather than factual claims that point to any conspiracy to infiltrate the halls of our government agencies. They recklessly allege that certain federal employees have been influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood.
These allegations are from a widely discredited organization whose only purpose can be to harm individuals for their ethnic or religious identity. I thought this kind of hysteria, which she and her colleagues are promoting, ended during the Joseph McCarthy era. Now it looks like it is alive and well with the likes of Congresswoman Bachmann.
The information sources quoted in their letters are more associated with anti-Muslim sentiment than real national security claims. Even the FBI considered the claims made by their sources as “unsubstantiated” and “outdated”. Other investigations have found the claims by the principals associated with the information contained in their letters “reprehensible, baseless, false and unfounded”.


Defense cuts must be addressed

This week, the House will pass legislation to fund our military operations for fiscal year 2013. In total, the bill provides $519.2 billion in base funding and $88.5 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) for Defense activities related to the Global War on Terror. This funding is critical to ensuring our troops around the globe remain the best-equipped fighting force in the world.