A few thoughts from the 1st Homeland Security Director

Former Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Ridge was asked by President George W. Bush to be the first Director of Homeland Security. Witnessing the president’s sending in unrequested and unmarked federal agents to Portland and Chicago, Ridge had some comments worth noting.

Here a few exceprts from an editorial analysis called “Trump’s Portland crackdown is controversial. The man spearheading it might be doing so illegally” by Aaron Blake of The Washington Post. The editorial can be accessed below.

“In Portland, Washington and other U.S. cities shaken by protests in recent months, the Trump administration has leaned on the considerable authority and assets of the Department of Homeland Security — an agency formed to prevent another Sept. 11, 2001, attack — to spearhead the federal response.

Images of militarized Border Patrol agents clubbing protesters and stuffing them into unmarked vehicles have alarmed civil liberties advocates and administration critics, and the displays of government power echo tactics long associated with authoritarian rule.
Legal analysts say that while the department has broad authority to enforce federal laws, officers’ actions — especially in Portland, Ore. — seemed to be pushing the boundaries and pulling DHS into a domestic policing role.

Tom Ridge, who served as the first Homeland Security secretary under George W. Bush, said Tuesday that DHS ‘was not established to be the president’s personal militia,’ and added, ‘It would be a cold day in hell before I would consent to a unilateral, uninvited intervention into one of my cities.’ Former DHS official Paul Rosenzweig called the operation, which has come to be known as Operation Legend, ‘lawful but awful.’

On PBS Newshour the other night, Ridge was interviewed. He noted several key points – he worked in “partnership” with the cities and states to solve problems after they were “invited in to help.” He also noted what happened in Portland was a “reality show” exercise to garner votes. That action will not solve anything, as it was not designed to.

On Fox News, Judge Andrew Napolitano noted in Portland, actions of federal agents are unlawful, unconstitutional and harmful. To unpack this, he noted the federal agents are permitted to protect federal assets and travel to and from the asset. They are not permitted to do what local police does and arrest people without probable cause or warrant. And, they cannot wear clothing that does not identify who are they are and what they represent. A person being accosted has to know who is so doing.

Getting back to the issue at hand, civil protest is more than fine in our country. Yet, people who have taken a violent approach to protest are diluting their message and, are feeding into a narrative that allows a corrupt president to break the law and squelch them. Let me say this clearly – both the violent protestors and the president are in the wrong. Civil protest does not make the news like the violent ones, so the violent ones are overreported and the civil ones are underreported.


16 thoughts on “A few thoughts from the 1st Homeland Security Director

    • Susan, that is a very good question? Is the mission not based on facts or is the gunslinging corrupt president trying to build his legend on racism. Keith

      • Keith – exactly my thoughts – I guess it depends on who named it. We just had an article in our local news that the Washington State authorities were assured that no federal ‘troops’ (my word – I can’t think of the right term) were being sent to Seattle. What a mess – Susan

      • Susan, this whole issue should give every American citizen pause. If he can do this, he can do other things.

        Remember the past few months: Inspectors generals who are critical get fired or moved; whistleblowers get pushed out, testifiers under oath get fired or pushed out.

        I am tired of one of my GOP Senators who said it is the president’s right to fire the IGs. Really? He is OK with Trump firing oversight. Keith

    • Roger, I think you reach the correct conclusion that far right groups are acceptable to this racist president. When people respond that All Lives Matter, there is a percentage of people in the US, it may be 5%, 10% or 15%, that do not think that statement includes Black Lives. And, my strong sense is that percentage support the current president. Keith

  1. Good post, my friend. I did read Napolitano’s OpEd from yesterday, though I haven’t see the video clip. By any reasonable standard, what Trump is doing is unlawful and autocratic. And he threatens to expand it. Who can stop him? The military? Congress? So far, it seems he is unstoppable. I agree with you and Roger … we must wipe the floor with him in November with such an overwhelming majority that there can be no cries of “rigged election” or “voter fraud” from his camp. If I were on his staff right now … I’d be the first rat to jump off the sinking ship. My greater fear at the moment is that he uses this, or tensions with China, as an excuse for a postponement of the election.

      • Jill, I just read Napolitano’s op-ed. It is a good read. It is well done and offers a holistic view. His title referencing this is how totalitarianism begins is impacfful. I think our Senators must respond to this issue. Keith

  2. Like you, I don’t condone violence, but 45 sending in his own personal goons as performance art cannot be tolerated. I know this plays to his base… I just hope the rest of the voters can see through this frightening charade. Hopefully he’ll get back to identifying animals and memorizing “person, woman, man, camera, TV” so we can be impressed with his big brain.

    • Janis, so true. Goon squad is apt. It is amazing how proud he was of his passing a cognitive test. Maybe it is because he is not used to taking his own tests. Keith

  3. There are so many things this COVIDIOT does that I’m sure break the laws of our land. What a disgrace. I remember when Homeland Security was first established. I was dubious at the time about how this agency might abuse power. The very name of it sounds fascist to me. And initially, I remember being asked, as a letter carrier, to “report” suspicious packages and behavior of postal patrons. The same plea went to Neighborhood Watch programs. I withdrew from NW and have refused to join in the years since. I never reported anyone while I was at work. The idea of that just made my skin crawl. (Although, I did report animal abuse…what does that say about my logic?)

    • Linda, it is concerning. I saw today that a National guard major is saying the use of force to clear protestors for Trump’s bible holding photo shoot was unnecessary as the protestors were peaceful. The White House disagrees but, they have zero credibility. Keith

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