With a personnel bloodbath flooding the halls of the Department of Homeland Security, the announcement today of the firing of Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles has inspired Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to demand that the departing head of the agency charged with maintaining security in the executive branch testify in front of Congress as soon as possible.
The topic that Senator Schumer wants to question the Secret Service chief about? The danger posed by President Trump’s frequent visits to his poorly secured Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida which recently allowed an alleged Chinese spy with a malware-infected device on to the resort grounds.
The public and Congress need to know the extent to which adversarial governments—like China—and their agents are attempting to gain access to, or conduct electronic surveillance on, conversations or other information regarding national security at President Trump’s properties.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 8, 2019
With President Trump reportedly prone to calling his wealthy friends and Fox News hosts while using the kind of unsecured mobile phones that can be easily hacked, the issue of the nation’s information security is top of mind for Schumer.
Of course, when you have a President that invites Russian officials into the Oval Office and divulges sensitive intelligence information and who holds private conversations with Vladimir Putin with no other American officials present and then seizes his translator’s notes, the very idea of information security becomes a moot point.
While Minority Leader Schumer doesn’t have the power in the Senate to issue a subpoena to compel testimony from the departing Secret Service Director, his colleagues in the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives do have that ability.
It would be surprising if they don’t respond to Schumer’s call to action. It would be equally surprising if the White House did not strenuously try to prevent any such testimony by claiming executive privilege.
Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress — who seemed so rabid to convict Hillary Clinton for her insecure home email server — have either reflexively defended the president and his equally tone-deaf children in their lax security practices or remained mum.
Hopefully, the United States will someday return to being a nation where national security is a non-partisan issue. Unfortunately, we can’t expect that to happen until we rid ourselves of the security risks working in the White House right now.
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