An Ominous Trial Balloon – DHS Considers Taking Control Of America’s Election Security

Here’s a rather chilling liberty-threatening idea I couldn’t have conjured up, even in my conspiratorial mind.  But a very powerful public official has already been talking about it.

The head of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, floated a trial balloon at a conference earlier this month, as reported today by the Washington Times – the idea of which is a centralized takeover of America’s national elections security by the DHS.  Worried yet?  Read on.  Here’s a bit from the Times report by Paul Bedard:

Even before the FBI identified new cyber attacks on two separate state election boards, the Department of Homeland Security began considering declaring the election a “critical infrastructure,” giving it the same control over security it has over Wall Street and and the electric power grid.

The latest admissions of attacks could speed up that effort possibly including the upcoming presidential election, according to officials.

“We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process, is critical infrastructure like the financial sector, like the power grid,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.

“There’s a vital national interest in our election process, so I do think we need to consider whether it should be considered by my department and others critical infrastructure,” he said at media conference earlier this month hosted by the Christian Science Monitor…

There are two magical words – critical infrastructure.

…Johnson also said that the big issue at hand is that there isn’t a central election system since the states run elections. “There’s no one federal election system. There are some 9,000 jurisdictions involved in the election process,” Johnson said…

Yes.  It’s true.  There is no one federal election system.  The elections are held in the individual states.  Mr. Johnson sees that as the big issue at hand.  Read that one again carefully.

If DHS summarily takes this election oversight authority from the individual states, what is to stop the federal government from just getting rid of this pesky multi-jurisdictional problem altogether – by simply centralizing the state legislatures themselves under the auspices of the DHS?

Have I gone too far here?  Well, let’s see.

If I am reading this report and Mr. Johnson’s statements correctly (gee, I hope I have it all wrong), should the DHS “and others” suddenly deem that the upcoming national election, which is Constitutionally conducted in the form of dozens of individual elections held throughout the various states and U.S. territories, is critical infrastructure, Mr. Johnson could arbitrarily strip the individual states of their lawful authority to monitor their elections – and centralize the control of election security – whatever that means.

And I suppose election security will mean whatever Mr. Johnson and his colleagues in the omniscient DHS (thank you President George W. Bush) say it means.

Perhaps, counting the votes?

Needless to say, a declaration of critical infrastructure like this would be a radical move into uncharted territory for the nation and the electorate.  It would be a usurpation of powers currently held by the individual states.  It would constitute a massive takeover of powers, accomplished without a Constitutional amendment and without an act of Congressional legislation.

But read the words carefully, ladies and gentlemen.  If Jeh Johnson’s DHS “and others” (nebulous politi-speak) decide it is necessary to “consider” our national elections to be a part of America’s critical infrastructure, it can be done.

Who will move to stop Jeh Johnson from accomplishing such a power consolidation?  Barack Obama?  Paul Ryan?

And that will be that.

Anyone else the least bit concerned about Jeh Johnson’s big idea?  Or is it Barack Obama’s big idea?  Who knows?

Read the entire Times report by clicking here.

Thanks to Drudge for the link to the Times report and for the photo above.

About John L. Work

John Lloyd Work has taken the detective thriller genre and woven an occasional political thread throughout his books, morphing what was once considered an arena reserved for pure fiction into believable, terrifying, futuristic, true-to-life “faction”. He traveled the uniformed patrolman’s path, answering brutal domestic violence calls, high speed chases, homicides, suicides, armed robberies, breaking up bar fights, and the accompanying sporadic unpredictable moments of terror - which eventually come to all police officers, sometimes when least expected. He gradually absorbed the hard fact that the greatest danger a cop faces comes in the form of day-to-day encounters with emotionally disturbed, highly intoxicated people. Those experiences can wear a cop down, grinding on his own emotions and psyche. Prolonged exposure to the worst of people and people at their worst can soon make him believe that the world is a sewer. That police officer’s reality is a common thread throughout Work’s crime fiction books. Following his graduation from high school, Work studied music and became a professional performer, conductor and teacher. Life made a sudden, unexpected turn when, one afternoon in 1976, his cousin, who eventually became the Chief of the Ontario, California, Police Department, talked him into riding along during a patrol shift. The musician was hooked into becoming a police officer. After working for two years as a reserve officer in Southern California and in Boulder, Colorado, he joined the Longmont, Colorado Police Department. Work served there for seven years, investigating crimes as a patrolman, detective and patrol sergeant. In 1989 he joined the Adams County, Colorado Sheriff’s Office, where he soon learned that locking a criminal up inside a jail or prison does not put him out of business. As a sheriff’s detective he investigated hundreds of crimes, including eleven contract murder conspiracies which originated “inside the walls”. While serving on the Adams County North Metro Gang Task Force and as a member of the Colorado Security Threat Intelligence Network Group (STING), Work designed a seminar on how a criminal’s mind formulates his victim selection strategy. Over a period of six years he taught that class in sheriff’s academies and colleges throughout Colorado. He saw the world of crime both inside the walls and out on the streets. His final experiences in the criminal law field were with the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office, where for nearly two years he investigated felonies from the defense side of the Courtroom. Twenty-two years of observing human nature at its worst, combined with watching some profound changes in America’s culture and political institutions, provided plenty of material for his first three books. A self-published author, he just finished writing his tenth thriller.
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