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.