Human Rights Groups Condemn Obama’s Nomination for DHS Secretary, Jeh Johnson; Urge Senate Homeland Security Committee to Reject Johnson


November 8, 2013

Contact: Alli McCracken, CODEPINK Organizer, 860 575 5692,

    Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK Co-founder, 415 235 6517,

Human Rights Groups Condemn Obama's Nomination for DHS Secretary, Jeh Johnson;

Urge Senate Homeland Security Committee to Reject Johnson

Washington, DC –– CODEPINK and other human rights groups strongly condemn President Obama's nomination of Jeh Johnson to be head of the Department of Homeland Security. The organizations are appalled by his legal justification of killer drones, his support of mass surveillance, his anti-whistleblower stance, and the conflict of interest posed by the large financial contributions he has made to President Obama and key members of Congress. A petition to the Chairman Carper of the Senate Homeland Security Committee circulated by CODEPINK calling on him to reject Johnson has already gathered over 4,000 signatures. Activists will deliver the petition to Senator Carper's office on Tuesday morning at 10:00am.

“As the Pentagon lawyer who provided the legal justification for the US drone program, Jeh Johnson has been complicit in a policy that has fueled anti-American sentiment and jeopardized our national security,” says CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin. “Why would we want someone like that to head the Department of Homeland Security?

Johnson is also an advocate for mass surveillance. This dragnet spying is an invasive breach of privacy that has shocked and outraged people across the globe, including our allies. Johnson has also called for the criminal prosecution of the heroic whistleblower who alerted the American public to government mass spying, Edward Snowden, as well as imprisoned Wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning.  “I oppose any person who has called for the criminal prosecution of whistleblowers who have blown the whistle on some of the nation's biggest scandals, including mass secret surveillance and torture,” says whistleblower attorney Jesselyn Radack. “Appointing an official so opposed to civil liberties is an antithetical move that typifies all that's wrong with politics today."

It is also a blatant example of political cronyism, as Jeh Johnson is a major Democratic Party funder. Federal records show he has contributed more than $100,000 to Democratic candidates and groups, plus over $30,000 to Obama's campaign.

Activists have launched a campaign to raise awareness about Jeh Johnson and will be present at his confirmation hear next week in the Senate (Wednesday, November 13, at 10 am in Dirksen 324).