Fmr US Secretary of Homeland Security Identifies Biggest Threats
Jeh Johnson, Former Secretary of Homeland Security, shares the magnitude of his responsibilities in Homeland Security, what he believes is the country’s biggest threat, and gives insight on the latest travel bans from the Trump administration.
"Welcome to State of Affairs. I'm Steve Adubato. We're coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio in beautiful downtown Brick City, Newark, New Jersey. We're honored to have Jeh Johnson, former Secretary of Homeland Security. It is an honor to have you. How you doing? Thanks Steve. Thanks for having me on. Yeah, private citizenship, head of Homeland Security. With all of that extraordinary responsibility for how many years? I was secretary for 3 years... Wow. And before that? 1,124 days. You know exactly...? But I was not counting. [laughter] And before that, you had a previous job in the Obama administration? Yes, I served as general council of the Department of Defense in the first term of the Obama presidency. I left, came back home to Montclair, New Jersey, thought I was done, and then in August of 2013, the President asked me to join his cabinet. I was shocked. I had no idea that I would ever be Secretary of Homeland Security. It was a position I never aspired to, but I couldn't say no. And so, I was nominated for the job in October of 2013. Confirmed by the Senate in December 2013 and I took the oath December 23 2013 in our living room in Montclair, New Jersey. Yeah. Then went to work. One of our other neighbors in Montclair, our great anchor here Mary Alice Williams has had you on many times on the news here and for those who may have not picked up all of it in terms of what exactly that extraordinary job is, describe that responsibility. Well, the Department of Homeland security is 230,000 people. 22 components. It's the third largest department of our US Government responsible for counterterrorism, cyber security, enforcement, and administration of our immigration laws, port security maritime security, aviation security through TSA, response to natural disasters through FEMA, protection of our leaders through the secret service, and there were days when I felt like I had a third of the federal government and two thirds of the problems so it was challenging. The nature of Homeland Security is we're on defense. It's key that we always try to stay one step ahead. I used to tell my people "Don't respond to the... and prepare to the last terrorist attack, prepare for and try to anticipate for what the next one's going to look like." How did you sleep? Not great. People always ask the Secretary of Homeland Security, "What keeps you up at night?" and I'd have to say a lot of things but the thing that probably kept me up at night the most is the prospect of homegrown violent extremism. The so called "lone wolf" who could strike in a place like San Bernardino..."