tv News Nation MSNBC October 18, 2013 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
i'm craig melvin. "news nation" is following developing news, president obama at any moment will be nominating jay johnson formerly the pentagon's top lawyer. he will be naming his choice to succeed janet nep pal tan no leaving that post in just. johnson returned to private practice at the end of last year, the job placing johnson is he center of many of the -- including the controversial drone program, the revival of military commissions to drive suspect terrorists and effort to close the prison at guantanamo bay. johnson helping to lead successful effort on gays serving openly in the military as well.
the "washington post" quoting a senior official, johnson was responsible for the prior legal review and approval of every military operation approved by the president and secretary of defense during president obama's first term. if approved, he'll be the fourth person nominated. i'm joined now by our white house correspondent kristen welker standing by. micha michael isikoff and usa today kplum columnist raul reyes. what can you tell us about jeh johnson and the president's announcement? >> reporter: jeh johnson was an early supporter of president obama's during the 2008
campaign. the two men reportedly having a good rapport, one of the factors that wept into this decision. but as say, he's the top attorney with the pat the penta now. he has been at the forefront of decisions made particularly related to the use of drone strikes as well as ending the don't ask, don't tell policy. when you look at the philosophy that these two men have they are really in sync, jeh johnson is opposed to the idea of an indefinite war. that is something he said recently and president obama has said recently. they sort of align on that point. in terms of him getting confirmed. i spoke with a top aide with the senate who says he didn't foresee any real problems at this point in time but it's still early and he hasn't made the official announcement. i can tell you john cornyn
expressed concerns about the fact that he worked with president obama in 2008, calling him nothing more than a donor and expressing concerns about the fact he doesn't have a whole lot of experience when it comes to border security. i spoke to a white house official and he said this is a management position, no one will come in having a broad knowledge of all of these different areas and that that is part of the job. so there is some early criticism coming. i anticipate we will hear more at this point in time. no reason to think he won't get confirmed. >> kristen welker, while you were speaking outside of 1600 pennsylvania avenue, we also are getting a rare look inside the white house, president obama spending time there talking with his soon to be nominee jeh johnson, we saw them sharing laughs and joe biden, appearing to gather there before heading out to the rose garden for this
announcement that we expect to happen again any moment now. kristen, one more question here quickly before i let you go. who else was on the short list? do we know who else the white house was considering for this post? >> reporter: we know that reportedly president obama was considering new york police commissioner ray kelly, thad allen, lisa monaco, homeland security department. those were names being batted around. but again, i think this is someone with whom president obama has a rapport, has a strong working relationship, someone who he trusts. so this is the person who he decided to move forward with today. >> michael, as we watch president obama head to the podium. i'll get all of you to stand by for a few moments and we'll spend time listening to the president and jeh johnson and expect to hear from janet anep
poll tan no as well. >> we have an outstanding team here who work every single day to make sure we're doing everything we can to fulfill that responsibility. that means that our entire government, law enforcement, and homeland security professionals our troops and diplomats and intelligence personnel are all working together. it means working with state and local partners to disrupt terrorist attacks to make our borders more secure, respond to national disasters and make our immigration system more effective and fair. addressing any one of these challenges is a tall order. addressing all of them at once is a moment umtal task but that's what the dedicated men and women of homeland security do every day. i'm proud to announce my choice to lead them, an outstanding
publ public sevvant i've known and trusted for years, mr. jeh johnson. we're enormously greatful to janet nep pal tan no, she's made her move to sunny california, overseeing the higher education system in that great state and i know she's going to do an outstandi outstanding job there with the incredible young people in our largest state. we all deeply appreciate the terrific job she did over the last four and a half years. i want to thank rand barris for his service and stepping in as acting secretary after janet left. thanks in no small part to janet's leadership and her team, we've done more to protect our homeland against those who wish to do us harm. we have strengthened our borders and taken steps to make sure immigration system better reflects our values.
we've helped thousands of americans recover from hurricanes and tornadoes and floods and wildfires and worked to clean up a massive oil spill in the gulf as well as address a flu pandemic. in jeh johnson, we have the right person to continue this important work. from the moment i took office, jeh was an absolutely critical member of my national security team and demonstrated again and again the qualities that will make him a strong secretary of homeland security. jeh has a deep understanding of the threats and challenges facing the united states and as the pentagon as top lawyer, he helped design and implement many of the policies that kept our country safe, including our success in dismantling the corps of al qaeda in the fat ta. when i directed my team to be open and transparent about our policies work and how we make decisions especially when it comes to preventing terrorist
attacks. he was one of the leaders that spoke eloquently on how we meet today's threats in a way consistent with our values, including the rule of law. jeh also knows it means coordination across our government. he's been there in the situation room at the table, in moments of decision, working with leadings from a host of agencies to make sure everyone is -- we're all in the same direction. he's expected to cross our government as a team player, somebody who knows how to get folks who don't always agree to work towards a common goal. jeh has experienced leading large complex organizations as a member of the pentagon's senior management team, first under bob gates and then under leon panetta. he helped oversee the work of more than 3 million military and civilian personnel across the country and around the world. it's fair to say both former
secretary gate's and panetta will attest to the incredible professionalism he brings to the job and the bipartisan approach he takes when it comes to national security. he also earned a reputation as a cool and calm leader. jeh appreciates that any organization's greatest asset is its people. at the pentagon he guided the report explaining why men and women in uniform to serve the country openly would not weaken our military. congress ended up using that report that jeh helped to craft to justice repealing don't ask, don't tell. and america and our hillary is stronger because we did, in part because of jeh's determined leadership. i know he will bring that same commitment to our hard working folks at dhs. and finally, jeh believes in a deep and personal way that keeping america safe requires us also upholding the values and
civil liberties that make america great. jeh tells the story of his uncle a member of the tuskegee airmen during world war ii. they served with honor, even when their country didn't treat them with the dignity and respect they deserved. it was a lesson jeh never forgot. consistent with who we are as americans, jeh is a pretty good lawyer so he knows what that means. he understands that this country is worth protecting, not because of what we build or own, but because of who we are. and that's what sets us apart. as a nation, we have to keep adapting to changing threats, whether natural or man made. we have to stay ready when disaster strikes and help americans recover in the aftermath. we've got to fix our broken immigration system in a way that strengtheners or borders and
make sure everybody is playing by the same rules. i'm confident that i could not make a better choice in jeh, somebody i'm confident will be moving not just the agency forward but the country forward. thank you so much for agreeing to take on this very difficult and extraordinary mission. you've got a great team over at dhs. they are looking forward to having you over there. i urged the senate to confirm jeh as soon as possible and i thank you as well as your family to agreeing to serve. your wife susan and daughter natalie couldn't be here because they are visit gs jeh junior at ok dental college. i'm sorry i couldn't be there to say hi to them. but your son chose well. ladies and gentlemen, i'd like to invite jeh johnson to say a few words. hopefully our next secretary of department of homeland security.
[ applause ] >> thank you very much, mr. president. as you noted, my wife and two kids are not here because it's parents weekend at occidental and thanks to the cost of a nonrefundable airline ticket, they could not be in two places at once, wish they could be here. thank you for the tremendous honor of this nomination and the trust you have placed in me to carry out this large and important responsibility as secretary of homeland security. i was not looking for this opportunity. i had left government at the end of last year and was settling back into private life and private law practice. when i received the call, i could not refuse it.
i am a new yorker. and i was present in manhattan on 9/11, which happens to be my birthday. when that bright and beautiful day was a day something like this, was shattered by the largest terrorist attack on our homeland in history. i wandered the streets of new york that day and wondered and asked, what can i do? since then, i have tried to devote myself to answering that question. i love this country. i care about the safety of our people. i believe in public service and i remain loyal to you, mr. president. if confirmed by the senate, i promise all of my energy and focus and ability toward the task of safeguarding our nation's national and homeland security. thank you again, sir. >> thank you.
[ applause ] >> there you have it 56-year-old jeh johnson now the nominee for the homeland security. an 8-minute ceremony flanked by joe biden as well nominating mr. johnson there. of course now he heads to the senate for confirmation. i want to bring back our "news nation" panel on this friday. carrie, i want to start with you and i want to get into, michael, what is going to come up at the confirmation hearings, the drone program, this administration's use of drones. let me start with you because one of the things folks may not know, the department of homeland security, there are a number of job openings. i read earlier today, close to 40% of management right now, those positions are vacant. why is that? >> well, it's been tough to get
a lot of nominees not only through the senate but even getting them at the white house, they've been much more rigorous in that process of vetting ever since early on in the administration when they had a couple of stumbles. so the whole process is rather slow because of the scrutiny that these nominees come under. that is going to come up with the nomination hearings start. i think another thing that he'll have to answer for is immigration. even no he is not an expert on it, i think this shows the white house thinking here. if they had chosen someone who was well versed in immigration or line of work, that person would have become a lightning rod for immigration, reform proponents or people do not want comprehensive immigration reform. they really wanted to steer clear of that. it could have become quite a battle, will still be an issue in the nomination hearings. since this isn't something he spent a lot of time on or his expertise, he'll get the normal conditions and norm at amount of
pressing but it won't be this proxy for the immigration reform fight on capitol hill. >> jeh johnson involved in the controversial drone policy and today the united nations called on the united states to reveal the number of civilian casualties it believes have been caused by the drone strikes targeting islamic militants in various countries. might johnson's nomination force the administration to shed for light on the drone program? >> well, look, it's certainly something that will come up at his confirmation hearing. jeh johnson played a crucial role in the drone program, approving targets and reviewing intelligence in the sit room during a lot of these operations as the president referred to. if you think politically, this is not an area where republicans are likely to spend a lot of
ammunition. you have something like rand paul who have spoken out about aspects of the drone program. but by and large, the republicans who might be resistant to a presidential -- a nominee perfect president obama are not going to make a big deal out of jeh johnson's role in the drone program. and liberals on the democratic side are not going to want to oppose the president's nominee for homeland security. it is interesting although johnson was by and large one -- somebody who pushed for approval of drone strikes, he also has at times expressed some remorse about civilian casualties. he was quoted in a book that came out a year or so ago saying that after one of these drone strikes he said if i was catholic i felt i would have to go to confession after hearing reports from human rights groups about civilian casualties from
strikes in yemen. >> he's also been -- i wouldn't say critical -- but questioned to a certain extent perhaps this administration's commitment to transparency at times. there was a speech earlier this year. i think we've got a graphic here showing, he said, the problem is the american public is suspicious of executive power shrouded in secrecy in the absence of an official picture of what you're government is doing and by what authority many in the public fill the void by imagining the worse. that's jeh johnson earlier this year at fordham university. what else do we think would end up being the legacy of jeh johnson as homeland security chief? >> i mean, it's extraordinarily tough job. he said there he was happy settled into private life. this is certainly about as far as you can get away from that.
dhs is a sprawling bureaucracy. it was brought together by multiple agencies together, more than ten years ago after 9/11. it's a huge management job. so this is something where dhs is a high profile job and thankless job. you're dealing with disasters and potential for terrorist strikes and dealing with everything that really strikes a cord obviously on capitol hill if things don't go well. you're under an extraordinary microscope dealing with immigration. time will tell what the legacy will be. he said he's loyal to the president. i would imagine we wouldn't see a break from him from the policies that the white house is pushing. he showed himself to be loyal representative for him in the pentagon. and so i couldn't imagine you would see much daylight between the two but we'll have to see in terms of what the broader legacy
is and many ways depends on what happens. newswise under his tenure, whether there's anything that's unforeseen and that shadows and colors anyone's legacy. >> it's safe to say the legacy of janet napolitano, it's going to be border security and the fact that under this administration, a lot of folks don't realize this, there have been more illegal immigrants deported on an annual basis than any point before. >> right, unfortunately the obama administration does hold -- they are on track for the record number of deportation. i think carrie made an important point. this job, dhs secretary, it is a thankless job in terms of immigration because no matter what he does going forward, he will always face criticism on the right from people saying he is not enforcing immigration laws.
no matter what he does going forward, he faces criticism from people on left he's tearing apart families and deporting women and children and people who want to be part of our society. it's a difficult road to forge ahead. also, in the president's remarks, he touched on some aspects of this agency. it is huge. >> 240,000 people. >> 22 agencies. in that regard, his past experience at the pentagon where he was in charge of coordinating different agencies, that should serve him very well, as well as his interest, his public interest in transparency. that has been a tremendous problem with ice. deportations and so forth, in reality it is far different. at time accused of being a rogue agency. in this nomination, this is the chance. i know president obama and janet napolitano had a warm relationship. this is a chance to turn the page on this very -- it's a
complicated issue and chance for him to turn the page on immigration enforcement and move ahead with things more in line with his priorities. >> one of the knocks has been and that it has to report to more than 100 different congressional committees and subcommittees. is there any talk at this point, any talk down there, carrie, that that's something that's going to change in the near future? >> i haven't heard talk of that. a congressional nar rating purview for congress, congressional committees giving up their authority of oversight is usually a pretty difficult thing to convince lawmakers to relinquish their authority. so i think it would be hard to see that happening. it's just one of the huge challenges that jeh johnson will face having to answer and all of his subsecretaries and cabinet, subagency secretaries will have
to face. i can't see congress say we have too much oversight and too sprawling, let's condense it. usually doesn't happen on the hill. >> smooth sailing in terms of confirmation for most part? >> i imagine so. the idea -- he is -- it seems to be as kristen said, no red flags right now. he has yet to be vetted by the individual committees that will look at him and actually hold the confirmation hearing. that could always raise flags. the point that administration will face questions on immigration, particularly around the deportation policies from democrats, i think from within the party, he's going to face some questions. they haven't been happy with the administration's track record. usually you get a good sense right away how controversial a nominee will be and we don't seem to be seeing the huge red flags right now. >> in that sense, his being a black slate, that is in his favor because some of the other potential nominees, particularly ray kelly, who many thought
might be the dhs nominee, many in the immigrant community were very concerned about him due to his controversial position. >> stop and frisk. >> stop and frisk and past policies. so far i would say many reporters of re -- supporters of reform are cautiously optimistic. >> carrie, thanks and michael isikoff, thanks to all of you. president obama has nominated jeh johnson to fill the opening at homeland security. up next, graphic and disturbing just released surveillance video showing what happened in first moments of the kenya mall massacre, including images of the gunmen taking time from their shooting spree to pray. also, gop on the brink of an idealogical civil war as prominent republicans take aim at former senator jim demint and ultraconservative political groups.
>> heritage used to be the conservative organization helping rpz. there's a real question on the minds of many republicans now. i'm speaking for a lot of people, is heritage going to go so political it doesn't amount to anything any more? >> mark murray will join us with the first read. you can join us as well. at newsnation. ♪ at any minute... ...you could be a victim of fraud. most people don't even know it. fraud could mean lower credit scores, higher loan rates... ...and maybe not getting the car you want. it's a problem waiting to happen. check your credit score, check your credit report, at experian.com america's number one provider
only to be run over by a fire truck while she was covered in firefighting foam. two of her classmates died in the crash. most of the other 304 passengers and crew members were injured. but again, word this afternoon that the firefighter will not be charged after running over and killing one of those survivors. also, newly released surveillance video is giving the world a clear look after what happens when terrorists attacked a kenyan march killing 67. panicked shoppers running for cover and gunmen walking around and talking on cell phones and even pray. a quick warning, this video is disturbing. richard engel has the story. >> reporter: moments before the attack, nairobi's upscale westgate mall looked busy, normal, until a panicked stampede away from a door. a security camera captured what
they are running from. one of the gunman believed to be from al shabaab, aimed and shot a men cowering behind the counter. man struggled to move until another gunman came, to finish him. trapped shoppers ran, falling over each other. in a restaurant, a few organized defenses. two armed men can be seen trying to protect the room. as the hostage roundup began in the supermarket, a mother and her two children pushed a cart. in it what seems to be a wounded child. behind them, a teenage girl limped forward as a gunman ordered them all to keep moving. throughout this first day, the gunmen seemed calm and methodical, seen talking on cell phones. kenyan police believe they were
receiving instructions from abroad. as shabaab leaders tweeted status reports to the world. these security videos are the most accurate look at the massacre in the mall that would drag on for four terrifying days. the mother pushing the cart and the children all survived the atroci atrocity. >> that was richard engel reporting. he says the videos are useful for law enforcement here and abroad because they can study the gunmen's moves in case of similar attacks. the kenyan re-red cross says 23 are still missing. new information on the convicted murderers who used forged documents to escape from a florida prison. as the manhunt continues, authorities fear the scheme could be more widespread. has it's ups and downs.
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killers who walked out of prison using fake documents. joseph jenkins and charles walkers registered as felons three days after they escaped filing that paperwork at the jail near the sheriff's office. the two were mistakingly released in the last few weeks serving life sentences for murder. now prosecutors cross the state are scrambling to make sure more inmates were not let out early. >> reporter: authorities say phony documents were filed here at the orange county courthouse ordering the early release of two dangerous criminals. as a result, they did get out and now being sought. joseph jenkins and charles walker, are con vicked killers and they are on the run. both serving life sentences for murder but walked right out the prison door. >> we're putting every resource and effort we have into apprehending these guys an putting them back where they belong. >> reporter: the two men were released based on forged documents that reduced their sentences. the paperwork had the signature
of melvin perry who gained fame for the casey anthony trial. he said the convicts had to have help from the outside. >> anyone with any computer skills can look at a document and take that document off of the internet and get the signature and paste it somewhere else. >> jeffrey forbes was serving time for attempting to kill a police officer. the state attorney's office says forbes tried to use forged documents to get out of jail but an alert detective foiled the plot. in a statement late thursday, the state attorney's office warned, it is now clear that the use of forged court documents to obtain release from prison is an ongoing threat. as for jenkins and walker, their mistaken release was discovered on tuesday when a family member of one of the murder victims was notified of the release and called authorities.
now investigators are trying to find out how the two men pulled it off. >> it's very ingenius. it's a breakout without having to break out. >> that was mark potter reporting there. nbc news also learned it was not first time joseph jenkins tried to escape using bogus papers. a forged document was discovered in 2011 asking for reduced sentence. the orange county clerk's office at this point says it's not clear why it was rejected. we have breaking news we want to get to right now regarding same-sex marriage in the state of new jersey. pete williams is standing by for us in d.c. pete, this is a big rebuff here to governor chris christie of the garden state. >> it is, because the governor had asked the state supreme court to put a hold on a ruling by a state judge in september. the state judge said that the state has to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses and governor christie's
administration resisted this and asked the supreme court to put a stay on that holding while it can argue the fundamental issue about whether the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. a few moments ago the state supreme court said two things, number one, we're not going to issue a stay. that means the state of new jersey must begin granting same-sex marriage licenses on monday. that's the date that the lower court judge originally set. the second thing that's interesting here, haven't read the entire opinion but it's quite clear that the state supreme court is saying we don't think the state will succeed when in january it heres arguments on the ultimate question about whether new jersey's law is unconstitutional. it's a double blow to the christie administration and strongly hints that when the supreme court gets around to this case it's going to find the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. >> pete williams, thanks to you
and just getting word here a few moments ago, this is according to buzz feed. we should note here that our newest senator, cory booker will perform one of the first ceremonies on monday at city hall. booker wasting no time there. ruling that same sex couples can get married in the garden state starting monday and some of those weddings are already being planned. still ahead here, concerns about facebook's new privacy settings making it easier for teenagers to share information with more people. critics say it exposes young people to new threats. what does your gut tell you? [ woman ] if you have the audacity to believe
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a deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. jim demint announced it is endorsing mcconnell's tea party primary opponent bev vin, not afraid to stand up to the establishment and he will do what it takes to stop obama care, perhaps more proof in the words of our first read team, the shutdown has brought the gop to the brink of an idealogical civil war. nbc news senior political editor mark murray is with me now. mcconnell's team wasting no time responding saying bevin has the dubious honor of standing with a self-serving d.c. fund raising group that made its name by recruiting unelectable candidates that ensured barack obama a majority in the senate. he has a gar gant tu an cash
advantage but is this something to worry about? >> two things to worry about, primary and general election challenge. we have seen mitch mcconnell in the comments he's given suggests he's more worried about the general election than primary. it's important to take a step back. we have seen interparty fighting, prominent republican senators getting primary challenges and losing, robert bennett in utah in 2010, but what is striking here is that mitch mcconnell is the senate's number one republican. he's the minority leader and this is a significant development, i believe that you have one prominent outside group, certainly saying tha they want mitch mcconnell defeated and other conservatives in the wake of the budget deal, debt ceiling raising piling on mitch mcconnell and this is the inevitable infighting and
mcconnell has a very conservative candidate who wanted to make o bbama a one te president. >> we mentioned jim demint. this is what orrin hatch had to say about that group. >> heritage used to be the conservative group helping rpz. there's a real question on minds of many republicans, not just myself, but is heritage going to go so political it doesn't amount to anything any more? >> heritage and the gop, are we witnessing a spat, a fight or is this the beginning of a very public break-up? >> i think this kind of goes back to the fight we've seen over the past two or three years, it comes down between the establishment and the conservative folks, the tea party. and you know, you end up seeing folks like orrin hatch, a very
conservative senator and john mccain also took a whack at the foundation just yesterday on twitter. you're trying to see the establishment fight back after this budget showdown. the question is, will the establishment be able to win out. so far you look at what's in washington right now on the campaign trail seeing all of the conservative senators receiving even tea party challenges and states like tennessee, states like mississippi and you can make the argument that the tea party is the stronger force right now. question is, does that change in months ahead. >> mark murray, thank you and have a great weekend. >> thank. >> still ahead, the justice department now challenging the judge's decision ordering a new trial for the new orleans police officer convicted of killing two unarmed men in the aftermath of hurricane katrina. it's one of the stories we're following around the news nation. for seeing your business in a whole new way.
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a 25-year-old was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder and attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. thoorts say the suspect tried to fly to yemen and sent back by custom agents in london. a new trial for five former new orleans police officers convicted of civil rights violations in the aftermath of hurricane katrina. those officers were convicted last year in a bridge shooting where police killed two unarmed people, less than a week after the storm. an appeals judge threw out the convictions saying it was tainted by media leaks. bay area rapid transit workers walked off over negotiations on money and health care fell apart. the strike is expected to affect
4,000 commuters in the san francisco bay area. our gut check, facebook's new privacy settings. the critics say could be risky to teenagers. we'll tell you how to weigh in on that. you can like news nation on facebook. we are at facebook.com/newsnation. don't be shy! try some pie! you're giving away pie? would you like apple or cherry? cherry. can i top it with oil or cream? excuse me? oil...or cream? definitely cream. [ male announcer ] a slice of pie always sounds better with reddi wip. that's because it's never made with hydrogenated oil. oh, yeah. [ male announcer ] always made with real cream. the sound of reddi wip is the sound of joy. don't be shy! try some p-- shh! don't be shy! try some p-- the pain started up and wrapped around to the front. i couldn't play my bassoon because of the pressure that i felt throughout my whole head.
there's a lot going on on this friday. here are some of the things we thought you should know. former house speaker tom foley died today. the democrat from washington state known for his ability to bridge partisan divide and bring consensus to the house. he also served as u.s. ambassador to japan during the clinton administration. current house speaker john boehner said in a statement with his passing the house loses one of its devoted serve ants and the country loses a great
statesman. pelosi said, our country mourns the loss of a leader whose authenticity dedication and dep ploimcy will forever serve as a example to all of us. tom foley was 84. the 16-day government shutdown took a toll on the republican party but here's one more negative result of the shutdown seems to be having on the gop. it has hurt ken cuccinelli's chances of winning the gub at a torial race in virginia. terry mccallive holds an 8-point lead. those are a few of the things we thought you should know. time for "news nation" gut check. facebook is relaxing its rules for teenagers now, even as concern escalates over online threats and bullies. 13 to 17-year-olds will have the option to post status updates
weigh in. that will do it for this friday edition of "news nation." "the cycle" is up next. [ woman ] i've had it with my moderate to severe plaque psoriasis... the frustration... covering up. so i talked with my doctor. he prescribed enbrel. enbrel is clinically proven to provide clearer skin. many people saw 75% clearance in 3 months. and enbrel helped keep skin clearer at 6 months. [ male announcer ] enbrel may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal, events including infections,
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our entire government, our law enforcement and homeland security professions and troops and diplomats and intelligence personnel are all working together. that means working with state and local partners to disrupt terrorist attacks, to make our borders more secure, respond to national disasters and addressing anyone of these challenges is a tall order. addressing all of them at once is a monumental task. but that's what the dedicated men and women of the department of homeland security do every day. y