Creampuffs and Softballs

By Dan Cadman on May 20, 2014

Recently appointed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was interviewed a few days ago on the PBS NewsHour.

It was such a creampuff session that I grinned with admiration at the prowess of Secretary Johnson's public affairs staff for having so thoroughly vetted the venue in advance that he could be assured of not having to face any tough questions that might embarrass him, or oblige him to acknowledge some of the harsh and unpleasant realities confronting his department where terrorism or immigration are concerned.

There were so many things inaccurately portrayed in the interview, one hardly knows which to point out.

DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson

First, there was the discussion about the DHS counterterrorism mission, and how well it has performed since 9/11. I'm unable to draw that conclusion myself, especially in light of DHS's hand in granting immigration benefits to so many terrorists and would-be terrorists. It was a particularly ironic dialogue in light of its segue into the Boston Marathon bombing mere seconds later.

Which brings me to my second point: How in the world can anyone, at least anyone whose feet are firmly planted on terra firma, refer to what happened in Boston as "domestic" terrorism"? There was nothing home-grown about Tamerlan Tsarnaev: he was a product of his upbringing in the Caucasus region of southern Russia, not the United States. And he was here because someone screwed up and believed his father's bogus story about persecution and granted the family refugee status. (See point number one above.)

Then there was the repeated reference to recipients of the president's unconstitutional DACA program as "children" who were "brought" to the United States. I beg to differ. Many — quite possibly most — of the recipients are no longer children, but adults; many came on their own and were not brought; and many were smuggled by their parents into the United States considerably after the parents themselves effected their own illegal entries, at great risk to the health and safety of those youth. These are oft-repeated canards, but no less false for their repetition.

What is more, statistics show that since the administration's institution of the DACA program, the number of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing into the United States has risen dramatically, as have crimes of violence, including sexual assault, against those minors. There is nothing admirable or humanitarian about the unconstitutional usurpation of congressional lawmaking powers by the executive in creating the DACA program out of whole cloth and causing so many youths to put themselves in peril.

Finally, there is the reference to imminent changes in the Secure Communities program, which is inaccurately described as having been top-heavy with apprehension of minor criminals. I'm not sure how one describes "minor", nor how many minor crimes are acceptable before it is recognized that the alien is a repeat offender in the making — one who is likely to graduate to more serious and violent crimes, which is a near statistical certainty based on past studies of recidivist offenders, whatever their citizenship.

The Secure Communities program was rolled out by DHS and its subordinate component, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in such an inept manner that it is a stunning surprise it survived long enough to be fully implemented nationwide. Now, it is likely to be a victim of its own success in identifying aliens arrested for crimes at all levels by state and local police, because this administration is ever sensitive to the hue and cry of open borders advocates and special interest groups, but tone deaf to the demands and expectations of ordinary Americans who want immigration laws enforced and criminals expelled. Here's the reality: Under this administration's leadership, well over 100,000 deportable aliens have been released by immigration officers instead of being removed, including many thousands convicted of murders, drug trafficking, sex crimes, and other felony offenses.

Suffice it to say, my opinion of the NewsHour and its interviewer, Judy Woodruff, plummeted in inverse relationship to my admiration for Secretary Johnson's handlers in picking her show as a place where they only pitch softballs — no hard questions there!

I'm wondering when a program once renowned for its thoughtful news presentations and analyses descended into sloppy, erroneous reporting and near-sycophancy.