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Trump Will Nominate Kirstjen Nielsen to Head DHS
12 October 2017, 12:47 | Jodi Jackson
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US President Donald Trump was expected to nominate Kirstjen Nielsen, an aide to White House chief of staff John Kelly, to lead the Department of Homeland Security, a White House official said on Wednesday.
Former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge - the first person to ever hold the position, which President George W. Bush created in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks - praised Nielsen in a statement, calling her a "homeland security veteran" who is "extremely well versed" in the threats facing the U.S.
Nielsen was John Kelly's deputy when he served as Trump's first DHS secretary and moved with Kelly to the White House when he was tapped to be Trump's chief of staff.
If confirmed, Nielsen would bring extensive cybersecurity background to DHS, which would be a boon for DHS's evolving cybersecurity mission.
Nielsen's departure from the White House would mark the latest upheaval in Trump's White House team. The officials said that the president made his decision to have Nielsen run the country's top law enforcement body and, barring any last minute changes, intends to nominate Nielsen as early as Thursday. But she raised eyebrows when she described the aftermath of Hurricane Maria as a "good news story". She also created and managed the office of Legislative Policy and Government Affairs at the Transportation Security Administration.
"She's a total homeland security expert - absolutely has no learning curve", said Michael Allen, who worked with Ms. Nielsen during the Bush administration. She was responsible for carrying out some of Kelly's orders on who gets access to the president.
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