Republicans made information security a central theme of the election, smearing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server and for an FBI inquiry that ultimately cleared her of all wrongdoing. So when a potential Trump cabinet pick gets photographed openly holding sensitive documents, it’s appropriate to wonder where the outrage is.
Kansas Secretary of State and avowed Islamophobe Kris Kobach is being considered to lead the Department of Homeland Security, but failed to put his plans for said agency in a folder, or have a cover sheet, or anything at all to prevent the public from zooming into them:
The documents appear to contain Kobach’s heinous anti-Muslim plans, including expanding the NSEERS (National Security Entry-Exit Registration System) program and reducing the intake of refugees fleeing the mass slaughter of Syrian civilians to zero. Those are his literal first priorities.
Kobach created the NSEERS program with John Ashcroft while serving under President Bush. It registered men from 25 predominantly Muslim nations, fingerprinting and questioning them. The program was ended in 2003 and succeeded in deporting 14,000 Muslims who overstayed visas but did not produce a single terrorism arrest and was considered an abject failure by the Bush Administration.
“Even folks within the Bush administration we worked with at the time knew that it was a waste of time and a waste of resources. … It’s clearly profiling. It’s clearly singling out Arabs and Muslims. It’s a very problematic program,” said Abed Ayoub, legal director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
“From the accounts we received at the time, it was simply a massive bureaucracy where people would go into the office, be asked some questions and nothing came of it. And in the process, it caused an incredible amount of fear and also almost certainly it inhibited the efforts to gain actionable information from communities that we need to work with to actually combat important threats” said Raj Goyle, an ACLU lawyer.
It appears that Kobach is still intent on using this program as a discriminatory tool to register and surveil Muslims as well as finding excuses to deport them. The plan itself is absolutely appalling; the way it was revealed to the public is just as disturbing. How can we trust this man to keep our country safe when he can’t even keep printed documents out of the public eye?
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.