Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan is refusing to testify before a House committee despite a subpoena for his appearance.
McAleenan, who is stepping down, wrote to Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, saying he was “disappointed” and “extremely surprised” to get a subpoena for the Oct. 30 hearing — a day before he’s set to exit the administration, The Hill reported.
“We respect your oversight needs regarding worldwide threats, but it is also important that you respect the Department’s need that I devote my final week as Acting Secretary to ensuring an effective transition in the leadership of the Department,” McAleenan wrote, The Hill reported.
“Given my impending departure, I am unavailable to testify on October 30,” he wrote, adding he is focused on “facilitating an orderly and expeditious transfer of responsibilities to my successor” and that his agency will work with the panel to find a suitable hearing date for his successor.
Thompson on Thursday subpoenaed McAleenan and the acting National Counterterrorism Center director, Russell Travers, to testify before his panel about national security threats and whether vacancies at DHS have hindered the government’s ability to respond.
“From the release of ISIS prisoners in Syria to the rising number of domestic terrorism incidents here at home to the continuing effort by Russia to meddle in our elections, there are urgent security threats facing the nation. I am concerned that turmoil within the White House and vacancies at the highest levels of the Department of Homeland Security are undermining our ability to respond to terrorist threats,” Thomson said Thursday.
“It is inexcusable that the people charged with keeping the country safe from terrorism are refusing to show up to testify before Congress and speak to the American people about what they are doing to secure the homeland.”