Dept. of Homeland Security Responds to Congressional Letter on JCC Threats
Nearly one month after sending a letter signed by all 100 senators (Final JCC Letter Signed 3.7.17) to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the attorney general and the FBI noting the need for action on the spate of threats made to Jewish community centers across the country, Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., pressed Secretary John Kelly about getting a response April 5 in the Homeland Security Committee hearing. Kelly admitted the DHS should have responded a long time ago. (See video below).
That same day, DHS responded with a letter of its own (17-1327 S1 Signed Response to Peters 04.05.17). It reads, in part:
In your letter, you asked for information that the Department has taken to assist threats against the Jewish community and other religious institutions. The National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) has worked with the Jewish community to assist them with this specific threat. Those efforts are detailed below, along with information about the NPPD’s Protective Security Advisors (PSAs) program which is available to all communities.
Peters’ press secretary Allison Green noted in an email: “It is clear that the Administration ignored our letter signed by all 100 Senators until a cabinet secretary was directly asked about it at a hearing. The Jewish community and the entirety of the United States Senate should be treated with more respect on a public safety issue of such importance. Additionally, you’ll note in the letter that a number of the actions DHS references happened in 2015-2016 before Trump was sworn in and the number of these bomb threats rapidly escalated.”