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Administration accused of ‘cutting and pasting’ responses for DHS nominee

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Obama with DHS nominee Jeh Johnson

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Move over Rand Paul because the Obama administration has just been accused of “cut and pasting” written responses for its Homeland Security secretary nominee.

During Wednesday’s Senate confirmation hearing for DHS secretary nominee Jeh Johnson, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn blasted the administration for “providing cribbed answers to 23 questions” submitted by Johnson to the committee, Fox News reported.

At issue are the 23 “cut and pasted” responses on a questionnaire of “about 100 questions” Johnson turned into the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. However, those answers were “the same as those provided by previous nominees,” the article said.

“These are the exact words [given] to the committee before,” Coburn said, according to reports. “We want to get your thoughts, not some legislative assistant’s.”

According to Fox News:

In one example, Johnson’s questionnaire answer states that if confirmed he would: “continue to sustain common DHS intelligence standards as well as build privacy and civil rights protections into its operations, policies, programs and technology deployments from the outset of their development.”

In July 2011, then-Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the agency: “builds privacy and civil rights and civil liberties protections into its operations, policies, programs and technology deployments from the outset of their development.”

In another example, Johnson’s questionnaire states: “Critical infrastructure is the backbone of our country’s national and economic security. In addition to the federal buildings where millions of Americans work and visit each day, it includes power plants, chemical facilities, communications networks, bridges, highways, and stadiums.

Napolitano submitted written Hill testimony in March 2013 that in part stated: “Critical infrastructure is the backbone of our country’s national and economic security. It includes power plants, chemical facilities, communications networks, bridges, highways, and stadiums, as well as the federal buildings where millions of Americans work and visit each day.”

The chairman of the committee, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, “told Johnson ‘to go back and edit’ the answers,” and Coburn said he would hold up Johnson’s nomination “until the situation is corrected.”

However, Fox News reported the White House was unavailable for comment.

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