In a letter first obtained by CBS News, Biden administration Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has fired nearly the entire Homeland Security Advisory Council as part of his effort to “reconstitute” the panel.
The letter was first reported on by POLITICO and tells members of the council that he has “ended the term of current HSAC members effective March 26, 2021,” in order to allow for “an orderly transition to a new model” for the panel as a whole.
“I am considering how the HSAC can bring the greatest value to the Department and how the expertise, judgment, and counsel of its members can be harnessed most effectively to advance the Department’s mission,” the DHS secretary wrote. “I expect to work closely with the HSAC and to rely on its Members to help guide the Department through a period of change.”
In the letter, Mayorkas thanked those who he dismissed for their service to the council and said that he would “reconstitute the HSAC in the next few weeks, once the new model has been developed.”
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Former New York City police commissioner William Bratton and former administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration Karen Tandy will remain in their positions as chair and vice chair of HSAC. Former FBI and CIA director William Webster will also stay on in his position as chair emeritus, who Mayorkas said he was “privileged” to work with in his letter.
Upwards of 30 unpaid members sat on the panel, consisting of members appointed by both Democrat and Republican DHS secretaries, some of which were known allies to former President Donald Trump. However, the HSAC website has now been updated to reflect only the biographies of the three remaining members.
Trump’s former acting DHS secretary, Chad Wolf, who was responsible for appointing some of the members who just lost their positions tweeted his criticism of the move, writing, “While I respect the right for a DHS Secretary to alter the HSAC to address their needs, dismissing the entire council outright and stopping a lot of important work (that was underway) is not the right approach.”