Top brass at the Department of Homeland Security warned agency employees about threats to their personal safety in an agency-wide email over the weekend amid outrage over the Trump administration’s controversial “zero tolerance” illegal immigration policy.
What are the details?
Claire Grady, acting deputy secretary of homeland security, sent the email on Saturday, according to CNN. She warned employees about threats to their personal safety and instructed agency workers to remain vigilant when in public and to not bring attention to their employment with the DHS.
Grady said there were a number of “credible” and “specific” threats leading up to the company-wide warning.
“In recent days, DHS has determined there may be a heightened threat against DHS employees in response to U.S. Government actions surrounding immigration,” Grady wrote.
“This assessment is based on specific and credible threats that have been levied against certain DHS employees and a sharp increase in the overall number of general threats against DHS employees — although the veracity of each threat varies. In addition, over the last few days, thousands of employees have had their personally identifiable information publically (sic) released on social media,” she explained.
The email included a list of “general security awareness measures that all DHS employees can take to protect themselves while in public,” CNN reported.
Sources who provided CNN with the email said it was distributed to the entire DHS workforce, which encompasses more than 200,000 employees. More from CNN:
According to the email, those measures include calling 911 in the event of feeling threatened. Other advice ranged from “Always keep doors and windows locked. Be aware of unexpected changes in and around your home” to “Utilize maximum security setting on social media platforms.”
At the end of the email, Grady wrote, “Keep your heads held high and focused on the Department’s important missions. You are making a difference to secure our country. And in the meantime, let’s continue to be security-conscious and look out for each other.”
What spurred the email?
In just the last week, numerous incidents have forced the DHS to worry about its employees’ safety.
First, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was forced to leave a Mexican restaurant on Tuesday after protesters showed up and caused a scene. They later protested outside of her Virginia home.
Protestors are outside of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s Alexandria townhouse, playing audio of the detained children. She appears to be still be home. pic.twitter.com/akIcxOcM3q
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) June 22, 2018
In addition, WikiLeaks published the names and personal information of thousands of DHS employees last week, while the DHS field office in Portland, Oregon, was forced to close due to protests.