This morning, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux reported that “very senior level sources” inside the administration are telling her that Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff will replace Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Additionally, these sources say Chertoff will be replaced at Homeland Security by Clay Johnson III, the Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget. Watch it:
Johnson, who has no homeland security experience, is a professional Bush loyalist. While Johnson may have familiarity with some aspects of DHS’s budget, he appears to have no experience in the many responsibilities of the department, including immigration, air travel security, disaster response, and other aspects of our nation’s homeland defense.
He is one of Bush’s oldest friends, having attended both prep school and college with the President. Johnson served as Bush’s gubernatorial chief of staff in Texas before heading up the Bush-Cheney transition team.
When Bush first chose Johnson as his chief of staff in Texas, he said it was specifically because of his friend’s loyalty to him:
“I want someone whose primary interest is me — George Bush — and who doesn’t hope to parlay this into something and isn’t trying to curry favor with this one or that one,” Bush told Johnson and his wife, Anne Sewell Johnson, over lunch.
Asked about his relationship to Bush, Johnson told the New York Times recently that “there’s a lot of devotion to George Bush the person.” Johnson, who “is probably the only person to have spanked” the president’s dog, Barney, “keeps a George Bush doll on his desk.”
Clay Johnson appears to bring the same qualifications to Homeland Security that Alberto Gonzales brought to the Justice Department.