Press Releases

CASA: DoD “Climate Adaptation Plan” diverted attention of leadership in midst of deadly Afghanistan withdrawal

August 31, 2023

Washington, DC – The Center to Advance Security in America (CASA) has uncovered email communications between officials in the Biden Department of Defense regarding the fast tracking of the DoD “Climate Adaptation Plan” (CAP) signed by Secretary Lloyd Austin on September 1, 2021 – just six days after the poorly planned Afghanistan withdrawal resulted in 13 American service members killed in a Taliban terrorist attack. Per the uncovered emails, the goal of the CAP is to “transform the Department” and to “inculcate climate change considerations across all major decision-making processes”.

At the same time DoD officials were rushing through a plan to “transform the Department”, the Biden Administration was in the process of attempting to withdraw American armed forces from Afghanistan. Records indicate the DoD climate plan was directly competing for the time and attention of Senior DoD officials, including Secretary Lloyd Austin, at a moment of extreme chaos and national security concerns being inflamed in Afghanistan.

Beginning in May 2021, a high ranking DoD official, Richard G. Kidd IV, emailed Andrew Mayock in the Executive Office of the President expressing frustration with the amount of time it might take Secretary Austin to sign off on the CAP. Kidd states, “If it is not a real crisis with people dying – it takes at least 30 days to get anything signed by Sec Def.” At this same time, the Taliban was increasing attacks against Afghanistan government forces and preparing for “large-scale offensives.”

On August 17, 2021, the day after President Biden delivered a speech to the nation in which he acknowledged the catastrophe in Afghanistan, Secretary Austin’s senior advisors were again emailing about the timing of the CAP being signed. The apparent rush to get it approved, despite the Afghanistan chaos, is evident in communications showing that even the Secretary of the Navy was not given proper time to review the document prior to Austin signing it. The chaos and fatal decisions directing the pullout captivated the nation and lasted well into the Fall of 2021 as Afghan allies and Americans were being abandoned behind Taliban lines.  Given this timeline, the newly released records raise additional questions about the judgment of Austin and other senior DoD officials who decided to focus on the issue of climate change at such a tumultuous time.

“While the Biden Administration was in the middle of a disastrous and deadly Afghanistan withdrawal, our top military leaders were being hounded by DoD climate activists to fast track a plan to transform the Department by forcing politically charged climate change discussions into every decision the DoD makes,” said CASA Director James Fitzpatrick. “Whether this was just a grossly out of touch Department or motivated by Biden-appointed ideologues who believe that the so-called climate crisis is more pressing than the lives of American service members remains to be seen. However, based on these new records, it is simply appalling to think that American military and political leadership turned their attention to finalize a so-called ‘Climate Action Plan’ in the midst of a Taliban terrorist attack and while Americans and our allies were facing such clear and present danger. God bless the Gold Star families who have to live with this reality.”


DHS continues to threaten the First Amendment rights of the American people

May 11, 2022

Washington, DC – The Center to Advance Security in America (CASA) expressed serious concern today regarding the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) contradictory statements about free speech and monitoring U.S. citizens. Last week, DHS announced the establishment of a “Disinformation Governance Board” (DGB). This board, DHS Secretary Mayorkas promised, would not monitor Americans. However, just a few months ago, DHS issued a National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin, a memo prioritizing “false or misleading narratives” as a top domestic security threat. That NTAS Bulletin states that “there is widespread online proliferation of false or misleading narratives regarding unsubstantiated widespread election fraud and COVID-19.” Here they are clearly targeting American citizens, and Americans could not be faulted for assuming that this memo was a precursor to the Disinformation Governance Board.

At CASA, we are very concerned that the NTAS Bulletin and the Disinformation Governance Board could lead to an infringement of the First Amendment rights of Americans. At the time of its release, we submitted Freedom of Information Act requests regarding the NTAS bulletin. We are now seeking additional information from DHS concerning the DGB.

The American people have every right to be skeptical of this new entity because, unfortunately, there are numerous instances of the government spying on U.S. citizens in the recent past. These include:

• The Carter Page Incident: Page was an advisor to the Trump 2016 campaign. In 2016-17 the government investigated him on suspicion of being an intermediary between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. A later Inspector General’s report identified “at least 17 significant errors or omissions” in the application for a surveillance (FISA) warrant against Page and a Department of Justice attorney was convicted of falsifying a document that led to a Page warrant.
• The James Clapper Spying Scandal: The former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper apparently made false statement to Congress in March 2013, when he responded, “No, sir” and “not wittingly” to a question about whether the National Security Agency was collecting “any type of data at all” on millions of Americans. About three months after making that claim, documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the answer was untruthful and that the NSA was in fact collecting in bulk domestic call records, along with various internet communications.
• CIA Spying: Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, both members of the Senate Intelligence Committee who are privy to classified information, have warned about the existence of a secret bulk collection program that the CIA has operated “outside the statutory framework that Congress and the public believe govern this collection,” and without oversight by the courts or Congress. The secret program appears to be related to bulk data swept up by the CIA in terrorism operations, including information on an unknown number of Americans, according to a heavily blacked-out report from a CIA oversight board that was declassified at the urging of the two senators. The program still seems to be in operation.

“Unfortunately, the federal government has a history of spying on innocent Americans, so it is not surprising that DHS would be monitoring them for MDM,” said Adam Turner, Director of CASA. He continued, “But this is still Orwellian and disturbing. I call on DHS to issue far stronger assurances that the Disinformation Governance Board, and all other programs, will not monitor the American people or infringe on their First Amendment rights.”


DHS “Disinformation” Board Raises Censorship Alarm Bells

April 29, 2022

Washington, DC – The Center to Advance Security in America (CASA) expressed serious alarm about the shocking and Orwellian development announced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of the establishment of a DHS “Disinformation Governance Board.” The move stands in stark contrast to the developments surrounding Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, purportedly to tamp down its blatant censorship of well-established and notable conservative public figures.

The announcement of the “Disinformation” board came up during yesterday’s testimony of Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas before the House Appropriations DHS Subcommittee. Secretary Mayorkas announced the two co-chairs, Undersecretary for Policy Rob Silvers and Jennifer Gaskell, Principal Deputy General Counsel, and Executive Director Nina Jankowicz who appears to be one of the newest Biden Administration political appointees. In a second hearing yesterday before House Judiciary Secretary Mayorkas again faced questions about the board’s mission and intended use of taxpayer resources to censor disinformation. Under questioning from Rep. Jim Jordan during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Sec. Mayorkas attempted to downplay the board’s scope. When confronted with examples of statements from government officials, mainly related to the pandemic, that were later proven false, he declared, “The disinformation board addresses disinformation that imperils the safety and security of our homeland. One of the primary areas we are focused on is the disinformation and its connectivity to violence.” The NTAB released by DHS earlier this year directly connects “false or misleading narratives regarding unsubstantiated widespread election fraud and COVID-19” and grievances associated with those themes to “violent extremist attacks during 2021.”

The establishment of the Disinformation Governance Board comes at a contentious time in the national discourse on free speech and social media censorship, and as several high-profile stories previously labeled by mainstream media and tech outlets as misinformation or conspiracy theories have turned out to be true. The most notable example is Hunter Biden’s laptop, which was widely dismissed in 2020 as Russian disinformation by major media outlets and Democratic pundits, including the new Executive Director, Ms. Jankowicz. This places DHS and the Biden Administration’s new Disinformation Czar in an awkward situation as any action against American citizens may trigger allegations of government censorship and infringement on Free Speech rights.

The new Board is certain to add fuel to the fire involving a National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin issued by DHS in February that listed “the proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions” as one of three factors contributing to domestic security threats facing Americans. CASA has since submitted at least ten FOIA requests seeking information regarding the basis for this report, the officials responsible, and the outside entities likely working with DHS to censor free speech.

“Here DHS and Secretary Mayorkas go again with their Orwellian plans to stamp out dissenting opinions on issues they find harmful to their worldview,” Adam Turner, Director of the Center to Advance Security in America, said. “Whether the ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ turns out to be a modern-day version of Joe McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee will be interesting – and possibly terrifying – to watch. We will continue to press hard for transparency into the decision-making around the creation of this Censorship Board and inquire whether Ms. Jankowizc will attempt to lead it with the same zest she has shown for suppressing true stories such as the Hunter laptop story.”


Was Biden’s Call With Zelensky Impeachable?

March 24, 2022

Washington, DC – Today, the Center to Advance Security in America (CASA) Director Adam Turner called for transparency on the breaking news that senior government officials have been coordinating behind the scenes to shield a Russian oligarch from sanctions being imposed by the U.S. government in response to the Russian war in Ukraine. A recent telephone conversation between President Biden and Ukrainian President Zelensky appeared to focus on a request for special treatment of a particular Russian oligarch as part of the Ukrainian’s assistance to President Biden in his formulation of sanctions policy. The outlines of the potential quid pro quo are still yet to be revealed as the White House and State Department spokesmen have declined to release the transcripts.

The incident is slightly reminiscent of another private phone call involving the Ukrainian president and former President Donald Trump. In that case, however, transcripts normally classified for national security reasons were leaked to press outlets by a staff member on the National Security Council, Colonel Alexander Vindman. Allegations of a potential “quid pro quo” suggested in that phone call subsequently led to impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives. Then-candidate Biden celebrated the leaking of the transcripts stating, “[Trump] should have been pinning a medal on Vindman….And I think we should all stand and give Colonel Vindman a show of how much we supported him.”

Multiple Biden Administration spokesmen, including from the National Security Council, refused to comment or release the transcripts, citing the private nature of the conversation. Several international allies have questioned whether Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has in fact been facilitating peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, despite the special treatment afforded him by the White House and State Department.

“In light of the unusual nature of President Biden’s phone call with President Zelensky and Mr. Abramovich’s questionable involvement in the peace process, a decision to release the transcripts of the two leaders’ phone call would go a long way to assuring the American public that there is no inappropriate ’quid pro quo’ going on,” said Adam Turner, Director of the Center to Advance Security in America. “While CASA certainly does not support any illegal disclosure of classified information, an official release of call transcripts does appear warranted under the circumstances. We hope President Biden stands by his support for transparency into private Presidential conversations in order to clear up any potential confusion about whether certain Russian oligarchs are receiving special treatment for an unrealized benefit sought by the President of the United States.”


“Mailbox full”; DoD rebuffs attempts for transparency in wake of scathing report

March 18, 2022

Washington, DC – Today, the Center to Advance Security in America (CASA) Director Adam Turner criticized the federal government for its failure to provide transparency around the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. As recent reports reveal as many as 9,000 American citizens may have been left behind at the mercy of the Taliban, the government may be deliberately misleading the American people and avoiding attempts to obtain records regarding the chaotic departure.

This past month, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFR) issued a report critical of the federal government’s actions in Afghanistan.  According to the report, between 4,000 to 9,000 American citizens were left behind in Afghanistan on August 31, 2021, and the federal government has evacuated at least an additional 479 American citizens.  This stands in stark contrast to statements such as President Joe Biden’s “100 to 200 Americans” and Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s, “approximately 100-150.”

Earlier this year, CASA submitted Freedom of Information Act requests with the Department of Defense (DoD) and other agencies seeking information on a variety of aspects of the pullout. Not only has DoD provided no responses to the requests but recent attempts to obtain information about the status of the requests have resulted in emails being kicked back with “Mailbox full” messages – not exactly in keeping with the Attorney General’s declaration, “Transparency in government operations is a priority of this Administration,” as he declared in the FOIA guidelines released Tuesday. Could leadership at the Department Americans look to stand and protect them be running from the answers to difficult questions?

The report documents that the failure to evacuate these citizens was because of general incompetence on the part of the federal government.  For example, officials were still formulating a withdrawal plan a day before Kabul fell to the Taliban, despite the fact that President Biden had announced the withdrawal from Afghanistan four months before Kabul fell.  Also, there was a failure of coordination between the State Department and the Defense Department.  And the Transportation Department waited five days to issue an order allowing foreign airlines to deliver evacuees to U.S. airports, and seven days to activate the Civil Reserve Aircraft Fleet, which is a private fleet that can aid the U.S. military in a crisis, but “was barely used and did little to impact evacuation operations.”

“The Center to Advance Security in America (CASA) was created to educate the American people about government actions that impact their safety,” Director Adam Turner said.  “The U.S. government’s incompetent withdrawal from Afghanistan in August of 2021 was an action that clearly impacts the safety of the American public.  It is disgraceful that our most powerful officials did not level with the American people from the very beginning regarding the catastrophic withdrawal. The ‘Mailbox full’ responses to attempts to obtain the vital information around this catastrophe exemplifies the incompetence that led to it.”   


Immigration and Customs Enforcement Annual Report

March 11, 2022

Washington, DC – Today, the Center to Advance Security in America (CASA) Director Adam Turner commented on the 2021 Annual Report belatedly issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The report is nearly three months late in its release to the public as new enforcement priorities set in at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In February, Turner highlighted some of these priorities and his organization’s efforts to inquire deeper into the border crisis. These include reports of disparate COVID-19 protocols, taxpayer-funded transportation of migrants across the country, and what appears to be a significant deviation from past interpretations of DHS’s obligations to uniformly enforce immigration law. The Annual Report describes this effort as a “rebalance[ing] of its approach to civil immigration enforcement.”

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Annual Report numbers show a dramatic change in approach to the nation’s long-standing immigration laws that have, at times, resulted in tension between the career officials and leaders at the agency. While apprehensions of illegal aliens have nearly tripled, the 2021 Annual Report shows deportations at record lows compared to the past five years. Other observations include:

  • ICE’s press release highlights the new enforcement priority that requires an individualized assessment of a threat to better focus resources on those that pose security threats. Yet statistics showing increased criminal activity around the border and locations receiving these migrants appear at odds with this new stated priority.
  • The agency highlighted its efforts in targeting illicit funding by designated terrorist entities in Iran – an interesting point to highlight given the recent revelations that removal of these groups from the sanctions list is in play to finalize an Iranian nuclear deal.
  • The Report emphasized the discretion given to officers inherent in their new approach yet stories of the DHS leadership fighting their own agents in court, attempting to have deportation orders canceled, again undermines the agency’s claim.
  • A major theme of the Report is the apparent prioritization of removing illegal immigrants who commit felonies while in the United States. Yet even this standard appears to be arbitrary with one example of an illegal immigrant who killed someone while driving drunk escaping deportation for not being considered sufficiently dangerous to the public’s safety.

“It is not surprising that DHS leadership might have been timid about releasing the 2021 Annual Report,” said CASA Director Adam Turner. “It tells a stark story about shifting immigration priorities that may contribute to the public’s perception that the agency has largely stopped enforcing the law. The question then becomes how many taxpayer resources are being deployed to assist illegal aliens in their effort to resettle in America and whether those efforts are consistent with DHS’s appropriations and other legal obligations. CASA has submitted numerous FOIA requests to find out. The American people deserve to know.”


CASA Investigates Potentially Frightening Assault on Civil Liberties

February 8, 2022

Washington, DC – The Center to Advance Security in America (CASA) today expresses grave concern over the potential for infringement on Americans’ rights from the Department of Homeland Security’s recent National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin.

The highest duty of the federal government is to protect the rights of American citizens. The NTAS cites “the proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions” as one of three factors contributing to the increased “volatility, unpredictability, and complexity of the threat environment” that sparked the NTAS.  

We live in an environment where social media censorship is becoming commonplace for those presenting contrarian viewpoints. Against this backdrop, the DHS has issued a memo prioritizing “false or misleading narratives” as a top domestic security threat. Any “narrative” that undermines public trust in U.S. institutions, such as reporting about officials’ misconduct, potential corruption within the First family or political leaders, or a variety of statements questioning the scientific basis for many COVID policies could potentially fall subject to the new Domestic Terrorism Branch’s intelligence gathering and dissemination. While this is concerning enough, it is made worse by the repeated reference to false or misleading “narratives” in the NTAS announcement, suggesting that DHS views true and accurate information as potentially threatening if citizens draw what DHS considers to be the “wrong” conclusions.

“This nation was founded on a healthy distrust of government institutions,” Adam Turner, Director of the Center to Advance Security in America, said. “In fact, distrust of government institutions was the driving force behind such fundamental American principles as separation of powers, a government of limited powers, and federalism. The NTAS represents a potentially frightening assault on the First Amendment and the expression of legitimate protest and dissent. CASA will be opening an inquiry into the use of the domestic security state to potentially target political opponents, squash free speech and deliver federal dollars to special interest allies.”

In response, CASA will be asking the hard questions:

  1. How much money will be sent out to politically motivated non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting the current Administration’s policy agenda through the Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3)?
  2. What is a “misleading narrative” and who will determine whether true information contributes to a “misleading narrative?”
  3. Will this bulletin be the basis to fund groups that purport to “correct” misinformation or articulate the “approved narrative of events?”
  4. Will the Nonprofit Security Grant Program be used to hand money to partisan organizations or those with close ties to public officials in an effort to bolster their public communications efforts?
  5. Will any of the “collaboration with private sector partners” be used to work with social media companies (as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki suggested at a recent press conference) to censor and identify peaceful but politically active opponents of the Administration?

CASA will be submitting requests to find out.


Press release (pdf)

Discovering What Is a “Diplomatic Boycott” and Other Questions About the Approach to China the American People Deserve Answers to

February 7, 2022

Washington, DC – Today, the Center to Advance Security in America (CASA) Director Adam Turner announced a series of new Freedom of Information Act requests into the U.S. government’s approach to U.S.-China relations in the midst of a “diplomatic boycott” at the Beijing Olympics. The issues facing the United States are extensive, ranging from alleged human rights abuses of the Uyghur people to escalating tension with the Taiwanese and ongoing developments in the inquiry behind the origins of COVID-19 virus.

Many of the Administration’s public statements and approach toward these issues have raised confusion among the public over the last year as to what the top priorities of the new Administration are and which issues will take precedence. Turner’s latest op-ed lays these questions out and seeks to understand what the Biden Administration’s “diplomatic boycott” of the Olympics means as the 2022 Winter Olympics get underway. The Turner op-ed may be found at WND here.

“The Administration has advanced what it calls a ‘diplomatic boycott’ of the Beijing Olympics,” said Director Adam Turner, “but we don’t know much about this strategy, as it has never been implemented before. Through a series of new FOIA requests, CASA intends to find out more about what the broader strategic approach is to China, and what are the actual priorities for the U.S. government.  The American people deserve to know the answers to these questions.”  


Press release (pdf)