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EXCLUSIVE: DHS Started Preparing Against Iran Threats Months Ago, Acting Secretary Says

Jason Hopkins on January 23, 2020

YUMA, Arizona — Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said the U.S. government was well prepared for any threats from Iran because it had prepared months in advance.

Wolf visited Yuma, Arizona, earlier in January to commemorate 100 miles of border wall built since the beginning of the Trump administration. The acting DHS chief spoke to the Daily Caller News Foundation about construction progress, the roadblocks to securing the border, and about the recent security threats from Iran — which is largely under the purview of DHS.

While the events earlier in January between the U.S. military and Iran appeared to catch the public by surprise, Wolf revealed that his government was able to hit the ground running to ensure the public was safe because it had been preparing since the summer.

“The nation-state of Iran and the threats that surround that are nothing new to the department, nothing new to the U.S. government generally,” Wolf told the DCNF. “We started working collaboratively within our department to come up with contingency plans for the variety of different threats. We had that on the shelf this summer, so when the events on the second took place, we took that off and started implementing those right away.”

“I issued an NTAS bulletin that talked a little bit about the threat from Iran from a Homeland Security perspective, gave you tips on what you could do,” he continued, referring to the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) used by DHS. “You know — if you see something, say something, making sure there’s an awareness for the American people during this heightened state of security.”

The interview followed a U.S. military strike Jan. 2 that killed Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force, near Baghdad, Iraq’s airport. Iranian forces responded several days later by attacking two airbases in Iraq that housed American military personnel. No U.S. service members were killed in the retaliatory attacks, but there were some reported injuries.

Since those missile attacks Jan. 7, Iran has appeared to refrain from any further aggression. However, national security experts have not ruled out possible cyber attacks or other forms of retaliation from the Iranian government in the future. Nevertheless, Wolf made clear that there were no specific threats to the U.S.

“As I have said, there was no — and continues to be no — specific or credible threat to the homeland. We are doing both seen and unseen measures across the department, across our components in the different missions sets that we have, and we’re going to continue that enhanced posture for some time until we understand better what Iran plans to do,” Wold added.

Regarding countries closer to home, Wolf spoke about his recent trip to Honduras where he was able to finalize the Asylum Cooperative Agreement with the country’s government. The agreement, which has been similarly reached with other Central American countries, aims to reduce the flow illegal aliens at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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