Trump's DHS Nominee: No Need For a Border Wall 'from Sea to Shining Sea'

By Susan Jones | November 8, 2017 | 11:18am EST
Kirstjen Nielsen, President Trump's nominee for DHS secretary, testifies at her confirmation hearing on Nov. 8. (Screen grab/C-SPAN)

( - President Trump's nominee to serve as Homeland Security Secretary told Congress on Wednesday that she agrees with those who say there is no need for a physical wall stretching across the Southwest border.

"The president has stated, as have my predecessors at DHS -- certainly something that I share -- there is no need for a wall from sea to shining sea," Kirstjen Nielsen told the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

"What we need to do is work with the operators. Should I be confirmed, I would look forward to speaking with state and local officials, those on the ground, both law enforcement and federal law enforcement, to include CBP, to understand where we need some sort of physical barrier. Technology plays a key part, and we can't forget it. There's a lot that we can do with technology to secure our border."


A short time earlier, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) asked Neilsen if she agrees with her predecessor, Gen. John Kelly, who told the same committee in April: “It is unlikely that we will build a wall or physical barrier from sea to shining sea...We're not going to build a wall where it doesn't make sense...but we'll do something across the Southwest Border."

Neilsen said she does agree with that.

In her opening statement, Neilsen indicated that her main concern is cybersecurity and protecting critical infrastructure:

"While each aspect of the Department’s mission is important, I believe one of the most significant for our nation’s future is cybersecurity and the overall security and resilience of our nation’s critical infrastructure."

Nielsen said she's concerned about the "scope and pace of cyberattacks against our federal networks and the control systems that run our critical infrastructure."

She said her cybersecurity experience in both the public and private sectors "has prepared me well" to boost resilience to such attacks.

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