Karen Olick, chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, resigned suddenly on Monday, sending shockwaves through Washington D.C.
“Olick was most recently a prominent official at SKDK, the powerful Democratic strategic communications firm. She recently led the firm’s ballot initiative practice,” Politico reported.
“Employees and senior officials at DHS have also been working non-stop on other crises that their department is taking a lead on including responding to the impacts of Hurricane Ida and helping vet tens of thousands of Afghan refugees who the U.S. evacuated from Kabul in August,” the report added.
SCOOP: Karen Olick, chief of staff to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, abruptly announced on Monday she was resigning and leaving for a new, undisclosed opportunity. (W/ @AlexThomp)https://t.co/fEjuIpfiBc
— Daniel Lippman (@dlippman) September 13, 2021
The DHS has faced intense pressure during the Biden administration on multiple fronts. During the initial months of Biden’s term, new open border policies led to more than one million illegal immigrants crossing the southern border, overwhelming resources.
In addition, the evacuation of tens of thousands of Afghans from Afghanistan to the U.S. has opened a new enormous security front as the agency has been selected to oversee the vetting process.
Further, the rise of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan and the 20th anniversary of 9/11 has also led to heightened concerns regarding terror threats.
Olick may have discovered a new opportunity, but the pressures of her DHS role likely did not help. The search for her replacement will step into a crisis situation to lead the staff of DHS during a highly turbulent time.