"Under the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (HSA) Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf and Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Secretary (SOPDDS) Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II are lawfully performing their current roles at DHS", the letter said on Monday. "We request that the GAO immediately rescind its Report claiming otherwise as the Report's conclusion is fundamentally erroneous".
The letter said the order of succession was lawful and authorized by former secretaries Kirstjen Nielsen and Kevin McAleenan in an internal agency memoranda.
The letter underscored that US law permits the department head to determine the agency's order of succession.
The DHS General Counsel added that the report was prepared by a staffer with very limited experience practicing law who served on a Democrat campaign and worked for the Senate Democratic leadership.
“It should have been easy to find a seasoned, non-partisan attorney among the GAO’s 3,000 employees to serve as the lead staffer for this report”, the letter reads.