[Guest post by DRJ]
Janet Napolitano is President Obama’s Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS and Secretary Napolitano are responsible for protecting America from terrorism, illegal immigration and border incursions, and disasters — including disaster preparedness, response and recovery. The DHS has been challenged by several incidents during the last 15 months but Napolitano’s initial response has consistently been to downplay the incidents, especially in cases where there appears to be a single perpetrator:
December 2009 — The Christmas Day underwear bomber:
“Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has created controversy over her remarks that “The system worked” on CNN’s “State of the Union”. She was referring to the terrorist attack on Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit.
Napolitano changed the remark on later appears on the Sunday news shows, including “This Week” on ABC, by saying thing worked “after the attack”.
Critics say Napolitano’s remark indicates the system is to allow terrorists on planes and then depend on passengers for ensure safety.”
Later reports questioned whether Napolitano and other national security officials were promptly advised or consulted about the Christmas Day incident.
March 2010 — Joe Stack’s suicide plane crash into the Austin IRS building:
“To our belief, he was a lone wolf. He used a terrorist tactic, but an individual who uses a terrorist tactic doesn’t necessarily mean they are part of an organized group attempting an attack on the United States,” Napolitano said.”
May 1, 2010 — Car bomb in Times Square:
“Homeland Security Janet Napolitano told me that right now there is no evidence that car bomb found in New York’s Times Square last night is “anything other than a one-off.”
Some terror attacks are the work of organized jihadi groups, some are unknown, and others are committed by one or more individuals like Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Yet Napolitano strangely avoided any comparison between McVeigh and Stack, the Austin suicide pilot who did act alone:
“Napolitano distinguished [Joe] Stack from Timothy J. McVeigh — who was convicted and executed for carrying out the 1995 attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people — citing McVeigh’s “tactics, organization, motivation and the like.”
“When you get to a lone wolf, which is what really the Austin issue was, it’s very debatable whether you would put them in the same bucket,” Napolitano said. “For my purposes, it’s, ‘Where do we focus our resources?’ And where we focus our resources is on protecting the country from organized attacks.”
It probably was hard to anticipate what Stack did but are we measuring terrorists based on their number and organizational skills? Apparently Napolitano doesn’t think DHS should focus on individual threats unless they have big, organized plans like McVeigh. Maybe this is why our enemies are sending operatives individually into American cities.
During her confirmation hearing, Napolitano intentionally used the term “man-caused disasters” rather than terrorism. At the time, the response focused on why she chose to use the more benign term — disaster — instead of terrorism. But maybe the real problem is Napolitano’s consistent willingness to blame every attack on an unstoppable individual, until proven otherwise.