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Time to Replace Napolitano

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Last March, our newly installed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano explained, in an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, her vision for fighting what was formerly known as terrorism.


By calling these now "man caused disasters," she explained, we would "move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur."

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"Our policies will be guided by authoritative information. We also have assets at our disposal now that we did not have prior to 9/11. For example, we are much better able to keep track of travelers coming into the U.S. than we were before. The third thing is to work with our international partners and allies to make sure that we are getting information and sharing information in an appropriate and real-time fashion."


Putting Napolitano in charge of a department of 200,000 people and a $50 billion budget with a stated mission to "lead the unified national effort to secure the country and preserve our freedoms" was a "man caused disaster." And it is one that President Barack Obama should fix -- pronto.

His No. 1 priority to restore credibility in his administration's ability to protect Americans from terrorism should be replacement of Napolitano.

Her blundering performance on Sunday talk shows following the failed Christmas day terrorist attempt to blow up an American plane showed clearly that this isn't the person we want responsible for the security of our homeland.


It's much more than her incredible observation that "the system worked."

Napolitano told CNN's Candy Crowley, "The traveling public is very, very safe in this air environment."

This despite answering every one of Crowley's probing questions with "I don't know."

Are there Al-Qaeda ties? How could he have gotten past security and on the plane carrying an explosive? How could he fly to the U.S. when his own father -- a wealthy banker -- briefed our embassy officials about what he saw his son up to?

Crowley, astonished, asked the Secretary how she could possibly be reassuring Americans that they are safe when she seemed to know nothing about what happened.

"....if it was properly screened and he got on anyway with that, it doesn't feel that safe."

Napolitano: "Well, you know it should."

The same morning on NBC's "Meet the Press,'' David Gregory asked Napolitano if the amount of explosives the young man had was enough "to bring down the plane."

Her reply: "I think we're far from knowing that." This two days after the incident.

Her own agenda and bias emerged in the interview with Gregory. He asked if there were Al Qaeda ties and she responded, "Again, we don't know."

But in concluding, Gregory asked her if we should continue to view Al Qaeda as a threat.


Referring, in her rambling response, to this latest incident, Napolitano noted "And while this case does not appear specifically connected there..."

The Obama team knows how to fire CEOs.

Since General Motors became a subsidiary of the U.S. government after getting bailed out with taxpayer funds, two CEOs have been forced out. Their failure was not coming up with plans for selling Chevrolets, Buicks, and Cadillacs that pleased their government overseers.

Surely at least the same standard for performance should be demanded of someone responsible for America's security and American lives.

Barack Obama has led a charmed life.

The botched terrorist effort on Christmas was a gift to the 300 innocent passengers on that plane and a gift to America.

But it was also a potential political gift to Obama. Americans rally around their president when we are threatened. Making the right moves now could prove a political boon to him.

And the right move now is finding and installing a qualified Homeland Security secretary.

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