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Gold Star: Janet Napolitano

By Ed O'Keefe

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (Photo by Bill O'Leary/Post)

"We don’t have to have a Guantanamo to have safety."

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made that statement on CNN Thursday when asked about former vice president Dick Cheney's recent assertion that the Obama administration's policies have made the country less safe.

"This administration is very committed to the safety of this country," Napolitano said. "I wake up in the morning, thinking about what we can do to be more safe, more secure. My colleagues do the same and the president does the same."

Napolitano's defense of the Obama administration comes as it continues an overhaul of the nation's anti-terror, legal and law enforcement policies, important developments all-but ignored by most Americans, who have understandably focused most of their attention this week on economic matters.

The secretary's television interview was just part of a jam-packed week of meetings and speeches that earn her this week's Gold Star, as the Obama administration official who did the most this week to advance the president's agenda.

Earlier this week Napolitano met with her German counterpart and signed an information-sharing agreement to bolster anti-terrorism efforts. Back in Washington only a few hours later, she reminded members of a firefighters union that economic stimulus funding will help support emergency first responders.

Napolitano defended the stimulus again on Wednesday during her CNN interview, appearing at the future site of the Homeland Security Department's headquarters in Southeast Washington, D.C., which will be built with some stimulus funding.

And the secretary also played diplomat, discussing transportation security with European officials on Tuesday and border issues on Wednesday with the Canadian public safety minister and Mexican interior minister. Napolitano will travel to Mexico in early April to get a better sense of that nation's fast-spreading drug violence.

President Obama picked Napolitano partly because of her experience as the governor of Arizona, a border state. While she may not appear front and center most days, expect to see much more of her as the administration's immigration reform proposals evolve, a process expected to start soon. Recent news of the administration's shift away from arresting individual illegal immigrants to a focus on drug cartels is an early preview of what's to come.

Agree or disagree with this week's Gold Star recipient? Nominate your pick or leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

(UPDATE: We've switched the "Team Player" label to "Gold Star" to better reflect the point of these Friday posts.)

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By Ed O'Keefe  | March 20, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Gold Star, Oversight  
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Let us stop spinning wheels. The Messiah has said that we will do all of these marvelous things throughout the world, and he will get an E for effort, but in the end we will still be back at ground zero. North Korea has faked us out starting with the Clinton era. Iran is a renegade runaway country and they will get their nuclear weapons, sticking their viper tongue at us. The economy will eventually right itself, but at a high cost to each of us. Inflation is the next big worry, because there are too many dollars in circulation. The mortgage crisis will be with us for quite awhile though it will be hidden in the folds of the government, and a good percentage of minorities (including the illegals) will be given free homes. The "plastic" crisis will rear its ugly head later this year, and it will have further devastating effect on all of us. People will simply be maxed out, and nothing will be moved at retail. Welfare checks and other cash incentives will prevail for all minorities, actually reparations, but it sounds better cloaked as an assistance support program. The 5% who now pay most of the taxes will revolt, which is going to mitigate against some of these wild programs conjured up by The One. He already walked on water and he has to come up with another gimmick. Well, the 95% of the blacks made it happened with the help from all those over 40 white woman who dreamed of having sex with His Holiness because of the myth that a black man has an unusual large male organ. What they forgot is that he is half white and maybe that part is more caucasian than black. However, a friend tells me that both come in different sizes, and large, large are not exclusive.

Posted by: Raylene | March 20, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

When Ms Napolitano was Governor of Arizona she changed her mind a few times on illegal aliens. At first glance she was reluctant to address the pressing issue, but when the spotlight was on her she said that she wanted to stop the flow of illegal border crossings. She says one thing, but does another, in true Washington fashion. Recently, she was angry at ICE for rounding up 26 illegal aliens in the state of Washington. I have to ask WHY! The ICE team was doing its job,and is being admonished for it by the head of Homeland Security. What am I missing here? She is responsible for USA security, Isn't she? why then does she protest raids on lawbreaking illegal aliens who have no right to be here. It is Puzzling.

Posted by: joan11432 | March 20, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse


I am not a fan of the Federal Government, or to be truthful, of any Government. I am a ship’s Captain and small shipping company owner, in the international shipping industry. The impact of Homeland Security on this industry has been severe, resulting in substantially increased regulations, costs, delays, and frustration, decreased efficiency and decreased profits. These regulations were accompanied by more than the usual amount of abuse of power by martinet officials. Many of the regulations that have been put in place by the Federal Government are, to this small businessman, inane, counterproductive, and substantially useless- in other words, typical government procedures. Efficiency, the heart and soul of small business, does not even exist in any Government program.

However…..I must point out that we have not been attacked on our own soil in the 7 years following 9/11. I can comment on this, because I understand and anyone who works in the international shipping industry understands-better than ex-President Bush, better than current- President Obama, better than John McCain, Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid, - how easy it is to attack a free and open country. We're on the borders and we are bringing in merchandise every day. Had I been asked seven years ago, based on my knowledge of how commerce works getting goods into and out of our country “What are the chances of America being attacked on our own soil again during the next seven years?”, my reply would have been “A 100% chance, with no doubt whatsoever”. We have not been attacked, and this is no accident. The reason is – and it is very hard for me to say this-that the Federal Government has done a superior job in protecting our homeland from even one attack. This is an almost impossible task for the Feds and Homeland Security to have accomplished. Kudos on this to ex-President Bush, and Thank you.

I am fearful that the New Administration, while putting an incredible amount of time and effort into addressing the economic problems that we are facing, are relegating security to the back burner. Bad mistake.

Captain Stephen F. Formel USMM

4G East Los Pinos

Carolina, PR 00979

Celtel 939-475-2051

Posted by: sformel | March 23, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

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