Gold Star: Janet Napolitano
"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.)
| March 20, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: Gold Star, Oversight
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