Napolitano was born in New York and yet takes so little interest in us that as recently as last April she seemed unaware of some basic facts regarding the attack on the World Trade Center.
That became apparent in an interview with Canadian television. Napolitano suggested that the Canadian and Mexican borders warranted equal attention.
“Yes, Canada is not Mexico. It doesn’t have a drug war going on,” Napolitano said. “Nonetheless, to the extent that terrorists have come into our country …it’s been across the Canadian border.”
The interviewer inquired if the terrorists included those who had staged the 9/11 attacks.
“Not just those, but others as well,” Napolitano said.
The Canadian ambassador to the U.S., Michael Wilson, subsequently lamented that “misconceptions arise on something as fundamental as where the 9/11 terrorists came from.”
“As the 9/11 commission reported in 2004, all of the 9/11 terrorists arrived in the United States from outside North America,” Wilson noted. “They flew to major U.S. airports. They entered the U.S. with documents issued by the United States government. No 9/11 terrorists came from Canada.”
Napolitano announced through an aide she had “misunderstood” the interviewer and had actually been speaking about the lone would-be bomber who had been caught crossing from Canada into Washington State in 1999.
Napolitano then made a declaration no homeland security chief should ever have had to make, most particularly one born in New York.
“I know that the Sept. 11 hijackers did not come through Canada to the United States,” she said.
No doubt some Canadians saw a certain irony on Christmas Day, when the undies bomber aboard a flight from Amsterdam attempted to destroy an airliner descending into Detroit, just across a river from Canada.
An Islamic extremist who never should have been allowed on an airliner in the first place had passed through security with a high explosive. He likely would have killed all 289 aboard were it not for his bungling and the heroism of a Dutch passenger.
“The system worked,” Napolitano had the nerve to say.
No doubt some Canadians discerned a pattern when Napolitano responded to the ensuing uproar over her remark by saying she had been “taken out of context.”
“Our system did not work in this instance,” Napolitano now said.
In both instances, Napolitano flip-flopped after saying something ludicrous while playing politics. That is particularly reprehensible in time of war, but it is not surprising, for she is a politician by profession.
By all accounts, she was a pretty good governor in her adopted state of Arizona, certainly much better than the one we have in her native New York.
She is a disgrace as the secretary of homeland security. That job should be held by somebody who has some working expertise and no agenda other than to keep the innocent as safe as possible.
I hate to admit it, but President George W. Bush was right to appoint a cop to head homeland security. He just picked the wrong one when he chose Bernard Kerik, who is also a crook.
In making that mistake, Bush was no doubt looking for some of the magic that has transformed New York into America’s safest big city, a phenomenon in which Kerik played no significant role.
Our new President could get some of that magic from those who really did make it happen.
Our present police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, is one.
Former NYPD Commissioner and LAPD chief William Bratton is another.
There is also John Timoney, who went from the NYPD to become top cop in Philadelphia and then Miami.
Put one of those truly talented souls in charge and the system might actually work, eh?