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Light on Leadership

Why Napolitano must go

The Obama administration's response to the Gulf oil spill has been almost as confusing as the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The events are very different in both origin and threat, but they both produced fumbling nonetheless.

No president could ever match the Bush administration's cavalier approach to Katrina, but the Obama administration is so distracted by other catastrophes that the emerging environmental crisis seems like a rounding error. His super-sized agenda appears to be getting the best of him as the world spins through crisis after crisis.

For its part, the Obama administration apparently underestimated the spill's potential danger, was distracted by the ongoing fight over banking reform, and did little to mobilize federal agencies until the oil slick revealed its true size. Even then, the administration waited more than a week to describe the incident as a spill of national significance.

There is still much to be learned about what happened in the days following the initial alerts, and some will argue that the Obama administration was appropriately reserved. Although 20/20 hindsight suggests that the Obama administration should have taken a more proactive stance, there was plenty of calm in Washington during the early days of the catastrophe, including on Capitol Hill where three committees are now preparing investigations of the spill.

Homeland Security Secretary and former Arizona governor Janet Napolitano may have to take the fall for the confusion. Just as she declared that the system list had worked in the Christmas Day bombing attempt, she has been making the rounds of the Sunday talk shows reassuring viewers that the federal government has moved as fast as possible to address the crisis. Her words do not ring true.

Napolitano could have played a much more aggressive role in the response as Homeland Security chief. As secretary, she was at the top of the disaster reporting chain and had full authority to unleash federal agencies to act. The White House clearly contributed to the confusion, but she could have resolved it with a firm hand. She showed little strength in doing so.

Instead, she seemed out of touch during the first days after the accident and uninformed about her leadership role in coordinating the response. She seemed more concerned about Arizona's new immigration law the day after the Coast Guard reported the leak, and admitted that she did not know how the Defense Department could help on the day before she made her "national incident" announcement.

Technically, however, Napolitano was not responsible for the federal government's initial response. The Coast Guard has that job under federal law. If the buck stops anywhere, it is with the Coast Guard's on-scene coordinator who is free to ask for any help at any time.

But technicalities have never been a good defense for public leaders. After all, the Coast Guard reports to Napolitano, not vice versa. She was at the fulcrum of the decisions and should have asked harder questions about the potential scope of the disaster. Instead of hedging against the real potential that the spill would become an environmental nightmare, she waited for further information.

Napolitano's job as secretary was not to simply echo the president's promise to keep his foot on the throat of British Petroleum. She was also responsible for creating a clear forecast of the crisis and leading the federal response. Given her department's sorry history during Katrina, she should have set up a tent on the Gulf Coast and taken charge as the administration's lead responder. She could have been a reassuring presence in a storm of emerging panic, but instead was mostly invisible.

It is not clear whether Napolitano can survive this latest test. Although her department responded quickly to the Times Square bombing attempt only days after the oil spill, it is still suffering from persistent concerns that it cannot move fast enough when crisis hits. The department is one of the best at "table-top" exercises involving hypothetical events, but seems unable to bring its full capacity to bear on actual catastrophes, in no small part because it remains a behemoth of loosely connected agencies.

Napolitano's options are now limited. She has been mostly pushed aside as the Obama White House works to contain the political damage from its sluggish response and has been diminished within her department. She may want to stay on longer as secretary, but it might be best if she spent the next few months thinking about her next posting.

Like leaders in any sector, Napolitano has been tested by the uncertainties embedded in real events. Unfortunately, she has been found wanting.

By Paul Light

 |  May 5, 2010; 2:13 PM ET |  Category:  Public leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

C'mon. Whether you like or dislike Obama, you can't deny that Napolitano is a disaster.

She seems so out of her depth, it's like Obama took an average person off the street and just made an unlucky choice.

She make Brownie look like a genius.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | May 7, 2010 5:42 AM

I agree with SISSD1: Napolitano must go, and so must Holder.

They are detriments to our nation.

Posted by: wmpowellfan | May 7, 2010 5:41 AM

Thanks light, but you are the only one who needs to go. Ignorant neo-con bias is so wrong.

Posted by: tuttlegroup | May 6, 2010 7:55 PM

I find it a bit funny that people are accusing Dr. Light of being a right-winger. He might be wrong, but if these people checked THEIR facts, they'd find that he is actually a veteran of a number of Democratic campaigns and is a tenured professor of public service at one of the most liberal research universities in the country, NYU. Next time you accuse someone of making conclusions without checking the facts, don't be a hypocrite.

Posted by: bmgleason | May 6, 2010 5:31 PM

Professor Light,

I was wondering if you could provide some other concrete recommendations as to what Secretary Napolitano should have done and when. The only specific recommendation I could find in your article was "she should have set up a tent on the Gulf Coast and taken charge as the administration's lead responder." Below is a link to the time line for the oil spill.


Posted by: Tokugawa1 | May 6, 2010 5:27 PM

If anyone in the Obama administration looks as if they are holding on for dear life, and saying to themself I can do this, I can do this, I can do this, it is Janet Napolitano. She always appears to be at least two steps behind the situation at hand.

Posted by: bobbo2 | May 6, 2010 4:57 PM

This guy is a Ivory Tower educational professior that gets paid WAAAYYY to much money to criticize others. He is a partisan hack and hasn't led anything but bilks New York for six figures a year. How about you get in the real world loser.

Posted by: jcar2 | May 6, 2010 1:52 PM

Hah! That's FEMA. You wouldn't know I did a stint with them about 15 years ago for reserve duty :).

Posted by: iamweaver | May 6, 2010 12:51 PM

CAdam72 writes:
"This column is a joke. The BP oil spill was not considered a "homeland security" issue in the least and comments to the contrary are disingenuous."

NEMA was made part of Homeland Security when the bureau was created - that's how it falls into Ms. Neopolito's lap.

That said, Dr. Light's comments are based on falsehoods, not facts. Once the problem actually *did* belong to NEMA (as in, once the oil spill was recognized), response was quick.

Posted by: iamweaver | May 6, 2010 12:49 PM

Maybe Mr. Light would have liked to nuke the oilwell...

Posted by: mixedbreed | May 6, 2010 10:56 AM

Who is this writer..bet his mother doesn't even know..has he managed anything in is life bigger than his ego???Bet that woman works 15 hour days just trying to keep up with an impossible job..

Posted by: dad4jn | May 6, 2010 10:46 AM

This column is a joke. The BP oil spill was not considered a "homeland security" issue in the least and comments to the contrary are disingenuous. If this were a homeland security issue I could see the critique. To say The Obama administration's response to the Gulf oil spill has been almost as confusing as the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 is also a complete non-sequiter. There have been no "good job Browny" moments as thousands of people are evacuated. The one was an natural disaster that was forcast, devistation was immediately known and a long standing federal agency that should have had an engagement policy was faulted. In this case, the spill was projected at 1/5-1/10 of actual volume known today and was initially discussed as a smaller leak that BP was getting under control. If you dislike Obama, talk about credible issues. This is not one of them. For other poster to band wagon about Holder, etc is not germaine to the article and speaks to overall inability to seperate the issue and response from your political view.

Posted by: cadam72 | May 6, 2010 10:25 AM

Tupac_Goldstein clearly isn't typical fear and smear quality. In his public postings and statements he seems in a fog, somehow disconnected from reality, while attempting to distort facts and spread false and ambiguous insinuations.

In sum, a perfect Rush Limbaugh selection for 'Conservative Hatemonger of the Week'. He does need to work on his Obama Derangement Syndrome. Learn from the Master Limbaugh.


Reagan made a real mistake when he let all the inmates out of the asylum.

Posted by: TightWhiteRight | May 6, 2010 10:20 AM

This is a waste of time and just spin. Can we talk about the real issues here? For PUBS to be screaming about the lack of efficient government response to a PRIVATE COMPANY just really shows their bona fide hypocrisy. I thought you PUBS wanted to let private companies have complete responsibility, liberty, as you say? Private industry knows best you say. So BP had their liberty and freedom and we got the worse oil spill in our nation's history. Government response? I'm sure the government was listening to BP tell them that they had it under control. Right?
Give me a break republicans. You are the worse hypocrites and liars I've ever seen. And this article has absolutely no facts, no references. This is like the worse kind of term paper. I give a F for failure to follow any facts. All spin.

Posted by: goldpitt | May 6, 2010 10:09 AM

Fro whatever reason BP did not have to file an impact statement.
Perhaps if they did it would have questions - such as, "What if there is a leak?!!??"
I't hard to be tough on BP when they are contributing so much to your coffers!! :-)

Posted by: thornegp2626 | May 6, 2010 10:02 AM

Secretary Napolitano is only part of a much larger problem. 3500 Schedule "C" political appointees that require no Senate confirmation is but one of the real problems. It is an abundance of these appointees who generally have no practical experience running anything except perhaps a phone bank for the candidate.

Many of the readers may not remember Janet Reno, who was President Clinton's Attorney General, and probably even fewer will remember that Eric Holder was the Deputy Attorney General. It was, in my opinion, Mr. Holder's job to manage AG Reno and he appeared to be very effective. However we are not debating AG Holder's role in the BP disaster.

Secretary Napolitano is first and foremost a political appointee who it seems is over her head and getting little support from her staff. She has little to no success in dealing with complex and difficult situations involving a number of agencies, all of whom are parochial in nature.

I would compare her to the former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Condolezza Rice. Ms. Rice could not get Sec Rumsfeld to even return her phone calls without an order from the President. Sec Rumsfeld and Sec Powell were at odds from the beginning over Iraq, and we all have seen the results of poor leadership in that instance.

What Mr. Light fails to take into account is the considerable oversight and direction from the White House into these matters. I suspect that Sec Napolitano is not a liberty to make many decisions on her own, without checking with the WH first. She then is handed a scripted response with the talking points designed to show the President in a favorable light: strong, aggressive, decisive, and thoughtful. Otherwise it's family time for her, and to pursue other opportunities.

Leadership begins at the top. Delegation of authority is absolutely necessary, but with that delegation must come with the ability to act independently and use whatever resources that are available. A leader or manager can always delegate responsibility, which is a cheap way of passing the buck, unless the proper authority is also delegated. Finally, leadership is selecting those individuals who have a proven ability and whom are capable of leading others to achieve whatever goal is tasked.

No, Secretary Napolitano may not possess those qualities, but the fault cannot lie at her doorstep alone.

Posted by: olddesert_rat | May 6, 2010 9:28 AM

Light, you are an idiot. I can't believe that the Post paid you for this article.

Posted by: oakiedokie | May 6, 2010 8:53 AM

Professor Light, good thing you already have tenure because your review committee would surely reject this article as poorly researched, no sources, no facts.

Other commenters have given the facts and cited the actual reports showing how DHS Secretary Napolitano has promptly done just what should have been done. For those who continue to trash her, the side-by-side headline with the oil spill, a disaster caused by private industry, is the thwarted Times Square bombing attempt. It seems to me that DHS Secretary Napolitano, federal and local law enforcement are doing a pretty good job.

Posted by: laelyn | May 6, 2010 8:52 AM

This is an odd piece. Numerous conclusions accompanied by almost no facts or even arguments. I hold no brief for Ms. Napolitano, but Dr Light's "conclusions" are not self-validating. So far as I can see the confusion and the delay were about 1% of those we saw in Katrina. That is more understandable here because BP is the party charged by law with fixing things, not DHS.
I know Dr. Light slightly and I know his reputation more. The latter is tarnished by this near hatchet job.

Posted by: djah | May 6, 2010 8:23 AM

Pork barrel politics. The pickle factory is busy and buying vinegar by the barrel. You are helping or hurting. The Post is always helpful because that's business by the barrel.

Posted by: tossnokia | May 6, 2010 6:34 AM

Way,Way,Way below her Pay Grade !!!

This is what one gets when trying to be Politically Correct !!!

Just like with the Liar in Chief, did not have the experience for the job !!!

This and POTUS is NOT a job for OJT !!!

Posted by: thgirbla | May 6, 2010 3:19 AM

Mr. Light:
Sorry, no cigar for you.
I'm amazed at the detailed defenses brought to bear in support of Secretary Napolitano in this comment thread.
And those defending her are correct.
Your complaints have no validity.
Secretary Napolitano has carried the intense load of oversight with strength and confidence.
What you are trying to accomplish is the same thing that Rush Limbaugh seeks to accomplish:
A pathetic attempt to compel failure on the Obama Administration.
And with that failure, what you don't seem to understand is that such a failure will provoke failure of the nation as a whole.
The last thing we need at a time like this.
Janet Napolitano is doing a fine job in a massive management assignment.
In my opinion.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | May 5, 2010 11:16 PM

There was not a single reference to gender in Mr. Light's comments, but even in their absence Katem1 found them abundant anyway. And no, kate, taking over the primary leadership role from the Coast Guard is not socialism, it would have been the act of a real leader, which as Mr. Light shows, Janet Napolitano is not.

Posted by: infuse | May 5, 2010 10:44 PM

so what is Light really saying here? Would a man do a better job? BIG difference between this man-made disaster and Katrina, and wouldn't it have been "socialist" to have taken over BP's mess?

Posted by: katem1 | May 5, 2010 10:20 PM

No one has ever capped a blowout 5000 feet under the ocean in a long, leaky pipe that is waving back and forth under the oil pressure and has multiple holes in it.

The first thing that happens is they have to rely on BP and the well operator to tell them what happened, what went wrong, and what is the situation because the government does not operate these wells.

The first response was to save the workers from a burning rig, then try to put out the fires on the rig....which only happened because the rig sank.

Probably gas was coming up the pipe, encountered a spark or enough friction to ignite, and Kaboom! The pipe blew from top to bottom.

Posted by: AlanGoldberg54 | May 5, 2010 10:01 PM

Well at last Ms Napolitano we have a real "man created disaster"......but of course it doesn't appear to be terrorist related -- oops, I forgot that the Obama administration doesn't like to use the words terrorist or terrorism.......use Ms Napolitano to help plug the oil leak

Posted by: hbw2000 | May 5, 2010 9:57 PM

Napolitano clearly isn't leadership quality. In her public appearances and statements she seems in a fog, somehow disconnected from reality, while attempting to deny the facts.

In sum, a perfect Obama selection for Secretary of DHS. She does need to work on the Blame Game. Learn from the Master.

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | May 5, 2010 9:55 PM

So this right winger is saying the government did not intervene forcefully enough nor fast enough?

...In a private industry accident?


As a point of fact the Coast Guard was out there pretty fast and the administration has sent inspection teams to other wells as well.

Posted by: AlanGoldberg54 | May 5, 2010 9:55 PM

Napolitano Nibs:

"Illegal immigration is not illegal"

"The system worked" regarding the underwear bomber who had to be subdued by a passenger.

In response to Sen. Graham's question: Is the border safe? Napolitano reply "That's not a fair question".

Where did they get this lady? And she is a candidate for Supreme Court Justice?

Meanwhile Obama has not a clue how to run this country.

Posted by: hz9604 | May 5, 2010 9:30 PM

These rights wing nuts need to get of Obama's back and take cyanide poison for the country to move on. Hey nuts use Palin and Baucmann to plug the oil well leak.

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Posted by: joanlin73 | May 5, 2010 9:23 PM

Halliburton who? And the #1 recipient of BP political contributions is (drumroll)....

While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they’ve taken from the oil and gas giant over the years.

BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations come from a mix of employees and the company’s political action committees — $2.89 million flowed to campaigns from BP-related PACs and about $638,000 came from individuals.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/36783.html#ixzz0n6ek9OMw

5/5/2010 8:59:40 PM

Posted by: prossers7 | May 5, 2010 9:20 PM

Let me get this straight. Events happen, the government responds the best they can with what they have. If mistakes are made, hopefully officials learn from them and act accordingly.

So what's the problem, besides the fact you're a member of the opposing party?

Posted by: miden1 | May 5, 2010 9:16 PM

Paul Light is just another republican like limbaugh who twist the truth and sometimes outright lie to discredit ANY democratic person, but hey, that's what republicans do. They care nothing about America, only their own greedy agenda.

Posted by: sammsammus | May 5, 2010 9:09 PM

Paul Light is a little light on facts, reason, or logic. I smell agenda here. You and NYU should be embarrassed.

We wants our freedom and get the gov'nment out of our business and take back our rights yada yada yada unless.....................

Your gay, brown, black, non-christian or something really big has happened, then the gov'nment needs to protect us - oh, and then we'll take away their citizenship but allow them to keep guns.

Is that about right Paul?

Posted by: mjcc1987 | May 5, 2010 8:48 PM

Napolitano has shown her ability to minimize a problem vs effectively dealing with it.

At this point, I don't know if she was doing all she could at "day one" with the oil spill but perception speaks volumes and she comes across as incompetent. Add this to her "other work" as head of Homeland Security and she is a disaster for the country. This may be what Obama wants but as head of Homeland Security, but as a leader, she needs to go.

Posted by: debmat511 | May 5, 2010 8:45 PM

Blah, blah reporting - or editorializing. Either way, blah blah, no examples.

Posted by: therev1 | May 5, 2010 8:38 PM

I take her over that malnourished looking Chertoff any day!

Posted by: dove369 | May 5, 2010 8:33 PM

I see a lot of blame here, but no actual mention of what was done wrong or what could have been done better.
Posted by: upnorth3

Exactly. What was Neapolitano supposed to tell the Coast Guard to do in the first week? The Coast Guard had to rely on information from BP, they acted appropriately when you look at the details of the evolving situation.

Just an idiotic opinion piece.

Posted by: HuckFinn | May 5, 2010 8:18 PM

Based on the news from day one, this column is a joke. The really say thing is that this joke has legs with the birthers, the death-panelists, and all the rest of the conspiracy theorists.

Posted by: EarlC | May 5, 2010 8:10 PM

What sluggish response? The deputy secretary of the interior and the National Response Team was on the job the day after the explosion. If there was a Tea Party president in office, they would have kept the government off BP's back, let the free market work its' magic, and the oil slick would be halfway around the world by now.

Step away from radical partisanship for a second and look at reality. A hugely profitable corporation caused a natural disaster because the Bush administration didn't want to burden oil companies with big-government regulation. There isn't a single part of that you can blame on the Obama administration.

Posted by: jonmiller1 | May 5, 2010 8:06 PM

What a joke of an opinion piece. So many factual errors. Who is this clown? WaPo needs to vet their columnists better.

Posted by: illiad1 | May 5, 2010 8:02 PM

I see a lot of blame here, but no actual mention of what was done wrong or what could have been done better.

Here are some facts according the timeline provided by the White House (I'm assuming the white house has documentation to back this up):

1. The national disaster here is not that the rig exploded but the fact that there was a massive oil leak.
2. The explosion was on TUESDAY and by the end of the day the government had deployed two Coast Guard cutters, four helicopters and one rescue plane.
3. On WEDNESDAY morning Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar deployed Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes to the Gulf Coast to assist with coordination and response to the event, and provide hourly reports to Secretary Salazar.
4. On THURSDAY the Coast Guard conducted overflights and multiple unsuccessful dives were made with remote operated marine vehicles to find the wellhead. NO LEAK WAS APPARENT.
no one knew there was oil leaking till Saturday morning.
5.On FRIDAY the rig was found— an oil sheen was reported with approximately 8,400 gallons estimated on the water and there was NO APPARENT LEAK WAS DISCOVERED.
6. On SATURDAY OIL WAS FOUND TO BE LEAKING FOR THE FIRST TIME—one leak from the riser and one leak from the drill pipe. The Coast Guard elevated the response and established a Regional Command Center and Joint Information Center in Robert, La., inviting all partners in the response to join.

Now, tell me what the Administration was to do about a leak that apparently didn't exist until Saturday? Tell us exactly what you wanted the administration to do given the facts above.

You say the Coast Guard report to Napolitano - well between Tuesday and Friday the Coast Guard reported to Napolitano and other Administration officials that THERE WERE NO LEAKS. Did you want the Napolitano to fly out and inspect the rig herself? Don't spout this nonsense without assessing the facts of the case.

Posted by: upnorth3 | May 5, 2010 7:54 PM

So I guess Paul Light is imagining the following:

Coast Guard: ...and so, although the oil drilling site does not appear to be leaking oil.

Napolitano: Are you sure?

Coast Guard: Yes, that is what the reports on the scene say.

Napolitano: But I had a dream this morning where Paul Light came back in time and said there is really a leak. You'd better begin a new drilling operation to block the pipe that you just said isn't leaking. It'll only take three months.

Oh, and I'm moving into a tent. Don't worry, I'm bringing three TV cameras and a Blackberry.


Yeah, that's leadership. You'd think Light would be ordered to apologize for this nonsense, but of course it's all just entertainment.

Posted by: Hopeful9 | May 5, 2010 7:54 PM

Wait, first conservatives wnat government off our backs and leave everything to the open market. Now they want the government to do everything and let the market off. Obama took BP at its word that it was handling the situation, but BP did not tell the truth. Now, it's Obama's fault that he believed in private industry and should have set up an immediate government takeover. Can conservatives get any more foolish?

Posted by: mikel7 | May 5, 2010 7:53 PM

Just please don't send her back to Arizona. Even a cursory review of her handling of homeland security in Arizona would have revealed she was unqualified.


Arizona Aud

Posted by: pepperjade | May 5, 2010 7:43 PM

Hum, sounds like a bit of GOP carping to me...What exactly do you blame her for? The Obama administration, for a short while, took the oil industry at it's word that they had everything under control. Within a very short time, qualified and capable (versus "Good Job Brownie") were dispatched to the area. When it became apparent that Trans Ocean and BP were inept they stepped in to try and mitigate the damage...which, btw the way, should never occurred if solid regulations had been in place...The GOP is freakin' out because Obama is adept at handling a terrorist attack, a flood in Nashville, a looming disaster, two Bush initiated wars and a Bush initiated recession at the same time...and calmly and correctly...We are a better country with the Obama administration in charge.

Posted by: TNbybirth | May 5, 2010 7:42 PM

You all are just plain foolish. The perfect response to this event would have resulted in the same thing so far. People really need to reevaluate their lives if they are spending significant parts of them handwringing this issue.

What has the government failed at, exactly? Cleanup? Laying booms? Mobilizing people? No. No. No.

Posted by: steveboyington | May 5, 2010 7:28 PM

All the Obama supporters, need to re-evaluate, the forthcoming size, of the new and improved, US government. Big corporations fail, because they become unmanageable, big Banks, get so big no one knows what they are doing, Banks cannot even keep their schemes straight. No one really cares what happens to big Banks, or Big corporations. We do care what happens to our environment and our jobs.The government, as we know is dysfunctional, as this article alludes to. When the state controls everything it will become increasingly dysfunctional. Watch. I hope BP does not ask for a bail out, the Brits cannot afford it.

Posted by: dangreen3 | May 5, 2010 7:08 PM

This article is crap. Banking reform is not in Homeland Security purview. Interior Sect'y and EPA should have been all over the oil catastrophe in the the gulf.

Posted by: Dave415 | May 5, 2010 6:38 PM

Yet another crisis has occurred, which means we must identify another group of stumbling, bumbling federal idiots to blame. The American way. The only constant is that another crisis will surely occur sometime in the future and other heads of state will be staked to the cross for it. Go ahead and write the headlines now. We can fill in the blanks later. Why people take these positions amazes me.

Napolitano aside, the real blame lies with BP and those lower level fed officials that signed off on the safety plan for oil drilling in 5,000 ft of seawater, for which it is obvious there was no adequate plan for blowout safety. We are way too lax in our regulatory oversight in every sector of our economy.

Okay, so the white house was a bit slow out of the gate. What can they do here? Stand along the shore and hold hands with the fisherman?

We act like a throng of lazy teenagers. We want total independence from government influence but none of the responsibilities of cleaning up our own messes. If anyone gets the firing squad in my book it's BP. They took the shortcuts so they can pay the price and clean it up.

Posted by: citizen4truth1 | May 5, 2010 6:32 PM

Janet is about as qualified to run the DHS as my 5 year old niece is able to run a company like General Motors.
She is totally useless and has proven this time after time when near disasters hit the USA.
Her brains are fried, if she ever had any.
She needs to go big time and Obama needs to start thinking about the idiots he appoints to major positions.

Posted by: JimW2 | May 5, 2010 6:32 PM

Our gov't intelligence agency is the same as before 9/11. They are just ignorance as hell. We might as well keep our eyes open and notify them that the terrorist is in front of them. They are clueless and incompetent. Don't count our gov't do anything constructive other than know how to spend your tax dollars.

Posted by: drkly | May 5, 2010 6:29 PM

Day One!

Posted by: deadmanwalking | May 5, 2010 6:20 PM

"Technically, however, Napolitano was not responsible for the federal government's initial response. The Coast Guard has that job under federal law. If the buck stops anywhere, it is with the Coast Guard's on-scene coordinator who is free to ask for any help at any time."

This is not a "technicality", you state she is not "responsible" and then tell us she should resign? What the heck are you talking about?

Posted by: rc95959 | May 5, 2010 6:17 PM

Janet Napolitano is as qualified to be DHS Secretary as Charlie Weis was to be ND football coach. No, that's not a compliment.

Posted by: joeshabadoo2391 | May 5, 2010 6:10 PM

I was on my own when I suggested that Chertoff remain head of DHS. Simple argument was continuity. Mueller is still Director of FBI maintaining continuity at that agency to this day, right ?

An employer decided not to fire an employee who cost the company 100k (big bucks back in the day) because the employer said that spending 100k to educate his employee would have gone to waste if the employee was terminated. That story partially motivated me to support Chertoff in public. The rest of the story, I won't discuss right now suffice to say most of that story is contained within Congressional records today.

Politics took Chertoff out as he was perceived as a liability to the incoming Obama administration. I don't know if Chertoff wanted to stick around but DHS is a very young agency still needing guidance as well as being on top of their game 24/7.

Oh well, sh@@ happens ? We'll just have to wait-n-see.

Posted by: truthhurts | May 5, 2010 6:03 PM

Lezzie Napolitano Should Go " I'll go you one better, she should never have been there in the first place. Here you have a broad who isn't capable of crossing a busy steet by herself, and Jug-ears makes her Sec. of Homeland Security . Whos next on his payoff list. Mickey Mouse in charge of the Feed Stores ?

Posted by: puck-101 | May 5, 2010 5:36 PM

At this point, I'm not sure it's Napolitano (or Brown) as much as it's the entire DHS. Face it, the underwear bomber was stopped by the fact that he couldn't make a bomb. The Times Square bomb was defused thanks to some hot dog vendors and local cops/firefighters. Going back to the Bush administration, you have the Katrina response.

What is the point of DHS? Do they really do anything to make component departments work more efficiently?

Posted by: dkp01 | May 5, 2010 5:28 PM

Napolitano makes absolutely no sense.
Her name cannot be used in sentence with the words "Safety for American citizens",

The disease Queen Janet might apply for a job in Mexico with their President in the contraband exporter business, and be liked.


Hmmm Hmmm Hmm not so much.

Posted by: dottydo | May 5, 2010 5:27 PM

Also, what specifically could have been done to contain the BP spill?

It is BP's responsibility NOT the White House.

Posted by: maritza1 | May 5, 2010 5:22 PM

Actually if you read the 6000 word page put out by the White House on what was done each day during the BP spill, I don't think that the administration was slow what's so ever.

Read the whole report please.

Posted by: maritza1 | May 5, 2010 5:20 PM

not only does napilitano have to go so does eric holder.these two do not have any idea what is going on in the country.last week holder told us the times square bomb scare was not a terrorist attack,and tha fool napilitano has to take her head out of the hair dryer it burnt up her brain cells.

Posted by: SISSD1 | May 5, 2010 3:05 PM

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