Napolitano's inconsistent statements on "the system worked"

Just yesterday DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano claimed that the attempt to blow up the Amsterdam-Detroit flight this week demonstrated that "the system worked." On NBC's Today Show this morning she claimed that her comment was taken out of context, and that she agreed that the system "failed miserably." Unfortunately for Ms. Napolitano, the explanation that she gave for being quoted out of context made little sense.

In her interview this morning, she claimed that her reference to the system working just dealt with how security responded after the attack had been thwarted.

MATT LAUER: . . . You made a comment over the weekend and I want to call attention to that because a lot of people are disagreeing with it this morning. You talked about this incident aboard this Northwest flight and you said "when it came right down to it, the system worked." A lot of people don't think the system worked at all, that the only thing that prevented disaster was luck. Can you respond to that?

JANET NAPOLITANO: Sure, I think the comment is being taken out of context. What I'm saying is that once the incident occurred, moving forward, we were immediately able to notify the 128 flights in the air of protective measures to take, immediately able to notify law enforcement on the ground, airports both domestically, internationally, all carriers, all of that happening within 60 to 90 minutes, so --

LAUER: So you're only talking about what happened after this man tried to ignite this explosive device on the plane.


But Napolitano's comments yesterday were not just about the aftermath of the attack:

"What we are focused on is making sure that the air environment remains safe, that people are confident when they travel. And one thing I'd like to point out is that the system worked. Everybody played an important role here. The passengers and crew of the flight took appropriate action. . . ."

It is hardly obvious why the actions taken after the attempted attack should assure us that travelers should be "confident." Nor is it obvious that the heroic actions taken by a passenger, Jasper Schuringa, who stopped the bombing were part of some great design. Schuringa put out the fire with his bear hands while he was screaming for someone to give him water.

Unfortunately, Matt Lauer didn't call Ms. Napolitano on the inconsistencies in her statements.

UPDATE: Joe Lieberman seems to buy Napolitano's claim that her statement was simply misunderstood:

"She came to the job with tremendous experience - federal prosecutor, state attorney general, governor. She's done a good job," Lieberman said on ABC. "I agree with Senator Collins, and I'm sure Secretary Napolitano agrees with us, too....Some of the choice of words last Sunday were subject to misunderstanding, and they've been badly misunderstood."

Senator Susan Collins was more accurate;

Asked if Collins had confidence in Napolitano, the senator said, "I do, but I will say that her initial comments were bizarre and inappropriate."

"It baffled me that she said that the system worked very, very smoothly, when clearly it did not," Collins said. "It also surprised me when she implied that there was not information to indicate that this individual posed a threat when there was information." . . .



Blogger Clark Kent said...

Jasper Schuringa should be awarded a hero's medal for becoming the first surviving "Let's Roll" volunteer to stop a mid-air disaster in its tracks. Unfortunately, he will probly be added to the gubmint's no-fly list as a "reckless individual who poses a threat to other passengers and a liability to the airlines and a political embarrassment to Janet Napolitano, etc. etc.

Plus he'll likely be sued by someone, perhaps one of the passengers he climbed over to get to the terrorist, thereby staining or tearing the expensive clothing the climbed-over passenger was wearing - or, horror of horrors, causing the passenger to suffer irremedial trauma, scratches, bruising and other as-yet undetermined tortious injury.

12/28/2009 12:50 PM  
Blogger Dann's Bookshelf said...

I suppose Janet would say the system worked if an ambulance showed up after a car crash, or the fire department showed up after the house had burnt to the ground, or the police show up after a man is murdered.

Reminds me of a quote from the movie Animal House back in the 70s...

“But Delta’s already on probation.”
“They are? Well, as of this moment, they’re on DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION!”

Maybe Janet can start a "TRIPLE SECRET PROBATION" program.

12/28/2009 1:08 PM  
Blogger Chas said...

Napolitano's claim that "the system worked" is a grotesque, self-serving, politically motivated lie that has no resemblance to reality. In fact, the system failed. So did Napolitano, because she couldn't tell the difference. Resignation time.

12/28/2009 7:50 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home