Many were surprised at Janet Napolitano’s announcement that she will leave her position as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at the end of August to become president of the University of California. Chosen from more than 300 candidates vying for the position, Napolitano managed to keep her interest in that position, and her successful bid for it, from the public until Friday.
She issued the usual departure appreciation statement:
I thank President Obama for the chance to serve our nation during this important chapter in our history. And I know the Department of Homeland Security will continue to perform its important duties with the honor and focus that the American public expects.
In response the president issued his dutiful reply:
Since day one, Janet has led my administration’s effort to secure our borders, deploying a historic number of resources, while also taking steps to make our immigration system fairer and more consistent with our values.
And the American people are safe and more secure thanks to Janet’s leadership in protecting our homeland against terrorist attacks.
Senator Jeff Sessions, (R-Ala.), saw things just a little differently: Napolitano’s tenure has been marked “by a consistent disrespect for the rule of law,” he observed.
Almost from her first day in office Napolitano failed to grasp the difference between truth and falsehood. Taking office in January 2009, she stoked controversy and an angry response from the Canadian ambassador when she incorrectly claimed that the September 11, 2001 attackers had entered the United States from Canada. When caught, she demurred without apology:
To the extent that terrorists have come into our country … across a border, it’s been across the Canadian border. There are real issues there.
Michael Wilson, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, angrily corrected Napolitano:
All of the 9/11 terrorists arrived in the United States from outside North America. They flew to major U.S. airports. They entered the U.S. with documents issued by the United States government, and no 9/11 terrorists came from Canada.
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Photo of Janet Napolitano: AP Images