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Codey: Nation Needs Security Experience, Not Political Appointees

Acting Governor Calls on Janet Napolitano to resign as Secretary of Homeland Security

TRENTON – Acting Governor and New Jersey Senate President Richard J. Codey today issued the following statement calling on federal Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to resign her post, and make way for a more experienced law enforcement official to take the reins of the nation’s Office of Homeland Security:

“The recent revelations regarding the attempted terrorist plot to take down a Northwest Airlines flight into Detroit on Christmas Day has underscored for me and many other Americans the fact that current Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is not the right person for the job.

“Whether it was a string of missed red flags leading up to the Christmas attack by attempted bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, or the lack of answers after the attack, Secretary Napolitano did not demonstrate that she had a handle on the job at hand.

“We need someone in charge of the nation’s Office of Homeland Security with strong law enforcement and counterterrorism experience, who will be able to hit the ground running and ensure mistakes like the ones surrounding the attempted Christmas Day terrorist plot are never allowed to happen again.

“To add insult to injury, Secretary Napolitano, in public statements after the attack has said, ‘I think the important thing to recognize here is that once this incident occurred, everything happened that should have.’ She defended her lack of preparation by saying that the incident onboard Flight 253 was precisely what her Office trained and planned for, and that the system worked. I don’t think the 300 people onboard the plane at the time would agree, and it was by pure luck, not training, that tragedy was averted.

“It’s time for Secretary Napolitano to consider stepping down and make way for a more experienced person to lead the nation’s response to homeland security.

“Ms. Napolitano’s résumé, while impressive for any other cabinet post, simply doesn’t have the law enforcement experience needed to properly run the Office of Homeland Security. At a time when we’re fighting a global war on terror, we need a counterterrorism professional running the Office of Homeland Security, not a well-meaning – but ultimately underqualified – political appointee.

“In New Jersey, we’ve seen firsthand the cost of terrorism from the September 11 attacks, and we’ve been rightfully outraged over political appointees involved in our own State’s security and anti-terrorism efforts. We live in dangerous times, and we cannot afford mistakes when it comes to State or federal homeland security decisions.

Acting Governor Codey also released a letter, sent to Secretary Napolitano and President Obama, urging her to resign so that a more experienced person could be appointed.