DHS Follies

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on April 17, 2009

The Department of Homeland Security released its recent report on “right-wing extremism” before the i’s were dotted and the t’s were crossed, according to this report. One naturally is led to wonder who is running the show at the Department:

Homeland Security spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said the report was issued before officials resolved problems raised by the agency’s civil rights division. Kudwa would not specify what language raised the concerns.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano defended the report Thursday, but she said the definition of right-wing extremism that was included in a footnote should be changed.

In the report, right-wing extremism was defined as hate-motivated groups and movements, such as hatred of certain religions, racial or ethnic groups. “It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,” the report said.

“If there’s one part of that report I would rewrite, in the word-smithing, Washington-ese that goes on after the fact, it would be that footnote,” Napolitano said Thursday on Fox News.

This defies belief. How many more reports will issue from DHS without having been sufficiently “word-smithed”? Why are political hand grenades being tossed out into the general public without sufficient oversight and authorization? Why does it feel like there is no leadership at DHS these days?

If this is the kind of trouble that Secretary Napolitano has over a simple report, one shudders to think of how much trouble she might have or encounter if–God forbid–a real calamity struck with which she and DHS had to contend. Based on her performance over the report on extremism, can we really be confident that she can handle tougher assignments and crises that come her way?

Previous post:

Next post: