In an interview with CNN’s John King, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano continued to defend the indefensible, heap on the insulting insinuations and take a revisionist approach to U.S. Immigration law.
King helpfully (and as predictably as the rising sun) set the defensive-field for Napolitano – effectively telling her where the soft-pitch would be going:
KING: Fourteen years ago today on this morning, Americans were shocked by a tragedy in Oklahoma City. The first time -- there was no Department of Homeland Security -- the first time many Americans used the term or heard the term "homeland security." And people in that city will gather today, and I believe we have a live picture of it, for a commemoration marking the 14th anniversary.
As we reflect on that day 14 years ago, it is your job now to keep that from happening again. Are we at a greater risk of domestic terrorism events like that today or lesser?
Aaand … Step-two-three-four, remember-to-watch-the-feet-on-the-floor…
NAPOLITANO: I think we're at a greater state of readiness. The threat of terrorism, whether from a foreign source or domestic sources, is now just -- it's with us. We have to acknowledge that. We have to minimize the risk of it and we have to be ready to deal with it. And I think, with the Department of Homeland Security, all the changes that have occurred since Oklahoma City, since 9/11, there has been improvement.(See that last bit? Any bets on whether CNN buries that before someone realizes she’s talking about “improvements in Homeland Security during the Bush Administration?)
King winds up, checks for the ‘Go-sign’ from Napolitano, and lobs it across…
KING: As you know, a recent report from your department raised a lot of eyebrows (chopping this “question” for brevity – you already know what he’s talking about – if not, go HERE - MD)….
Is being replicated today? You have active intelligence that tells you people coming back from Iraq, coming back from Afghanistan, who might be mad at the military, who might simply have post-traumatic stress disorder are being actively recruited by extremist groups?
NAPOLITANO: Certainly. And our department is not the only department that has made that comment. The FBI has made the same comment; other groups have made the same comment.
Indeed – the FBI ‘launched’ their ‘nationwide operation targeting white supremacists and "militia/sovereign-citizen extremist groups," – outlining their initiative back in February, but careful to included reference to “focusing on Veterans” back in December, so that some part of it can be said to have occurred during the Bush administration – that both the FBI initiative and the rushed-past-the-lawyers DHS report both came into existence within the ‘First 100 Days’ are, of course, pure coincidence.
Keep in mind that whenever you hear Napolitano nebulously refer to “other groups” in this context, she’s referring to the Southern Poverty Law Center – a group that considers the American legion to be a greater evil than illegal immigration – so as they say, ‘consider the source’
Oh, but wait – here’s the part where Napolitano tries to shift away from being anti-conservative/military…
NAPOLITANO: Here is the important point. The report is not saying that veterans are extremists.
Far from it.
What it is saying is returning veterans are targets of right-wing extremist groups that are trying to recruit those to commit violent acts within the country. We want to do all we can to prevent that.
OOoooh, I see…
So it’s NOT that veterans are extremists!
It’s that they’re weak-minded rubes who are likely to be lured into committing violent acts against the same country they’ve foolishly volunteered to defend in the past!
Of course! “Targets”! Soft-headed victims!
After all, coming from the military, it’s already obvious that they’re that special blend of “explosion-addicted-thrill-killer” and “chronic-follower” that would just be floating adrift among their civilian-betters , just waiting for someone to give them the ‘Green Light’ for another ‘Oklahoma City’.
As a quick aside – in the face of all of the recurring “this is just like the 90’s” theme, someone (a great many ‘someones’ in fact) seems to have left out that the most glaring similarity between then and now is the election of a president with both an extremely low opinion of the US military and a desire to enact draw-downs in spite of increasing global threats to our country from abroad.
I may be out here on my own with this, but I find it …strange… that such stellar ‘experts’ in link analysis should miss that one.
NAPOLITANO: That's why the Obama administration wants to work with returning vets and make sure they've got healthcare, education opportunities, job opportunities, all the like so that they do not become a target of these extremist groups.
‘Because the-FSM-knows that the military doesn’t afford education or the kind of experience that would parlay into job opportunities!’
I can’t decide whether I’m impressed or disappointed that she left out “bitterly clinging to their guns and religion.”
Okay – I’ve got several really good Napolitano-isms from this interview, and The Monster is already going to be vexed with me over ‘going long’ so, moving on - here’s the next one.
KING: Who are these groups? Do you have active investigations of anti-immigration groups or anti-abortion groups, you believe that they are preparing to conduct terrorist attacks?
NAPOLITANO: Well, without going into ongoing work, let's just point out to history. And we'll take the abortion, for example. Of course, people have different points of view about abortion. The last thing the Department of Homeland Security is about is infringing on anybody's constitutionally protected rights. On the other hand, at the very edge of the debate, at the very edge are the extremist groups that have committed violent crimes. They've committed bombings and the like.
Okay leaving aside that she doesn’t *EVER* seem to be able to give a straight answer to this question, no matter how many times it’s asked… Whatever happened to ‘abandoning the politics of fear’ – “They’ve committed Bombings”?
Eric Rudolph, last time I checked, was the quintessential ‘lone-gunman’ – I don’t recall the Feds chasing a ‘terrorist group’ into the Appalachian mountains.
In fact, while the past 30-odd years since Roe v. Wade has certainly had its share of anti-abortion violence, each and every instance has been committed by lone whack-jobs, acting on their own initiative – in fact, unless you’re referring to the “Army of God” (the fake-anthrax-letter-threatening terrorist group) ...
Or the “American Coalition of Life Activists” (the non-specifically-threatening-website terrorist group), I’d really like it if someone would chime in and point out some abortion-focused domestic terrorist groups…. It’s okay, take your time – I’ll wait.
From the Department of Homeland Transparency…
KING: A controversial decision this past week to make public top-secret memos from the Bush administration about the interrogation tactics, about waterboarding, about slamming people into walls, tactics that make you recoil when you read them. There's a big debate, though. Even the current CIA director, Leon Panetta, did not want them made public. He thought that was not fair to the people in the intelligence community. You were in those meetings. What was your vote, and do you see any harm in releasing them?
NAPOLITANO: Well, I think the content of those meetings is for the actual participants. But I think the release of them is very consistent with what President Obama said during the campaign and how he is conducting his government. It's about transparency. It's about accountability. And he released them.
I’m not going long here about the obvious problems with this, or even about how the release of these memos, at this time, is so obviously a ploy at ‘Look! Pretty-Shiny! Be Distracted!’
All I’m going to say is this: “If the release of this information is so vitally important, then so is the release of an accounting of the terrorist operations that were successfully disrupted as a result of said interrogation.”
If ‘comprehensive transparency’ is so important – then give us ‘comprehensive transparency’ – don’t throw out sparkly baubles and call it ‘transparency'.
I know I’m going on here – but this interview is just a treasure-trove of enlightenment in the form of non-answers to straight-forward questions, like “Are we more, or less, safe?”:
KING: Vice President Cheney, … said, because of the changes your boss, the president of the United States, is making in anti-terror policies and that you are implementing, that the American people are less safe, in his view.
Can you look the American people in the eye this morning and say not only is he wrong, which I assume the administration would say, but that the Americans are more safe because of the changes?
NAPOLITANO: I can look you in the eye, I can look the American people in the eye and say, every day we think about the safety of the American people. We think about protection from terrorist acts abroad, we think about protection from terrorist acts internally. We believe that you don't need a Guantanamo to improve the safety of the American people and to minimize the risk of terrorist acts.
I’m pretty good at this reading-comprehension thing, but for the life of me, I just can’t find the answer to his question in there – and I would think that any Obama-appointee would jump at the chance to shout “Cheney’s Wrong!”
... but she won’t.
Wrapping it up now – and with my favorite anti-illegal-immigration guy: Sheriff Joe Arpaio
KING: A lot of Democrats in Congress want to you investigate him. They think he is over the line. He says he is just enforcing the law and the problem is the federal government.
NAPOLITANO: Well, you know, Sheriff Joe, he is being very political in that statement, because he knows that there aren't enough law enforcement officers, courtrooms or jail cells in the world to do what he is saying.
What we have to do is target the real evil-doers in this business, the employers who consistently hire illegal labor, the human traffickers who are exploiting human misery.
And yes, when we find illegal workers, yes, appropriate action, some of which is criminal, most of that is civil, because crossing the border is not a crime per se. It is civil. But anyway, going after those as well.
So we have a Secretary of Homeland Security who either thinks that illegally “crossing the border is not a crime per se.” OR is really, truly gifted at word parsing.
US Code – Title8, Chapter12, SubCh2, Part8 § 1325. Improper entry by alien
(a) Improper time or place; avoidance of examination or inspection; misrepresentation and concealment of facts
Any alien who
(1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or
(2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or
(3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.
(b) Improper time or place; civil penalties
Any alien who is apprehended while entering (or attempting to enter) the United States at a time or place other than as designated by immigration officers shall be subject to a civil penalty of—
(1) at least $50 and not more than $250 for each such entry (or attempted entry); or
(2) twice the amount specified in paragraph (1) in the case of an alien who has been previously subject to a civil penalty under this subsection.
Civil penalties under this subsection are in addition to, and not in lieu of, any criminal or other civil penalties that may be imposed.
Last time I checked, a legal punishment of “Imprisonment + Fines” = “Crime”
Although, if you strictly apply her phrasing – she could technically be correct.
“Crossing the border” is not a crime per se…
Crossing the border “to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, eluding examination or inspection by immigration officers, or
attempting to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact”
… now that is a crime.
Conveniently, she didn’t say that though, did she?
Most. Transparent. Government. Ever.
God help us.