The American Kafir

Who is Janet Napolitano?

Who is Janet Napolitano?

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  • Attorney who represented Anita Hill in 1991, when the latter testified (before the U.S. Senate) that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her a decade earlier
  • Was appointed by President Clinton to be United States Attorney for the District of Arizona in 1993
  • Was elected governor of Arizona in 2002, and was reelected four years later
  • Was named as U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security by President-elect Barack Obama in November 2008

Born in November 1957 in New York City, Janet Ann Napolitano was raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Santa Clara University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law. In 1991, while a partner with the private Phoenix law firm Lewis and Roca LLP, Napolitano provided legal representation for Anita Hill as the latter testified, before the U.S. Senate, that Clarence Thomas, whom President George H.W. Bush had nominated to serve as a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, had sexually harassed her a decade earlier when she was Thomas’ subordinate at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Napolitano to be United States Attorney for the District of Arizona. In 2002 Napolitano ran successfully as the Democratic Party candidate for Arizona governor. She was reelected four years later. In November 2008, President-elect Barack Obama named Napolitano for the post of U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.

As Arizona governor, Napolitano in 2003 vetoed House Bill 2345, which was designed to curb voter fraud by requiring voters to present a driver’s license or two forms of identification when casting their ballots. According to Napolitano, such a law would disenfranchise “poor voters” and thus would violate the civil rights of legal Latino citizens. She also supported a proposal to grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.

In August 2005 Napolitano took a measure ostensibly intended to curb illegal immigration, declaring a “state of emergency” along Arizona’s border with Mexico, a move that cleared the way for the National Guard to block illegal entry into the United States. In July 2007, she signed an employer-sanctions law that made it a crime for businesses to hire illegal immigrants.

But as Republican State Senator Linda Gray noted, “The legislature appropriated money for our National Guard to be at the border and [Napolitano] did not use the funds.” “The major reason she signed the employer-sanction bill,” Gray added, “was because she didn’t want the harsher initiative that was headed for the ballot…. That is hardly someone who is tough on immigration.”

Governor Napolitano supported a Senate bill that, if it had passed, effectively would have granted amnesty to illegal immigrants. Moreover, she vetoed a state bill that would have required police to enforce federal immigration laws, calling it “unnecessary.”

During her first few weeks as DHS Secretary in 2009, Napolitano’s stance on illegal immigration was mixed. On the one hand, she announced her intent to redeploy more than 360 additional officers and agents to the area near the U.S.-Mexico border. She also pledged to supply border-control agents with biometric identification equipment and mobile X-ray units to help them do their job. On the other hand, she delayed a series of proposed immigration raids and other enforcement actions at U.S. workplaces, asking agents in her department to exercise greater sensitivity in their selection and investigation of targets as well as the timing of their raids.

In early 2009 Napolitano claimed that “70 percent of the weapons in the hands of the [Mexican] drug cartels are coming from the U.S.” Contrary to that assertion, however, more than two-thirds of the guns recovered at Mexican crime scenes are never even sent to the U.S. for tracing, because their markings make it obvious that they originated from somewhere else. Moreover, a large number of the recovered weapons lack serial numbers entirely and thus cannot be traced to any location. In the final analysis, a mere 17 percent of all the guns in question can actually be traced to America.

In April 2009, Napolitano’s DHS released a report warning that “rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues” such as “the economic downturn,” “the election of the first African American president,” and “the possible passage of new restrictions on firearms.” Particularly susceptible to recruitment, added the report, were military veterans (returning from Iraq and Afghanistan) who faced “significant challenges reintegrating into their communities.” The report summarized:

“Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

From her earliest days as the head of DHS, Napolitano broke with the Department’s tradition of warning the American public about potential terrorist threats. Instead, Napolitano refers to acts of terrorism as “man-caused disasters.” In a 2009 interview with Germany’s Spiegel Online, she was asked whether her avoidance of the term “terrorism” meant that “Islamist terrorism suddenly no longer pos[es] a threat to your country?” She replied:

“Of course it does [pose a threat]. I presume there is always a threat from terrorism. In my speech, although I did not use the word ‘terrorism,’ I referred to ‘man-caused’ disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.”

In an April 2009 interview with CNN’s John King, Napolitano discussed Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio’s assertion that illegal aliens should be prosecuted and jailed. Said Napolitano:

“Sheriff Joe … 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.”

Contrary to Napolitano’s claim, illegal immigration is indeed a criminal offense under U.S. law.

In November 2009 Napolitano, speaking at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, said that the Obama administration would soon push for “immigration reform” by offering illegal aliens in the United States a “tough and fair pathway to earned legal status.” This pathway, she elaborated, “will mandate that illegal immigrants meet a number of requirements—including registering, paying a fine, passing a criminal background check, fully paying all taxes and learning English.” Napolitano said these were “substantial requirements” that would “make sure this [illegal] population gets right with the law,” “help fix our broken system,” and “strengthen our economy.”

In late December 2009, Napoitano sparked controversy with comments she made in the wake of an attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight (from Amsterdam to Detroit) by a Nigerian member of al Qaeda, who had been permitted to board the plane even though his name was in a database of suspected terrorists. When he tried detonate his chemical bomb (which was powerful enough to blow a hole in the side of a plane), it started a small fire but failed to explode as planned; passengers and crew members rushed to subdue him. Speaking to CNN in the aftermath of the incident, Napolitano said that the system had “worked” from the following standpoint:

“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. Within literally an hour to 90 minutes of the incident occurring, all 128 flights in the air had been notified to take some special measures in light of what had occurred on the Northwest Airlines flight. We instituted new measures on the ground and at screening areas, both here in the United States and in Europe, where this flight originated. So the whole process of making sure that we respond properly, correctly and effectively went very smoothly.”

Major Introductory Resource:

Homeland Insecurity, American Style
By John Perazzo
May 6, 2009

Additional Resources:

Napolitano Stumbles Upon Islamic Jihad
By Jamie Glazov
February 25, 2010

Obama Administration Did Not Consult Its Own Homeland Security Secretary Before Deciding to Try KSM in NYC
By Penny Starr
February 25, 2010

Democrat Congressman on No-Show Cabinet Official: ‘Where the Hell Is Secretary Napolitano?’
By Terence P. Jeffrey
January 27, 2010

Zogby Poll: 57 Percent of Independent Voters Give Napolitano a ‘D’ or ‘F’ for Keeping America Safe
By Pete Winn
January 26, 2010

Conservative Leaders Call for Napolitano’s Resignation
By Christopher Neefus
January 12, 2010

Napolitano Announces Obama Administration Plan to Give Amnesty to Illegal Aliens
By Penny Starr
November 13, 2009

Janet Napolitano Talks about “Backlash” in United Arab Emirates
By Allan Wall
November 9, 2009

Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary Supports Weakening Post-9/11 Driver’s License Reforms That Were Designed to Thwart Terrorists
By Fred Lucas
July 17, 2009

Making Americans Less Safe
By Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
May 12, 2009

The Problem Is They Aren’t Just Goofin’
By Glenn Garvin
May 7, 2009

Congratulations, You May Already Be a Terrorist
By Don Feder
April 30, 2009

Campaign Demands Boot for Napolitano
By Bob Unruh
April 28, 2009

Napolitano Should Go, Say Lawmakers
By Jim Brown
April 27, 2009

Internet Campaign to Remove Secretary Napolitano
By Nathan Tabor
April 27, 2009

Honor Thy Veterans
By Suzanne Fields
April 24, 2009

Napolitano Draws Resignation Calls after Gaffes on Veterans, Canada
By Fox News
April 23, 2009

DHS Chief Napolitano: Illegal Immigration Is Not a Crime
By Jim Meyers
April 22, 2009

Department of Hopeless Speculation
By Ben Johnson
April 20, 2009

Napolitano Called to Apologize for Report on ‘Extremists’
By Jim Brown and Charlie Butts
April 20, 2009

DHS: The Department of Homegrown Stupidity
By Doug Giles
April 19, 2009

Team O Turns Left on Sanity with ‘Right-wing Extremists’
By Diana West
April 17, 2009

Homeland Security Slanders
By David Limbaugh
April 17, 2009

(Right) Winging it at the DHS
By Jonah Goldberg
April 17, 2009

The Obama Administration Says We’re Dangerous, Rightwing Extremists
By Michael Reagan
April 16, 2009

Napolitano: Rightwing Extremism Report Contains ‘Assessment,’ Not ‘Accusations’
By Susan Jones
April 16, 2009

Gun Owners ‘Threatened and Insulted’ by Report on ‘Rightwing Extremism’
By Susan Jones
April 16, 2009

You Might Be a “Radicalized Right-Wing Extremist” if…
By Michelle Malkin
April 15, 2009

Veterans, Pro-Lifers Blast Gov’t Report Labeling Them as Possible Rightwing Extremists
By Susan Jones
April 15, 2009

Napolitano Cancels Immigration Enforcement Operations
By Judicial Watch
April 10, 2009

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