Embattled Napolitano Promises Aviation Security Upgrades


By: Jim Kouri, CPP

Amidst continued calls for her to resign or be removed from her post as a result of her past statements, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano followed the long-awaited press briefing by President Barack Obama with her own laundry list of anti-terrorism recommendations.

While the President’s televised comments revealed no surprises — and in fact, disappointed many in the news media and in law enforcement — Napolitano’s press briefing provided some insight. Sadly, prior to his speech, the White House spin doctors characterized Obama’s impending announcement as “shocking” for Americans, but there was neither shock nor substance in the President’s flowery presentation, according to several law enforcement sources.

Immediately following Obama’s briefing, the politically embattled Secretary Napolitano joined White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan to announce several recommendations DHS has made to the President for improving the technology and procedures used to protect aircraft and travelers from acts of terrorism.

Napolitano outlined five recommendations DHS will pursue to upgrade aviation security. President Obama had ordered security reviews following the attempted terrorist attack on December 25, 2009, including recommendations from the intelligence and security communities.

“The attempted attack on Christmas Day is a powerful illustration that terrorists will go to great lengths to try to defeat the security measures that have been put in place since Sept. 11, 2001,”said Secretary Napolitano.

“These recommendations will strengthen aviation security—at home and abroad—through new partnerships, technology and law enforcement efforts,” she said.

Secretary Napolitano provided the following recommendations:

* Re-evaluate and modify the criteria and process used to create terrorist watch lists—including adjusting the process by which names are added to the “No-Fly” and “Selectee” lists.

* Establish a partnership on aviation security between DHS and the Department of Energy and its National Laboratories in order to develop new and more effective technologies to deter and disrupt known threats and proactively anticipate and protect against new ways by which terrorists could seek to board an aircraft.

* Accelerate deployment of advanced imaging technology to provide greater explosives detection capabilities — and encourage foreign aviation security authorities to do the same — in order to identify materials such as those used in the attempted Christmas attack. The Transportation Security Administration currently has 40 machines deployed throughout the United States, and plans to deploy at least 300 additional units in 2010.

* Strengthen the presence and capacity of aviation law enforcement — by deploying law enforcement officers from across DHS to serve as Federal Air Marshals to increase security aboard U.S.-bound flights.

* Work with international partners to strengthen international security measures and standards for aviation security.

Secretary Napolitano’s recommendations come in addition to the Department’s immediate actions following the attempted attack on Dec. 25, 2009 — including enhanced security measures at domestic airports and new international security directives that mandate enhanced screening of every individual flying into the United States from or through nations that are State Sponsors of Terrorism or other countries of interest and the majority of all passengers traveling on U.S.-bound flights.

The President’s speech and Napolitano’s statement met with mixed — mostly partisan — reaction.

While Obama supporters were quick to herald his briefing and actions, many Americans were less enthusiastic.

“It is unacceptable to just claim human error and systematic problems, but not assign responsibility except to say ‘the buck stops here.’ The blame does rest with the President for creating an atmosphere in his Administration where no one wants to offend anyone – not even a terrorist,” said Danny Gonzalez, director of communications for KeepAmericaSafe.org, a grassroots organization

“Obama said that as a country we would not have a siege mentality and we wouldn’t hide behind the walls of suspicion and mistrust. This is ignoring the fact that America is under siege, and we have bad people at our borders trying to get. Most importantly, visiting the United States is a privilege not a right, and we shouldn’t be afraid to deny people that privilege if there is any chance they pose a threat,” said Gonzalez.

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he’s a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.

He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.

To subscribe to Kouri’s newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write “Subscription” on the subject line.

About The Author Jim Kouri, CPP:
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.
Website:http://jimkouri.us

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