Secretary Janet Napolitano has gotten a heap of well-deserved criticism for the report that her office rushed out, naming veterans, believers in gun rights, low-tax advocates, and other conservatives as possible terrorists. So far she has failed adequately to explain how her Department issued a report that slanders our military, our law enforcement agencies, and millions of average Americans.
Roll Call reports today that Napolitano has now apologized for this obvious screwup – but she has done so secretly, in a letter to a House Committee Chairman. The letter has not been shared with Republicans:
Rep. Peter King (N.Y.), the top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, said Thompson did not share the letter with him, and it doesn’t change anything.
“To me this makes it more essential to provide [Congress] with all of the records” related to the report, King said after Roll Call showed him a copy of the letter…
In her letter, Napolitano admitted to Thompson that the report was released despite concerns by the department’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, a fact King emphasized.
“It seems like a department not under control,” King said. “Why was a report that was so off target released over the objections of the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties?”…
In the April 25 letter to Thompson, Napolitano explained that the message in the report — “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” — could have “been made more directly and succinctly” and admitted that “there was a breakdown in the clearance process before its distribution…”
“I want you to know that we have initiated new controls to ensure that there is more internal review of these products,” Napolitano told Thompson in her letter. “The level of consultation between the Office of Intelligence and Analysis and the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties was inadequate in this process…”
Napolitano said she would fulfill Thompson’s request to provide the committee with a detailed outline of how the report was created.
King is absolutely correct that Napolitano’s secret apology raises more questions than it answers. In particular, why is Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security disregarding the views of the Office of Civil Rights? You’d think that given the concerns professed by Democrats over profiling – particularly by an a federal agency dedicated to internal security – that concerns by the Office of Civil Rights would merit special attention. Instead, it seems likely that political appointees did an end-run around the office. And now instead of coming clean, Napolitano is exchanging secret correspondence with Congressional leaders.
What is Napolitano trying to hide?