The New York Times has an interview piece with Sec. Chertoff in today’s paper which focuses on the current blame cycle over Hurricane Katrina and what the Department is doing to fix FEMA and prepare for the upcoming hurricane season. The article also touches upon Chertoff’s own job stability; he denies the rumors that his departure is imminent. And the article suggests that he retains cautious support in Congress:
But Mr. [Bennie] Thompson’s view does not appear to be widely shared on Capitol Hill. “You fire someone for two reasons: one, to punish them; or, two, they are not capable,” said Representative Christopher Shays, Republican of Connecticut and a member of the Homeland Security Committee.
“Chertoff screwed up,” Mr. Shays said. “His credibility has been hurt seriously. But he is capable. And Katrina not withstanding, he has done a pretty good job….”
Senator Norm Coleman, Republican of Minnesota and a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said that he had confidence in Mr. Chertoff but that Mr. Chertoff must realize that his every action was being watched.
“There is a question out there about him,” Mr. Coleman said. “He came in as an A player. He has the intellect, no question. But the leadership is uncertain. It is not at the level it needs to have been.”
The one newsworthy item in the story is Chertoff’s comment that he intends to name a new leadership team at FEMA very soon, including a “new director, a deputy and a chief logistics officer.”