At 5:34 on an absolutely gorgeous Friday afternoon, when everyone in Washington D.C. should have been having a drink al fresco, admiring the spring blossoms, and looking into the eyes of their beloved, Senator Joseph Lieberman, (very) Independent Democrat of Connecticut and Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee released a statement in support of Secretary Napolitano. In its entirety:
“Secretary Napolitano was a superb choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security, a complex, demanding, and high-pressured job, and I believe she has performed well since she was confirmed” Lieberman said. “Has there been a rough patch? Yes. But nothing that comes close to a firing offense.”
“The Secretary has apologized for the poor wording of the Department’s intelligence analysis of right-wing extremism. The report was produced by career intelligence officials and begun in the previous Administration. I do not believe it was politically motivated; and I do believe it was well intentioned. Our time would be better spent joining together to ensure that the American people are well protected from security threats.”
Early this morning, in my first post of the day, I shared some related news. The headline refers to growling and biting. Scroll down to review that context. I perceive the Chairman — who a few Republicans might have hoped to find sympathetic — is sending a signal to move on. Even more important, the Chairman is communicating that Homeland Security is too serious to sacrifice to poorly chosen words or political expediency. Senators Lieberman and Collins have modeled authentic bipartisanship, and each have the wounds to prove it.
Those who criticized the report have, we can hope, encouraged the application of even greater rigor and care in analysis and reporting. The experience has also underlined the need for more sophisticated consumers of intelligence, very much including the general citizenry.
Now, my beloved is fixing us drinks, the birds are about to begin their evening concert, and the stars should be glorious on the first night of a new moon. Carpe diem.
Have a good weekend Madam Secretary. You deserve a break.
UPDATE (Saturday, 4:00 am): Read some good reporting by Ed O’Keefe with the Federal Eye at the Washington Post. He gives further context to the timing of Senator Lieberman’s statement. O’Keefe writes, “Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano apologized directly today to Commander Dave Rehbein, head of the American Legion, after a recently leaked DHS intelligence report suggested that right-wing extremist groups might recruit military veterans returning from overseas deployments. The 45-minute meeting occurred at DHS headquarters in Washington this (Friday) afternoon.”