On the eve of the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, here’s what keeps the secretary of homeland security up at night:
“Complacency,” Janet Napolitano says without missing a beat. “The fact that it has been eight years since 9/11, and people just assume the government is going to take care of that. . . . Safety, security is a shared responsibility. It doesn’t take much for everybody just to take a deep breath and say, ‘Okay, what would I need to do to be prepared?’ ”
Emergency preparedness is just a sliver of Napolitano’s vast portfolio, which covers issues from counterterrorism to swine flu to cybersecurity. The former Arizona governor oversees a relatively new agency that is still ironing out some kinks, and she must also face more than 100 congressional committees that oversee various parts of her operation.
She’s also the administration’s point person on immigration, a highly charged issue that has made her a lightning rod for advocacy groups who see the Obama White House as dragging its feet on comprehensive reform.