I share herewith part of an interview I conducted with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for National Preparedness Month. The interview will appear on my PBS program, To the Contrary, on PBS stations this weekend. I have seen Secretary Napolitano say elsewhere that we are safer now than when 9/11 took place in 2001. I have not been able to find her saying al Qaeda is weaker than it was before. If you, dear readers, can find her saying that, please post a reference below.
JANET NAPOLITANO: We are certainly safer than we were prior to 9/11 and I say that with confidence. The Department of Homeland Security rose out of 9/11 and one of our, indeed our lead mission, is to work on making sure that we are safer. And we work with many throughout the federal system. We have the Department of Defense, the Dept of Justice, FBI, the national counter- terrorism center. All are organized and set up differently in a way to deal with terrorism than they were before 9/11.
BONNIE ERBE : What key thing would you say is different now that might allow you to say, if you would say that, a terrorist attack will not happen under this administration’s watch?
JANET NAPOLITANO: I don’t think any responsible leader can say it will not happen. What we can say, what I will say, is that we are doing everything we can think of to reduce the risk that it will happen and to prepare; to be resilient should something occur. So it really is a culture of preparedness, a culture of resiliency, knowing that we can’t put the entire United States under some big dome and say a terrorist attack will never occur. That would be an inappropriate assurance.