Washington, D.C. — Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano avoids the terms “terrorism” or “9/11” in remarks prepared for her first congressional testimony since taking office, signaling a sharp change in tone from her predecessors.
Napolitano is the first homeland security secretary to drop the term “terror” and “vulnerability” from remarks prepared for delivery to the House Homeland Security Committee, according to a copy obtained by The Associated Press.
Tom Ridge, who headed the agency when it was launched in 2003, mentioned terrorism 11 times in his prepared statement at his debut before the oversight committee in 2003. And in 2005 Michael Chertoff, the second secretary, mentioned terrorism seven times, according to an AP analysis of the prepared testimonies.
Napolitano’s prepared remarks also show her using the word “attacks” less than her predecessors, although she makes clear that the department’s responsibility is protecting the nation against terrorism. She is the first secretary to use a Capitol Hill debut to talk about hurricanes and disasters, a sign of the department’s evolving mission following Hurricane Katrina.