In Defense of Janet Napolitano

Yes, I know Napolitano said something exceedingly stupid yesterday (and has now retracted it)  but here's the problem with criticism of Napolitano -- she's been on the job for less than a year. The attacks of 9/11 took place more than eight years ago. For most of that period, it was the Bush Administration in charge. And what did the Bush Administration do about air security between 9/11 and the beginning of 2009, when they left office? Well, they managed to spend those years not installing the sort of body-imaging machines in our airports that might actually stop some terrorists from smuggling explosives onto airplanes:

To date, only 40 of these machines have been installed at 19 airports across the United States -- meaning only a tiny fraction of passengers pass through them. Amsterdam's airport has 15 of these machines -- more than just about any airport in the world -- but an official there said Sunday that they were prohibited from using them on passengers bound for the United States, for a reason she did not explain.

Michael Chertoff, former secretary of homeland security, and Kip Hawley, who ran the Transportation Security Administration until January, said the new body-scanning machines were a critical tool that should quickly be installed in more airports around the country. So far, an additional 150 full-body imaging machines have been ordered, but nationwide there are approximately 2,200 checkpoint screening lanes.

That's right, the Bush Administration managed to equip 40 screening lanes -- 40, across the 50 states -- with body-imaging machines. In other words, there are better scapegoats out there than Janet Napolitano.