Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lawyers, lawyers everywhere...

…and not a thought to think.

Janet Napolitano is in the news again. She was sent to the Sunday news programs to assure Americans who were out of town for Christmas that the planes are safe.

She talked about the crew and passengers on the Detroit flight, as well as law enforcement and other planes in the air and proudly proclaimed, “The system worked.”

When she realized her ploy didn’t work, she was back on the air Monday complaining that she was “taken out of context.”

I thought to myself, for a lawyer she sure is misunderstood a lot. Then I realized that the leadership of Homeland Security is filled with lawyers; mostly former lawyers for the Department of Justice. From the top:

Secretary Janet Napolitano - Lawyer for Anita Hill in the attempt to smear Clarence Thomas. Rewarded for her efforts by Bill Clinton when he made her U S Attorney for Arizona.

Deputy Secretary, Jane Holl Lute – JD from Georgetown, former CEO of United Nations Foundation and the Better World Fund. Headed up the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict.

John T. Morton, ICE - Mr. Morton, who began his federal service in 1994, has held a variety of positions within the Department of Justice, including as a trial attorney and special assistant to the general counsel in the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and as counsel to the Deputy Attorney General.

January Contreras, Citizenship and Immigration - Ms. Contreras previously served as a Senior Advisor to Secretary Napolitano, where she helped lead the Department’s response to the H1N1 flu and oversaw Department initiatives for the White House Council on Women and Girls. Prior to joining the Department, Ms. Contreras led the Arizona Department of Health Services. (An Arizona crony. Hmmm.) JD from University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.

Moving on to the staff of ICE…
Morton has two lawyers in the org chart as “General Counsel.” (Keep in mind that Morton is a lawyer himself.) They are Beth Gibson and Eric Barnett.

Daniel Ragsdale, ICE Management Department – He has a Juris Doctorate from Fordham University School of Law.

Susan Cullen, ICE Policy Director - J.D. from Valparaiso University School of Law.

Peter Vincent, Principal Legal Advisor (How many lawyers does Morton need?) - He received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law

Lyn Rahilly, Privacy Officer (I’m not sure how that differs from the Freedom of Information Officer but ICE needs her.) - George Washington University Law School.

Truth be told, Obama has done better than Bush in placing people with law enforcement experience in key spots. Bush actually had more former DOJ lawyers in ICE than Obama does.

That’s a step in the right direction, but there are still too many politicians in high places to really be effective.