Transcript: Behind-the-Scenes With Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano

We're about protecting the security of the country. We're obviously not the police for the country. There's 800,000 police officers out there in cities and towns and sheriffs' deputies in counties throughout the United States. So -- making sure that they're kept apprised of actual threats or tactics that we're seeing is where I think we are value-added.

Violence on the Southern Border

THOMAS: The southern border -- guns flowing there, lots of violence there. Is the U.S. doing enough to help Mexico deal with this problem?

NAPOLITANO: I think that this is a key issue for the United States and that we should do all we can to assist President Calderon in his effort to break up the cartels that inhabit Mexico. Those cartels have fingers that reach well into the United States, into hundreds of our communities, distributing drugs, and, of course, as your question says, they're fueled by bulk cash and arms coming south of the border.

So what we have done over the last year is really increased our efforts looking at southbound vehicles for cash, for guns and also inspecting southbound rail, which had never been done before. Those operations continue even as we work in an unprecedented way with the federal government of Mexico on joint law enforcement initiatives that cross the border.

THOMAS: Any need for the National Guard at this moment or is that something being considered? I think I saw Senator McCain asking for that as something that's needed for the state that you were the governor of.

NAPOLITANO: Well, when I was the governor of Arizona, we did have the National Guard at the border. And that is something that is under consideration at the White House. But obviously, your first choice is to make sure that you have adequate civilian law enforcement right at the border and that you have interior law enforcement at the work site level, because, of course, the big draw is illegal immigration.

So we have now really record numbers of Border Patrol agents at the border. We have moved a lot of technology down to the border and provided monies to local sheriffs departments along the border.

A lot of those counties are fairly sparsely populated and so they don't have the tax base to support the overtime and equipment and other expenses that they incur because they are at the border. So we're trying to do everything we can and -- and have been able to -- to get some more money to them.

THOMAS: Going back to the violence on the other side, is there any real prospect that that could spill over to this side of the country?

NAPOLITANO: Oh, there's always a prospect, so we're watching it very carefully. And there are occasional horrendous crimes. There was a recent just horrendous murder of a rancher near Douglas, Arizona. We have been putting resources to participate in that investigation, including offering a reward. We're working that with the government of Mexico. We would love nothing more than to identify the shooter.

But is it a wave of spillover violence? We have not yet seen that. We never want to see that. And so that's why moving the kinds of resources we moved down to the border makes sense.

THOMAS: OK. Let's talk about the good and the bad for a second. I know that on the virtual fence, there have been some overruns and some delays. And I understand you're not particularly happy about that.

NAPOLITANO: I am unhappy. We'll complete the phase that's already underway.

THOMAS: Do you want it fixed?

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