Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan

PHOTO Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in Afghanistan, Dec 31, 2010
Share
Copy

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made a surprise visit to Afghanistan today as law enforcement officials across the United States remained at high alert for potential attacks on the New Year's Eve holiday.

Napolitano met with top U.S. and Afghan officials in Kabul to assess progress on Department of Homeland Security efforts to train local security forces. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers have been helping the Afghans secure the country's borders and combat drug and weapons smuggling.

She is expected to spend New Year's Eve with military service members whose continued efforts and sacrifices, she said, are making "the American homeland safer and more secure."

Meanwhile, national security officials in Washington, from the Department of Homelawn Security to the FBI, focused their attention today on New York City and Times Square, where local law enforcement finalized preparations for the annual New Year's Eve bash.

Federal and local intelligence and counterterror officials say here is no credible, specific terror threat timed to the celebration, but they remain on high alert.

"We have no specific threats against the city on New Year's Eve," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. "Anytime large numbers of people come together, we put in our counterterrorism overlay."

The entire national security apparatus was up and running for the holiday, senior government officials told ABC News, with all agency directors and cabinet secretaries in close contact with each other as needed.

While Napolitano is in Afghanistan her second in command, Deputy Secretary Jane Hall Lute, is in D.C., a DHS spokesman said.

President Obama is vacationing in Hawaii this week and Vice President Biden is with his family in the U.S. Virgin Islands. But administration officials say both men are in close communication with their national security advisers.

Terrorism Specialist With Obama

Top White House national security adviser John Brennan is in Washington for the holiday, as is director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter.

Leiter was criticized one year ago for being on a ski vacation with his son during the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight from Europe to Detroit on Christmas Day.

Obama also faced scrutiny for the perception that he was sluggish in responding to the incident. Senior counterterrorism specialist Nick Rasmussen is accompanying the president in Hawaii this year.

null
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...