U.S. Intelligence Agencies Investigate Possibilities of Broad Terror Plot

"I think she's doing a great job. She was not given the information. Her department was not given the information," Clarke said on "GMA." "She inherited a TSA that needed a lot of work. ... I think the problem lies in the intelligence community and not in Homeland Security."

While the GOP is attacking Napolitano, Democrats are pointing the finger at Republicans for blocking the nomination of Obama's pick to head the Transportation Security Administration, Erroll Southers. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., put Southers' nomination on hold amid concerns that the new director would allow TSA screeners to unionize.

"Republicans," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a statement, "have decided to play politics" with a critical nomination.

The Nevada senator intends to schedule a vote to break the hold when the Senate returns in January, his office said.

"We have been trying to confirm Mr. Southers since he cleared committee, including at the end of this session," Reid's spokesman, Jim Manley, said in a statement to ABC News. "Sadly the Republican obstructionism of just one person, Sen. DeMint, prevented TSA from having the leadership in place that the organization deserves."

DeMint used the opportunity to argue against the unionization of TSA employees, saying that the agency is able to make quick decisions in the event of a terror incident because its employees are not unionized.

"Many Americans aren't aware that the president's nominee to lead the TSA appears ready to give union bosses the power to veto or delay future security improvements at our airports," DeMint said. "I hope this incident will lead the president to rethink this policy and put the interests of American travelers ahead of organized labor."

Experts said both Democrats and Republicans need to stop the political bickering on national security.

"The problem now is not to fix blame," Kean said. "That is not what we should be doing. What we should be doing is share the information. That is what it is all about."

"I don't think it ought to be a political issue, and I didn't think it should be when we were in office," Napolitano's predecessor, Michael Chertoff, told ABC News. "Unfortunately, some people made it a political issue."

Former Bush administration national security official Gordon Johndroe said Republicans should "move on beyond the union issues" being used by DeMint to block an up-or-down vote on Southers.

"We've got to move on beyond the union issues; they will get worked out. It's an issue that the Department of Homeland Security has been working out since it was created six years ago," Johndroe said Tuesday on ABC News Now's "Top Line," adding that he thinks DeMint's parliamentary maneuver is opening up Republicans a "little bit" to criticism from Democrats.

Experts are mixed on how the lack of a permanent director affects the agency. Some say that while terror plots such as the one last week are difficult to stop, having an agency head in place would make a difference.

"Anytime you have an agency without political leadership, it drifts," Peter Goelz, a former director of the National Transportation Safety Board and currently senior vice president at O'Neill and Associates, told ABC News. "New initiatives not put in play. Reviews of old initiatives are not completed."

But the TSA cannot be blamed entirely or Friday's incident.

"It is extraordinarily difficult to stop dedicated suicide bombers from carrying out their mission," Goelz said.

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