September 6, 2011
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is calling out web news aggregator Matt Drudge for suggesting that she’s an ogre eager to invade the privacy of Americans and in particular those who travel by air.
“I think my nickname is ‘Big Sis.’ I don’t think he means it kindly, actually,” Napolitano said Tuesday, accurately recalling the moniker that often accompanies scary-looking photos of her on Drudge’s popular news site.
“I think that what he means is we are watching too much—kind of an Orwellian view. He’s just wrong. I mean, he’s just wrong,” Napolitano declared during a POLITICO Playbook breakfast at the Newseum. She said the privacy impact of new airport screening technology and similar programs are thoroughly vetted before they are implemented.
“We want to be conscious of civil liberties and civil rights protections—and we are,” Napolitano insisted. “We don’t do anything without kind of running it through our own civil rights and privacy office. We’re one of only two departments in the federal government that actually has a presidentially-appointed privacy office and officer.”