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What keeps Janet Napolitano up at night? People with keyboards up to no good

In a post-9/11 world, the two top concerns facing the Department of Homeland Security are cyber and aviation threats, said Secretary Janet Napolitano during a Monitor-sponsored breakfast.

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Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Security, speaks at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C. She was a guest at the March 26 Monitor Breakfast.

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor

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Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's department has 240,000 employees; they're in every state and 75 countries. She was the guest at a March 26 Monitor Breakfast.

Controversy about the TSA's decision to allow small knives on planes:

"It is the right decision from a security standpoint. We're trying to prevent a bomb from getting on a plane.... Where we could have done better ... was a little more legislative and public outreach...."

Why she keeps other post-9/11 rules:

"The reality is the aviation threat has not gone away. When ... people say, 'What are the threats you are confronting?,' I always identify two – aviation and cyber. That is where we have seen operational activity. That is where we have seen pre-operational activity."

The state of border security:

"You can always go down to the [Mexican] border and find somebody who is unhappy.... What we are saying is that the border is more secure now than it has ever been....

Why she does not use e-mail in her job:

"I think e-mail just sucks up time. You are all nodding and laughing, but you know I speak truth."

What keeps her up at night:

"What occasionally keeps me up at night ... is what is out there that I don't know about – some operation that I haven't seen, some threat that hasn't become evident, some new mechanism or technique ... being used by cyber malefactors from around the world."

Talk she is considering a run for president:

"[That] would be the kind of thing that would keep me up at night, and I lose enough sleep as it is."


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