Security and economic prosperity go “hand-in-hand,” the head of the Department of Homeland Security said Monday, adding that her agency’s goal is to speed the movement of travelers and cargo.
“Security measures should, to the greatest extent possible, be designed to facilitate the safe and efficient movement of people and goods while securing our critical infrastructure,” Janet A. Napolitano told the National Press Club in her second annual “State of Homeland Security Address.”
Miss Napolitano said that security and ease of movement for cargo and travelers do not form a zero-sum game. “Good, thoughtful, sensible security by its very nature facilitates lawful travel and legitimate commerce,” she said.
Risk-based, intelligence measures that identify the most potentially dangerous travelers and cargo are the best means of providing security while maintaining efficiency, she said.
“Think of it this way: If we have to look for a needle in a haystack, it makes sense to use all of the information we have about the pieces of hay to make the haystack smaller, Miss Napolitano said.
She cited the Transportation Security Administration’s Trusted Traveler Program as an example of a risk-based security system. In the program, passengers who undergo background checks get less time-consuming security examinations before boarding planes.
Intelligence-driven security, which makes better use of data about travelers and cargo currently available to the agency, is more effective than profiling, the Homeland Security chief said.
Critics, however, say the Obama administration is using efficiency as a smokescreen behind which Homeland Security’s core mission is being undermined.
“We simply don’t have an administration that wants security,” said Janice Kephardt of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for secure borders and less immigration.
“Every border element across the immigration apparatus is told not to do their job, from ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] to Border Patrol to [Justice Department] immigration lawyers to consular officers,” said Ms. Kephardt, a former staff member of the 9/11 commission.