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Former Secretary Of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano Shares Insights On American Security Policy

(March 29, 2019) Former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano discussed how American security policy has developed since 9/11 on Friday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The events of September 11, 2001, changed how many Americans thought of security – and which security concerns they worried about. But in the nearly 20 years since the attacks, threats to American security have continued to evolve, and the United States has not always kept up.

That’s what former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano argues in her new book “How Safe Are We?” She joined Friday’s St. Louis on the Air to discuss how American security policy has developed since 9/11.

“We’re much safer in many respects than we were prior to 9/11,” Napolitano said, suggesting that the infamous terror attack would never have happened today due to various practices later put in place.

“We did a number of things. For example, we keep better track of foreign nationals at our flight schools, we hardened the cockpit door on airplanes, we instituted a rule that if your luggage goes on a plane, you have to go on the plane with the luggage,” she added. “Some of those very pragmatic steps taken immediately have really eliminated that threat.”

Napolitano also addressed current matters such as immigration policy. She said the Trump administration’s current stance on building a border wall would be ineffective – “a wall is a symbol – it’s not a strategy.”

“A strategy – rather than a wall – involves more manpower, technology like ground sensors and tunnel detectors, air cover across the border and then strengthening the actual ports of entry,” Napolitano added. “When I was governor of Arizona, I used to say, ‘Show me a 10-foot wall and I’ll show you an 11-foot ladder.’ Either way, a wall won’t solve any problem that we have.”

Napolitano also delved into the ways in which politicians have ignored significant threats like domestic extremism, cybersecurity and climate change.

“All three of these affect the safety and security of the American people,” she reiterated.

Listen to the full discussion:

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. "St. Louis on the Air" producers Alex HeuerEvie HemphillLara Hamdan and Jon Lewis give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Jon Lewis was the production intern at St. Louis Public Radio from January to May 2019. Originally from Pelham, New York, Jon came to St. Louis to attend Washington University in 2015. Previously, Jon has interned for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Eight by Eight, a soccer magazine based in Brooklyn.
Lara is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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