Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

The Monitor Breakfast

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.

By David T. CookStaff writer / April 8, 2013

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



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.

Skip to next paragraph

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."

The Monitor Breakfast on

Subscribe for full video access to one of Washington's premier forums

  • Full-length Breakfast videos
  • Access to the video archives
  • E-mail alerts after every Breakfast event

Sign up for:

Sign up for full video access

Already a subscriber?


Doing Good


What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!