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Ridge Defends Napolitano From Right-Wing Attacks: The Criticisms Are 'Misplaced'

Tom Ridge, who served under President Bush, defended Napolitano, explaining that blame for the incident does not rest solely on her shoulders.

Since the failed Christmas Day terrorist attack, conservatives have been attacking the Obama administration for failing to “connect the dots,” with many calling specifically for the resignation of Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. They have criticized her for initially telling CNN that “the system worked,” even though they dishonestly took her quote out of context to do so.

Appearing on Fox News Tuesday, RNC chairman Michael Steele said, “I agree with the Republican leadership that’s called for [Napolitano's] resignation.” Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, tweeted, “Secretary Janet Napolitano should resign, saying ‘the system worked,’ undermines the confidence of Americans.” And yesterday, a group of prominent conservative activists sent Napolitano a letter demanding her resignation.

But a former head of the Department of Homeland Security said much of this criticism is “misplaced.” Tom Ridge, who served under President Bush, defended Napolitano, explaining that blame for the incident does not rest solely on her shoulders:

RIDGE: [Neither the] Secretary of Homeland Security, nor can the department, act on anything until they get the information. … And the Department of Homeland Security could not have revoked the visa. The Department of Homeland Security could not have put this name on the National Counterterrorism Center. … So while there is obviously some criticism pointed in the department’s direction and at the Secretary, I think by and large it is misplaced.

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