The Associated Press says that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is “signaling a sharp change in tone from her predecessors” by avoiding the terms “terrorism” or “9/11” in remarks prepared for congressional testimony. She is the first homeland-security secretary to drop the term “terror” and “vulnerability” from remarks prepared for delivery to the House Homeland Security Committee. Tom Ridge, who headed the agency when it was launched in 2003, mentioned terrorism 11 times in his debut before the committee. In 2005, Michael Chertoff, the second secretary, mentioned terrorism seven times.
President Barack Obama has largely avoided using the term “war on terror.” The Homeland Security Committee’s top Republican, New York Rep. Peter King, said he was struck that Napolitano’s prepared remarks did not include terrorism, Sept. 11, new threats, or a formula for distributing counterterrorism grants to states and cities.