Director of Homeland Security Janet "Big Sis" Napolitano has a bone to pick with Drudge Report founder Matt Drudge about privacy fears apparently stoked on his news site. That said, she has mixed feelings about her Orwellian nickname. In fact, she kind of likes it.
In an interview with Politico.com, the DHS Chief completely dismissed notions that her branch of the federal government tramples on civil liberties. On the contrary, Napolitano said:
"I think that what he means is we are watching too much—kind of an Orwellian view. He's just wrong. I mean, he's just wrong. We want to be conscious of civil liberties and civil rights protections—and we are, we don't do anything without kind of running it through our own civil rights and privacy office. We're one of only two departments in the federal government that actually has a presidentially-appointed privacy office and officer."
For many, the self-licking ice cream cone of an internal DHS civil rights office may not inspire a huge vote of confidence. One could even process the secretary's answer in this way: Of course the organization that has brought us "enhanced screening procedures" would need some sort of privacy, otherwise who would get re-assigned after all the federal lawsuits?
But the Secretary is sticking to her guns, so to speak, and claimed that the full body airport scanners are becoming even more respectful of privacy. Instead of showing a full, naked body image, the new iteration of the scanners will apparently show a stick figure with a region of the body that requires further scrutiny (perhaps with an enhanced pat-down).
The head of Homeland Security also defended the proliferation of surveillance cameras across the country, claiming they are a "very, very helpful methodology, particularly in areas where we know there are constant threats."
As for being called "Big Sis," Napolitano said getting your own nickname is an honor of sorts. She claimed that she may have a nickname for Matt Drudge, but decided not to share it.
And the good news? According to Politico, Napolitano said you may not have to take your shoes off much longer at the airport. But that bottle of shampoo you left in your carry-on will be confiscated for the foreseeable future.