Who will replace Janet Napolitano at Homeland Security? With the filibuster in peril this week, getting a consensus candidate may not matter much for a Senate confirmation, but that doesn’t mean one won’t arise. Already, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has endorsements from two key members of Congress — one Democrat, one Republican:
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s experience with fighting terrorism has been cited as the reason why two lawmakers want him to take over as secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) have both called for Kelly to take over, as after current secretary Janet Napolitano said Friday she was resigning to take a job as president of the University of California system.
As CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, the NYPD is well-known for springing quickly into action whenever there is a terrorist event anywhere around the world. Kelly’s Hercules teams swiftly secure high-profile locations in the city. …
Long Island Congressman Peter King echoed those sentiments.
“I don’t know if he wants the job or not, but the job certainly needs him, so that’s why I’m strongly, strongly supporting Commissioner Kelly for Homeland Security secretary,” King said.
Kelly makes a lot more sense as a candidate than politicians with less or no experience in counter-terrorism. The NYPD has become a de facto Homeland Security department already, thanks to the Big Apple’s status as one of America’s biggest targets, and to the experiences of 9/11 and the 1993 World Trade Center attacks. Kelly has plenty of experience and focus on the external threats facing the US and would need only a small learning curve to expand that to a national scale. Dealing with the bureaucracy involved might take longer, but that will be true for any nominee.
The Washington Post reported that another name is under consideration at the White House — Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley:
O’Malley (D) has sought to carve out a niche on homeland security issues since his days as mayor of Baltimore, which has a deep-water port.
He is currently the chairman of the health and homeland security committee for the National Governors Association. Earlier this year, O’Malley was also named by President Obama as co-chairman of the Council of Governors, a group charged with strengthening collaboration between federal and state governments on national security issues.
In the past, O’Malley, who is weighing a 2016 presidential bid, has signaled that he intends to serve out his term as governor, which ends in January 2015.
But some advisers suggested Friday that O’Malley would certainly give serious consideration to an Obama Cabinet post if asked to take it. They said they were not sure how likely that scenario might be.
The advisers requested anonymity to more freely discuss O’Malley future. Some also acknowledged that the recent indictments of corrections officers at a state-run jail in Baltimore could make a bid for a Cabinet post more awkward for O’Malley right now.
Yes, that might be awkward indeed. O’Malley would likely receive more partisan scrutiny than Kelly, although the latter might get some awkward questions of his own over NYC’s “stop and frisk” policy, NBC News reports. Still, picking the most obviously qualified over a political ally would probably net Obama some good will on Capitol Hill, which he may need after Reid’s filibuster change.