The “one-off” attack line came from the highest official in the American government charged with preventing attacks exactly like Shahzad’s: Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

Napolitano’s rhetorical slip is a little too serious to be palmed off with some linguistic woolgathering. She has made clear repeatedly that she believes people with Gadsden flag bumper stickers are a greater threat to domestic tranquility than out-of-the-closet terrorists who receive training and material assistance in foreign terror centers. She has been wrong about this every time, and she will continue to be wrong until Americans actually die.

This is an obvious politicization of her office. (Napolitano’s favored targets — health care protesters and disgruntled veterans — are distinguished not by their propensity toward violence but by their opposition to the administration.) But if you believe in the necessity of a Homeland Security Department, every day Napolitano is in charge of it creates an actual risk to life and property. Napolitano has a positive burden of proof: She needs to demonstrate some understanding of how to do her job, or she needs to be fired, for the security of the United States and the safety of the American people.