It really is true....Incompetence begins at the top and works its down to the managers and the Federal Security Directors.
"It may be best for Chertoff to get out while the getting is good."
Rumors about Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's resignation started late Friday after he at the last minute canceled his keynote speech at an American Bar Association conference in San Francisco.
The Internet rumors were prompted by both the cancellation and the leak on Thursday of a videotape that showed Chertoff and other DHS staffs' seeming lack of response to the briefing in preparation for Hurricane Katrina. Democrats on Capitol Hill have been calling for Chertoff's resignation for months.
Chertoff has stood tall against the criticism, knowing perhaps that it would be difficult for President Bush to find another Republican willing to take over what many in Washington consider to be the most institutionally troubled agency in the country. This is not Chertoff's fault. If blame should be placed, say White House and other Administration insiders, it should be laid at the feet of former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge, who at no point in the run-up to the creation of the agency said "No" to the way the department was pulled together from various other Cabinet level departments.
"You're pulling agencies and staff from Justice, Treasury, HHS, Agriculture, and who knows from where else," says one former White House staffer who was involved in the planning. "We were warned that many of these different groups had never played well together when they weren't part of the same agency team. But no one at the top seemed to consider that. Now we see the results."
Chertoff was not the first or even the third choice of President Bush to be head of DHS, and many associates were surprised that he gave up a seat on the federal bench to take up a post that was fraught with infighting.
If Chertoff does decide to leave, it will not be because of Katrina, his associates say -- it will be because of the Dubai Port deal, and the failings of the Treasury Department and the White House to properly vet what should have been a DHS decision, pure and simple.
"Instead, this became a multi-agency scrum and things just fell through the cracks," says a current Administration source. "There is more to come out about this deal, and it may be best for Chertoff to get out while the getting is good."