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Chertoff: Don't divide Homeland Security

Dec. 4, 2008 at 4:30 PM
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ELIZABETH, N.J., Dec. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said Thursday at New Jersey's Kean University his department should not be divided into smaller parts.

Chertoff said the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama should not heed any suggestions for a divided Homeland Security department, The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger reported.

"If you look at the challenges we face, the last thing we need to do is to go back to the days of stove-piping and everybody protects their own turf," Chertoff said.

Chertoff also credited his department's handling of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, particularly after Hurricanes Ike and Katrina.

"Far from stifling FEMA, it has actually been an enabler for them that has permitted them to do things they could never do as a stand-alone agency," the U.S. official said.

The Star-Ledger said Chertoff, assigned to his post in 2005 by U.S. President George W. Bush, also pointed out the lack of any major terrorist attacks in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.

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