On the Move

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is on the move. Yesterday she was in Qatar signing a bilateral security agreement. As she put it, “Homeland security does not begin at America's borders -- it starts with our international partnerships to detect and deter terrorists and other individuals who pose a threat to citizens around the world.” The goal of the accord is improved information sharing, specifically when it comes to matters of terrorism, aviation security and cybersecurity. In the wake of recent scares like the printer bombs, the agreement also aims to bulk up airline passenger screening.

Before heading to Doha, Napolitano was in Ireland and Afghanistan, meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The focus was Homeland Security’s border-security training efforts.

She’s now in Israel for a three-day trip, meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres today to talk about security and the peace process. Also on the schedule - sitdowns with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Aviation Authority officials.

State Department spokesman PJ Crowley was on the phone yesterday with various reporters talking about rumors that Washington was angry with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Crowley was responding to an article in Haaretz that quoted an Israeli official saying that Barak failed to deliver on promises, which disappointed the United States, to say the least. Crowley said, “We have the highest respect for Barak, and will continue to work with him on a full range of issues.”

Tensions with Venezuela are escalating. President Hugo Chavez rejected the chosen U.S. ambassador to his country, Larry Palmer, and Washington has responded by revoking the visa of the Venezuelan ambassador to the United States, Bernardo Alvarez Herrera. Crowley said that Washington took “appropriate, proportional and reciprocal action.”

And U.S. special envoy Stephen Bosworth, along with special envoy to the Six-Party Talks Sung Kim, is on his way to Seoul to talk about “next steps” for the Korean peninsula. Tensions have been rising since Pyongyang launched artillery shells at South Korea at the end of November. He’ll arrive in Seoul tomorrow, heading to Beijing on Wednesday and Tokyo on Thursday.