United States Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff recently launched a blog in what he hopes will “open a dialogue with the American people about our nation's security.“
Started in the middle of September, the blog, described by the Department of Homeland Security as a Leadership Journal, has picked up steam to several posts a week from the Secretary as well as other contributors, such as FEMA head R. David Paulison and US Customs & Border Protection Commissioner W. Ralph Basham.
The most recent post to date is from FEMA's Paulison as he headed toward the wildfires in California. In a way, the blog acts as a window into the day to day activities of the country's top government officials. “I'm writing this from the air as I make my way to southern California with Secretary Chertoff to take a closer look at the areas impacted by the wildfires,“ Paulison began as he outlined the steps FEMA was taking to help those affected.
The blog is a unique and at times surprisingly frank outlet for Secretary Chertoff who often comments on articles in the mainstream media. “I am particularly inspired by immigrants and their children who have made this nation their own“¦“ he wrote. “I was reminded of this while reading an outstanding op-ed piece by Jason Lim in last Sunday's Washington Post.“
In other postings, he seems agitated as he responds to less than favorable assessments in the press. “The New York Times editorial staff “¦hyperventilates today about our efforts to apprehend criminal gang affiliates in the New York area as part of a nationwide initiative to take dangerous illegal aliens off the street,“ he wrote in early October, ““¦I can't imagine any community that would urge us to leave illegal alien criminals alone.“
As of today, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt is the only other of cabinet secretary with a blog. Secretary Leavitt's site “is the result of the Secretary's continuing desire to engage Americans in the exchange of ideas on health care and the provision of human services.“
In the spirit of collaboration, both blogs allow comments. Though, both sites employ a moderation policy that reviews all comments before they're posted. A technorati blog search revealed that both sites have received a steady stream of inbound links and the comments are generally positive in nature. “Mr. Secretary, Thank you so much for keeping us informed – I know how busy you are..“ wrote one reader in response to Secretary Leavitt's 8/16 post on pandemic flu.
Keep an eye out for more from Secretaries Leavitt and Chertoff, as well as other cabinet secretaries to take the plunge into the blogosphere.