Julie Myers, former assistant secretary for export enforcement and current nominee to head up the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division, was called unfit for the post by one of the Senate's more independent-thinking Republicans during her confirmation hearing yesterday (UPI via Washington Times):
"I'm really concerned about your management experience," Sen. George V. Voinovich, Ohio Republican, told her, pointing out that ICE, with 20,000 employees, is the second-largest investigative agency in the federal government.
"I think that we ought to have a meeting with [Homeland Security Secretary] Mike Chertoff...to ask him...why he thinks you're qualified for the job," Mr. Voinovich said. "Because based on your resume, I don't think you are."
The OEE and ICE jobs may both come with the same title -- assistant secretary -- but at 20,000 employees ICE is about two orders of magnitude larger than OEE.
Myers is nominated to replace Michael Garcia. Garcia, you may recall, was also her immediate predecessor at BIS. Who knew the Office of Export Enforcement was such a stepping stone?
Myers is the niece of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, and her work experience before joining the Bush administration included a stint as an investigator for Ken Starr on the Monica Lewinsky investigation. By my count the ICE assistant secretary slot would be her fifth job since joining the administration less than four years ago.
UPDATE: Others have a slightly less nuanced take on the Myers nomination.
FURTHER UPDATE: The Washington Post advances the story on today's cover, reporting that Voinovich has dropped his objection to Myers' nomination.
EVEN FURTHER UPDATE: Maureen Dowd takes her turn at the piñata:
Mr. Bush made a frownie over Brownie, but didn't learn much. He's once more trying to appoint a nothingburger to a position of real consequence in homeland security. The choice of Julie Myers, a 36-year-old lawyer with virtually no immigration, customs or law enforcement experience, to head the roiling Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency with its $4 billion budget and 22,000 staffers, has caused some alarm, according to The Washington Post.
Ms. Myers's main credentials seem to be that she worked briefly for the semidisgraced homeland security director, Michael Chertoff, when he was at the Justice Department. She just married Mr. Chertoff's chief of staff, John Wood, and she's the niece of Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
As a former associate for Ken Starr, the young woman does have impeachment experience, in case the forensic war on terrorism requires the analysis of stains on dresses.
Julie makes Brownie look like Giuliani. I'll sleep better tonight, knowing that when she gets back from her honeymoon, Julie will be patrolling the frontier.
For the record, I considered making that blue dress joke myself, but thought better of it. Obviously, I don't have what it takes to be a columnist for the paper of record.