Talk:Michael Chertoff

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Why were negative articles about michael chertoff from and david dukes web site removed? Should there be pro as well as con articles on Michael chertoff?—Preceding unsigned comment added by Dnagod (talkcontribs)

There are both pro and con articles there. However, the article doesn't need advertisements for dubious sources. Jayjg (talk) 01:30, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I find this article unbalanced. I agree with another commenter that there may be too much detail about his ethnic origin in comparison with Chertoff's activity in the United States, especially his service as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. I agree that the portrait is chillingly unflattering.

As a policy researcher on environmental and regulatory policy, I was struck by the one-sided nature of the section criticizing Chertoff's waiving applicability of environmental laws in constructing a fence or otherwise controlling the U.S.'s southern border. For example, the Sierra Club has criticized the obstruction of free migration of jaguars. In addition to absence of explanations or balancing articles about whether or how full implementation of the laws was compatible with border security, this section omits aspects such as "environmental devastation in the Arizona borderlands caused by illegal immigration and drug smuggling" ([1]) [User_talk:nnamelet|(talk)]

Russian origin and meaning of his name[edit]

Is it worth mentioning that his name Chertoff means "Devil's own" in russian literally? Or will cons jump me --Tigry 03:58, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I don't see any NPOV issue with noting it, but I don't think the etymology of his last name (even if he is of Russian descent) is all that relevant to the article. - Walkiped 12:40, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
So we will leave it here. Several sites, including these two [1] [2], say:
Michael's father, Gershon, was the first child of Paul Chertoff from Russia, and Esther Barish, from "Roumania," according to the 1930 U.S. Census. Gershon graduated as a teacher of the Talmud at age 20, in May 1935.
"Paul Chertoff from Russia"? "Paul?" Jews are not named Paul, not in Russia, only in the USA does that go on. I am Jewish, I live in the USA, and my grandfather was born in Russia, so I know. Your two sources, and didn't get that part correct. --FeralOink (talk) 13:17, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
His grandfather was a Jew from Russia, so his name has Russian origin, and has a definitive meaning in the Russian language. Besides a meaning mentioned above, it can also mean smth like "damned" in such sentences as, for example, "this damned Michael ruins everything he does". Compare with Hellman.
Is this comparable to those German names (I recall one literally meant "sewer stench") that were given to Jews by the Prussian state during the 19th century? Or is the meaning of this name in Russian merely an etymological coincidence? --Adamrush 10:11, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
It isn't an etymological coincidence, but it is unfair (and/or ironic). Jews from Eastern Europe were sometimes forced to have unflattering surnames. A common one in German was Eselkopf or "Donkey's head". Any Russian surname ending in "ov" or "ev" originates from the patronymic "ovich/evich", ie son of. So "Ivanov" is like "Jones", but an equivalent to "Johnson". Chert (pronounced Chyort) is Russian for Devil, so Chertoff means "Devilson". If it were "Chertin", then it would be "devil's own". Interestingly enough, Medvedev (the name of Russia's current leader) means "Son of the Bear" - but this isn't Jewish. Sasha (talk) 21:39, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
I have not heard of Jews being forced to have demeaning surnames in Russia. I also don't think Medvedev is comparable. A bear is a respected symbol in (actually of) Russia. A devil/demon is a feared and hated image everywhere. I can understand why there is no mention of Chertoff's name's meaning, but why is there no discussion of Hurricane Katrina in the article? Or what about Chertoff's business interests which make him an inappropriate DHS secretary? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:03, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Chertoff's failings[edit]

No article on Chertoff can be complete or fair without pointing out that Chertoff has absolutely failed to gain control over the border in a time of terrorism. Moreover, Chertoff supported "comprehensive" immigration reform -- i.e., rewarding millions of illegal aliens with a path to citizenship without controlling the border. That bill was not "stalled," but decisively defeated. Only when that proposed legislation was defeated did Chertoff realize that he might have to begin enforcing the existing immigration law instead of allowing 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants to wander around the country. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:06, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Swearing-in date[edit]

There have been some competing edits regarding the date on which Chertoff was sworn in as secretary of homeland security. Although a ceremonial swearing-in, presided over by Bush, took place on March 3, 2005, [3], he was first sworn into office on February 15 [4]. It was on February 15 that he actually became secretary. - Walkiped 02:12, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Borders and Ports Not Secure 7 Years after September 11th, 2001[edit]

The section of the article on illegal immigration makes it seem as though Chertoff has been vigorous in opposing illegal immigration. Not so. Chertoff not long ago said that he couldn't spend his department's time chasing after "maids" who might be illegal. In other words, Chertoff didn't even comprehend the basic fact that, with 12 million illegal immigrants wandering around the country, it would be impossible to know, in advance, what job a potential terrorist might be performing.

Seven years after September 11th, 2001, our borders are completely insecure. A border fence is slowly, slowly being built. The quantity of employees on border patrol is almost comically low when compared to the 12 million estimated illegal immigrants.

Seven years after September 11, 2001, the automated database E-Verify is not being used by all employers to ascertain whether prospective employees might be here illegally and have invalid Social Security Numbers.

Seven years later, the REAL ID driver's license is just a distant future prospect in many states. Indeed, five states are still issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

None of these very important -- and hotly debated -- public issues are in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:17, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

relation with Ben Chertoff/Benjamin Chertoff[edit]

What's his relation to Ben Chertoff/Benjamin Chertoff, 9-11 "research editor" for Popular Mechanics? Kwantus 22:37, 2005 Mar 6 (UTC)

No relation Pepik70 (talk) 13:33, 5 August 2008 (UTC)


The only things I ever posted about Chertoff related to the absolute truth that he has failed to control the border (or even seek to) in a time of terrorism. If the only things a person can post about a figure like Chertoff are total, gushing praise, what is the point of anybody posting anything? Also, it looks like defenders of Chertoff are claiming that any honest assessment of his failures is defamatory -- which is simply a ludicrous proposition. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:28:40, August 19, 2007 (UTC)

Hurricane Katrina[edit]

This article seems to be a target for some controversial editing in light of Chertoff's management of the FEMA response to Katrina, and it seems likely given current affairs that this will only increase; this article is probably worth flagging as current affairs and keeping a close eye on. 1427, 3 Sep 2005 (UTC)

Most recently Chertoff has directed the FEMA response to Hurricane Katrina which devastated four southern states. On September 3, 2005, several days following the initial strike of the hurricane and subsequent catastrophic floods Chertoff, came under extreme criticism for his agency's perceived gross mismanagement of the rescue and recovery efforts. Charges of ineptitude and indiffference were lodged against President Bush's administration, in part due to FEMAs slow mobilization of rescue/recovery personnel to the affecteded areas, Chertoff was denounced by politicians,(New Orleans Mayor Nagin) news media outlets, (Newsweek) and local citizens (via CNN interviews) when he appeared to be defending the pace and scope of FEMA's response to the nation's largest natural disaster.

You think? Benjamin Gatti

Op Ed moved here - for a little more citation[edit]

"It should be noted, that the lack of regional communication was significant. No cell phone towers or electricy existed, and battery operated rescue radios frequently ran out of power only eight hours into any given rescue operation. Secretary Chertoff was relatively dis-connected with the local agencies. In the media onslaught during the hurricane aftermath, Secretary Chertoff was widely recognized as one of the only federal officials who candidly accepted blame, did not seek to place blame on others, and pushed for the continued relief of New Orleans residents."

(text move Benjamin Gatti)


I italicized city to get the point across--Jaysscholar 04:09, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

"New Orleans Dodges The Bullet"[edit]

In the last paragarph I put in a link to a nice site with front pages from all the major papers. Please don't remove it until it becomes clear which paper he was talking about. Right now, the whole "dodging the bullet" thing looks an awful lot like a bald faced lie.

If it turns out to be true, it will then be open for discussion why the feds are using front page headlines for meteorlogical study.

→ It's 'Bold faced lie,' not bald. 22:34, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

There is no reason at all to mention his last name's etymology[edit]

Unless the author of the article intends to imply that the Russian meaning of his last name in any way has affected his life or his role in the world, it is greatly to the deteriment of NPOV. At the very least more thorough research into why he bears that surname should be done, or preferably it should be removed as it gives us no insight into the man or his life.

If the name "Jefferson" meant "Bringer of Death" it wouldn't be appropriate in an article about Bill Clinton or Thomas Jefferson: William Jefferson Clinton (whose middle name means "Bringer of Death")...

It only implies in the reader's mind that there is a connection between the etymology of the surname and the person's actions.

Let's remove that irrelevant phrase about Chertoff's surname from the article.

What does "Irish born Jersey native" mean?[edit]

It's used to describe McCann in the second paragraph of the Public Service section. Was this guy born in Ireland or Jersey? Born in Ireland and brought to Jersey while still a baby?

Section on Gassy Remarks?[edit]

Michael Chertoff's "Gut Feeling" remarks seem news-worthy enough to garner intense coverage this week, should that translate to a section in the article?

It's worth a mention, Chertoff is publicly speculating that there will be a terrorist attack on US soil this summer ('07) based on no intelligence report or evidence other than his intuition. This is a far cry from the GOP rallying call that we're safer because they're in power. The criticism of his comments is that they seem like a cynical atttempt to scare Americans or, worse, that he actually thinks an attack will boost support for the US occupation of Iraq and, thus, would be a positive development. The implications of that reasoning are staggering.

John Walker Lindh[edit]

It's fairly widely known that Chertoff negotiated a deal with lawyers for John Walker Lindh that involved dropping all but one charges against the young man in return for a) a guilty plea to the remaining one -- which did not involve taking arms against the US or fighting anyone; b) withdrawal of his claim that he had been tortured while in US custodyl and c) acceptance that he would not speak about his treatment during the plea=bargained 20-year sentence negotiated. Several sources: Good one was The Nation, February 14, 2005, citing Lindh's defense lawyer, who was involved in the negotiation with DoJ. (talk) 19:41, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

The above poster seems pretty pro-Lindh to me. The use of the term "young man" seems to be too cuddly and cute to describe Lindh. He was a traitor and a commando. There is no need to pretty him up. (talk) 20:53, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

It has been widely reported on the Web that Michael Chertoff holds dual-citizenship with Israel. Please comment on both this, and the unanswered question from 3 years ago of his family relation to Ben Chertoff of Popular Mechanics, proponent of the official 9-11 story. (talk) 05:37, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Dual Citizenship[edit]

It is often claimed that jewish Americans are dual citizens, however this claim is often based merely on the fact that the person is jewish, not proof of actual dual citizenship. The footnote backing up this claim for Chertoff leads to nothing relevant, this claim looks false to me. As for relation to Ben Chertoff, this has been alleged by never proved, and denied by the Chertoffs. Pepik70 (talk) 20:40, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

The citizenship claim is based not on his religion but rather the fact that his mother was an Israeli immigrant. The link has been changed to a credible site that indicates the following: "According to Israeli citizenship law, you are considered to be a citizen of the State of Israel if you were born in Israel, or if you acquired Israeli citizenship by immigrating to Israel, or if you were born outside of Israel to a parent who is a citizen of Israel (mother or father) and who acquired Israeli citizenship by birth or through immigration to Israel."
The issue of dual citizenship is extremely relevant because Chertoff is charged with enforcement of immigration laws. The issue has nothing to do with his religion and is unfortunately exploited by many nutsy anti-semitic websites; for whatever reason the mainstream media refuses to discuss the topic. But the topic is as relevant for someone with Israeli citizenship as it would be for someone with Canadian citizenship. Clearly Chertoff has dual citizenship; the question is whether he has ever exercised that citizenship (as the reference above indicates, "If you are a citizen of the State of Israel, by any of the definitions above [including being born outside of Israel to a parent who is a citizen of Israel], Israeli law requires that you enter and leave Israel using an Israeli passport." If Chertoff ever did this, or if he even applied for an Israeli passport, then there are obviously important national security issues at stake.

Wikipedia's own page on the Law of Return shows that children of Israeli citizens have the right to gain citizenship, i.e. citizenship is not mandatory or automatically conferred. I am in the same situation - because I had an American mother, I was eligible for US citizenship, however I still had to apply for it and my mother brought me to the US regularly for nearly two decades on a foreign passport before I got US citizenship and a passport (and the US has the same rule - US citizens must enter the US on a US passport).

The Law of Return deals with the issue of Israeli citizenship for Jews, which is irrelevant. Chertoff is the son of an Israeli immigrant and therefore has Israeli citizenship. The issue has nothing to do with his Judaism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Passportholder (talkcontribs) 17:38, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that's true, I think children of Israeli citizens get citizenship, not all children of all immigrants to Israel.Pepik70 (talk) 14:33, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

No proof has been provided that Chertoff has dual citizenship, unless some can be provided this comment should be removed.Pepik70 (talk) 11:15, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Under Israeli law, he holds dual citizenship because his mother was an Israeli immigrant. He has held this citizenship since birth and does not need to "apply" for it. He does need to apply for any of the rights that come with citizenship, such as a passport; as stated in the article it is unclear if he has done that. However, there is no ambiguity as to whether the son of an Israeli immigrant living abroad has citizenship; he most certainly does. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Passportholder (talkcontribs) 16:20, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Can you provide evidence that his mother holds Israeli citizenship please.Pepik70 (talk) 12:42, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
At best, we would need sources supporting the claim about his mother's citizenship. The problem is that even with that, we seem to be violating WP:SYN, combining the fact that his mother is (presumably) an Israeli citizen with the fact that children of Israeli citizens are eligible for citizenship, and then throwing in that he has taken no action to acquire the citizenship he is eligible for. That seems to be the definition of synthesis. Alansohn (talk) 12:50, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
Concur that without proof, the statement about dual citizenship should be removed. I agree with Alansohn regarding WP:SYN, the fact of dual citizenship is derived from other info. And while I totally agree with whoever above said it could be relevant, without a citation that Chertoff *is* an Israeli citizen, this is just insinuation. Kos42 (talk) 22:26, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
What I find odd is that nobody making comments is attempting to find out the truth. Everyone seems to be saying, "If you can't prove it..." That leads to an obfuscation of the truth. GO FIND OUT. Somebody submit a FOIA? Nobody should be asking to "not discuss" ANY topic IF we can find out the information. Should we? IF we are, what does that say? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:06, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

Removed the uncited statement and incorrect information about dual citizenship that had been re-added to this article last month. ANTPogo (talk) 16:26, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

Help in Improving this page[edit]

Hi, I am new to editing pages, and would like some guidance on best practices to improve this page. I am most interested in a good structure and NPOV. Some specific questions:

The opening paragraph seems pretty "newsy" to me. I think Katrina information is definitely a defining bio-detail, but I think the border waivers is more curent events. It is detailed later in the bio, which makes more sense to me.

Section Public Service: nothing is cited in this section. Is it okay to just remove this (per the BLP policy that says to remove unsources or poorly sourced material. I guess I could add the info from his official bio--that would at least be cited.

Section: Secretary of Homeland Security, my questions here are more regarding style. Other bios don't seem to have extensive quoting of news sources. Is it appropriate to update this (shorten significantly) for example,

Chertoff signed waivers of the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws to install additional physical barriers and roads at the Southwest border. [5] Congress gave the Secretary of Homeland Security authority to waive legal requirements to expeditiously build the border fence. This effort has been criticized on environmental and legal grounds.[cites to NYT and CRS)

Question, is this enough description of the controversy for NPOV?

That's all for starters. I expect there will be more! Kos42 (talk) 22:49, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

explanation for lede removal[edit]

Besides for its NPOV problems, it is unsourced (if not factually incorrect). There are no sources for the criticism from human rights organizations of civil liberty groups. The one source provided for the criticism of the Katrina response made no mention of him. One Times op-ed does not equal "widely criticized" and surely doesn't belong in the lede of a WP:BLP. --brewcrewer (yada, yada) 04:01, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Bot-created subpage[edit]

A temporary subpage at User:Polbot/fjc/Michael Chertoff was automatically created by a perl script, based on this article at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges. The subpage should either be merged into this article, or moved and disambiguated. Polbot (talk) 17:29, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Chertoff's investments[edit]

Doesn't this guy have investments in companies that sell "anti-terrorist" items to the government??? Something rings a bell in the back of my mind that this guy owns a significant investment in - and is profiting from - the very laws he wrote. Maybe it's airport screening machines??? Can somebody please comment on this??? I went to his Wiki bio page to read up on this . . . . and found nothing - which I found very surprising. I would swear that I had read about this in the past, but I could be wrong. If he does, and it its not in his bio, it's a huge hole. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:11, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Well, Why Is Michael Chertoff So Excited About Full-Body Scanners? [] suggests that the body scanning machine manufacturers are clients of his consulting firm. -- (talk) 12:10, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

New image portrait?[edit]

are there really no better portrait of him? he litterly looks like nosferatu extremely evil. if any jewish wikipedians here I would like to ask them this:would you have this image a representive of jews?

Can anyone help me find a better picture to improve the article? (talk) 17:26, 21 August 2012 (UTC) Try to find one when he was three years old.... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:32, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Research for John Hart Ely[edit]

The article currently suggests he did research assistant work for Ely as an undergraduate, but that seems somewhat unlikely to me, given (1) Ely was a professor at the Law School and HLS professors hire HLS students (not undergrads) to do research work, and (2) Ely's book Democracy and Distrust was published in 1980, so it chronologically makes more sense that Chertoff would've done the research while in law school, not in college. Anybody have any specific information that he did the research as an undergrad? If not, I'm going to change this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ivytoarmy (talkcontribs) 04:05, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Okay, went ahead and made that change.Ivytoarmy (talk) 04:18, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

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Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Michael Chertoff/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Article is very light. Needs more depth and doesn't have much about this controversial figure. Also light on wikification and images. We can do much better.  ;-) /Blaxthos 05:09, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Last edited at 05:09, 13 March 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 23:50, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

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  1. ^ J. Kammer, "Strategic Negligence: How the Sierra Club's Distortions on Border and Immigration Policy Are Undermining its Environmental Legacy", Center for Immigration Studies Memorandum, October 2009)